Hey ho. The bloody water-pump’s packed in. Again. And this time we’re on the west coast of Scotland rather than the west coast of France, so the chances of getting it fixed are less than negligible. Several earnest phone calls this morning resulted in the nearest possible solution being back in Inverness, representing over 100 miles of back-tracking across country to the opposite coast, oh – and by the way – they were so busy, their earliest available service-appointment was the middle of May (over a month hence) – so a bit like the NHS really, but without all the tedious measurement, form-filling and missed-targets.
An alternative was offered in the guise of a friendly-sounding mobile motorhome technician, this time based in Nairn (where we’d already enjoyed a harbour-side-stay-with-jet-wash two nights previous) but there was little option but to arrange an assignation on that self-same harbourside at 4pm tomorrow afternoon, when David – having checked he had a spare water-pump on his van – would meet us and attempt to remedy our currently arid situation.
“I’ll be in a plain white transit van” he said, down a crackly Highland mobile telephone connection. “I’m a bit like one of those private ambulances – I can’t advertise on it ‘cos I couldn’t keep up with all the enquiries.” (Cunning entrepreneurial plan forming: clone a network of motorhome technicians patrolling the wilds of Scotland and charging an absolute bloody fortune for every call-out. David, please don’t read this before you’ve fixed us, OK?)
Anyway. Accomplished multi-taskers that we are, while all this malarkey is going on, we’re also in negotiation with the nearby Scourie Hotel for a day’s wild trout fishing on any one of the many lochs severally distributed across what we think we were told was 25,000 acres of prime Highland estate.
The fishing seemed to be wholly managed by an amiable, tweed-clad (English) Hotel proprietor, who was himself juggling our naïve enquiries about boats, lochs and wind-direction with the demands of several other tweed-clad (and therefore far more worthy) fishermen milling about the Hotel. More specifically, we were gathered competitively around an absolutely huge wallpapered map which depicted every loch, contour and track on the estate but also represented – with a sensually curvaceous line of coloured map pins (the border fence with the adjacent estate) where the red-headed pins represented gates set into the general run of blue fence posts.
In schoolmasterly (nay, almost military) tradition, our proprietor wielded a short brass-tipped pointing stick, with which he assigned various lochs to the assembled troops as if doling out missions from which some would never return. And if truth be told, when his brass-tip rounded on us, we ran a metaphorical white flag up our imagined flagpole and surrendered, sadly declining the opportunity since it was (as conceded by the assembled anglers) blowing a bloody freezing-cold easterly hooley; the hireable rowing boats would definitely only go one way down the lochs (and be impossible to row back again); no-one we’d already spoken to had caught anything and it was “a wee bit too early and wee bit too cold fer troot just yet”.
We thus returned to our waterless Knumptywagen, ate some breakfast and set off (in the windless warm) on the next leg of the adventure.
The picture caption should provide all contact details for David (featured) in case any other touring Knumptyers are in need of his mobile remedial services. But given how busy the likes of us are already making him, I think he’d rather it didn’t!