Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Ending Revoked

I can't quite bring myself to write this update... so I'll let the pictures tell the story.

I packed the bus and drove South from the Minervois. I was stopped by the Gendarmes for a random document check, which I passed, picked up a hitchiker who only wanted to go 500m, and was waved to by no fewer than 5 other VW buses (all of them more modern - T25s and later). Just before the Spanish border, I stopped for petrol and a sandwich.
As I was about to go again, my Generator light came on. Now, normally a bit of revving persuades the bus that it actually is charging, but this time no luck... revving would dim the light but it always returned. So I peered into the engine bay. Everything appeared to be working mechanically. And then a nearby Spaniard pointed out the growing puddle of oil underneath... 
Because I was on a motorway, I had to call 112 to get a tow from the service station (we made it 150 metres on this setup before the guy realised how stupid it was and swapped the vehicles over). I shared my lift with two chatty middle-aged sisters and their pet bird.
After the tow, once the sisters were sorted out, we lifted Cecil into the air and took a look underneath. The engine was still starting and running all right but there was a clear leak of oil coming from the gasket area - exactly the same as last time. The mechanic also did a quick test of the alternator but he didn't trust his own results.
Finally, after a lot of argument and discussion between me, the recovery mechanic and the RAC, a tow truck arrived to take me back to the Minervois and to the garage that was supposed to have repaired my bus on Friday. It was a bumpy road and an old french lady shouted at us when we arrived, but at least it was done. My heart sank when I tried to start the engine to park it and found the battery flat. Is it possible that a brand new alternator has met the same fate as the last one?
Well today (Monday) is a bank holiday in France so we just have to wait until the mechanic returns tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to get very drunk and snap at people who don't deserve it. Feel free to leave a comment to test this conviction!


  1. Middle age sisters? Or "sisters"?
    Hope youre on the road again soon my dear

    1. They were either related or they had incredibly similar taste! Entertaining characters, the pair of them.