As Thomas Hardy may once have observed, Dorset is very hilly. This is fine if you have a vehicle that can climb hills. A milk-float, for example. Or a supermarket trolley. Even roller skates. Unfortunately, despite the recent attentions of Saint Colin, my van wasn't one of them. Under David the Diplomat's serene gaze, we struggled to get up anything more than a gentle incline. It is only because half the hills go downhill that got us to Axminster station on time.
After a night in Lyme Regis marina, at the bottom of an impressive (up) hill, I struggled to achieve escape velocity, and faced spending the rest of the month, or possibly my life, selling ice-creams from the back window to raise cash for a salvage operation. When I did manage to get enough of a run-up, the van barely made walking pace. I know this, because a bemused woman was walking up the hill beside me. And she got to the top first.
Fortunately, help was at hand, in the shape of Ady and his merry men, who run a VW hospital just north of Bournemouth. So back to Bournemouth I went. My apologies to anyone driving between Lyme Regis and Bournemouth last Monday evening. If I could have gone any faster, I would have done.
Ady had a spare distributor - the offending part - and was able to transplant it in a flash. Plus, after many choice words, aimed mostly at the engine, he also plugged the hole between the exhaust and the engine without having recourse to major surgery.
I could have wept with gratitude. Instead I made a contribution to their beer fund. They certainly deserved it for their speed, cheerfulness and general can-do manner. If you ever have a VW van that needs attention, Ady is your man. I would show you a photo of Ady smiling for the camera, but I didn't want to disturb him. So here he is in his natural habitat:
And here's a rear view.
The van now purrs along, which is lucky, as I am now in Devon, which makes Dorset look flat.
And if anyone has van problems anywhere in the south of England, or wants to buy a reconditioned VW (not mine!) head to Throop, and ask for Ady.