We are re-united again in Ireland. Mum and Dad had a smooth and successful run in the small convoy of 2CV, trailer and Fiat Panda. They managed the Faversham to Holyhead bit in almost exactly 8 hours, quarter to 2 to quarter to ten with all the machinery performing to plan and nothing breaking. This even though a massive rainstorm blasted through Birmingham and having soaked us all, laid down so much rain that everyone was swerving in the stranding water, banging their hazard warning lights on as they tried not to aqua-plane.
You can see from the picture what a bizarre load we had for the trailer; really just the leavings of the house when everyone had moved out and we were doing final sweeps, hoovers and clearing up, so it's the loft-ladder, various empty crates and buckets, cleaning stuff, the hoover itself and various straw hats found at the 11th hour plus, topping the lot, the three sets of fallow deer antlers which Dad hangs onto like some kind of talisman.
Making the port at ten pm meant a 4 hour wait for the sailing in which Mum and Dad tried to get some shut-eye but nobody can really sleep in a 2CV crammed with "stuff" so Dad was relieved to be allowed to board. The 2CV always seems to attract more attention than other cars from security blokes, and one with a trailer even more so, so Dad got stopped at every stage. Dad always thought "Look out, here we go!" expecting to be dragged out of the car which would then be stripped down to the last nuts and bolts. We have heard stories that when 2CVs were cheap student transport, the axle tubes, being empty of equipment never heat up even on the bumpiest ground, so were the perfect place for storing narcotics. However, all these blokes wanted to do was tell Dad they owned Ami's or Dyanes. The "security questions" were along the lines of do you have any compressed gasses or sharp implements "like knives". No, No... says Dad, neglecting to mention the fertilizer sack full of garden equipment and tools.
So they boarded at about 01:00 and Mum and Dad headed straight for the cabin and tried to get some sleep, only briefly interrupted by the Skipper doing his safety announcement, followed by a Terry Wogan sound-alike talking about mustering stations. They sleep like logs.
In the morning, another successful convoy run out through Dublin, taking in the Christmas lights all along the Liffey's banks and the new buildings in the City Centre. This time, Mum has the sat-nav going and Dad is following in the 2CV. They head out to Strokestown, County Roscommon where they link up with Mary Rose, the Solicitor, sign the final "Transfer of Ownership" and finally get the keys to the house in their little hot hands. They move on to the house where they get a good look round, unload some stuff and park (hide up) the 2CV and trailer. It's still as scary now as it was before, only now they own it!
From there a run down to Silverwood where we greet them with bucket loads of enthusiasm. We have been shampooed to within an inch of our lives and brushed out knot-free. We are all back together again. More on this tomorrow.