By 10am on Monday morning Bear and I had no news about the 4×4 and whether it had passed its second MOT inspection.
For those of you not from the UK or well-versed in the joys of British bureaucracy, an MOT is a certificate of road-worthiness that is a legal requirement for all vehicles more than three years old.
Since buying a train ticket down to London “on the day” would swallow up hundreds of pounds which could be spent on aid, Bear and I came up with a Plan B. Instead of me travelling down south, he’d come and get me. If the 4×4 was ready by midday, he’d come in that, if not, he’d drive up in his own car, from Banbury to Durham, and get me.
This made things a lot easier, not least because one of the things I had in my house to take to Gordon on the border was a mini-fridge for storing medicine. Not something that’s easy to get on a train.
By noon, it was becoming obvious that we wouldn’t be taking the 4×4 to the border on this journey. So instead we organised things with Gordon the medic to come back to the UK with us in the Stepwagon… and for him take the (hopefully-fully-MOT’d) Terrano back with him to Ukraine on Friday.
It’s was a bit more messing around than we wanted, but these things are sent to test us, I suppose!
This meant that Bear would have to drive all the way up to Durham to come and get me, which he gallantly did.
Meanwhile, the plan to pick up the refugees who would be staying with us hit yet another hurdle. They still hadn’t received their visas. This is despite my partner Kathryn putting in the application more than three weeks earlier.
For the record, only ONE visa I applied for on my journey to every country in the world took more than three weeks to come through, and that was for Saudi Arabia.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so I had contacted my local MP, Mary Foy, last week to ask if her team could find out what the hold up was. Mary went one further by actually naming me in Parliament today and asking Priti “Pritler” Patel (the Home Secretary) to look at Kateryna’s and Angelina’s cases for us.
In the response, I was thanked by Priti Patel for the work that we’ve done here at UK4UKR.com.
Bear arrived at around 4.30pm, we had a cup of tea, watched the of Mary Foy’s question in Parliament and packed his car with the medical stuff (and the fridge) that I had gotten hold of for Gordon in Medyka.
I said my fond farewells to Kat, and Bear and I tore down the A1(M) at a great rate of knots, arriving at Ciaran’s van in Hemel Hempstead bang on 9pm.
After half an hour spent filling the van with supplies, we rumbled down to Folkestone… the Channel Tunnel!
We arrived around midnight, and waited for the next train to zoom us through to Calais. It set off at 1.20am. Once on the other side, I drove to the Texaco services just over the border in Belgium where I knew I could get a few hours’ kip.
Had we started this trip the day before, we could have taken our time getting to Poland, but as things transpired, we needed to get a budge on. I had a crazy day of driving ahead of me!
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