What was the sign-off from the previous blog? “Gotta love a Knumptywagen”?
Hmm . . . maybe not today, eh? In fact, today, for the first time since we took possession over eight years ago, we fell out of love with our beloved Knumptywagen.
Our overnight on a friendly, almost-seaside campsite at Massa on the Ligurian coast, just south of La Spezia, was disturbed throughout by incessant brushed-snare-drumming of precipitation on our roof, accompanied by the continual bass-drum thump of consolidated rain dropping off the trees under which we had parked up.
On awakening, our problematic water-supply-out-of-taps was still spasmodic at best, and – despite helpful advice about resolving possible airlocks from our English neighbours – any potential alternatives to us abluting out of a bucket for the rest of the trip were clearly rapidly receding.
As a result, it would be fair to say that we found ourselves at possibly our most despondent ebb since we began our travels. The apparently simple issue of a lack of a water-supply to several taps (as well as the all-important loo) were simultaneously involved; myriad; complex and inter-reliant. Testing any one part of the system presented a complex web of ‘what-ifs’ which included power-supply failures; water-pump investigations; leaking taps; failed water-heating boiler; fuses; trip-switches; 12volt versus 230volt electricity; the aforementioned airlocks and the continually pissing rain.
Despite mounting odds and my as-yet-unspoken thoughts that we should just pack it all in and head for home (some 1,000+ miles northward) the High Priestess dug deep and suggested we enquire about professional assistance at Campsite Reception. In the pleasantly surprised resultant preparation for a motorhome mechanic arriving on site, we type our predicament into Google Translate, God bless it, and await his arrival.
It’s astounding to relate that – on arrival – we show the mechanic our Google translation of the problem – to quietly realise that he won’t (or maybe even can’t?) read it. Instead, he leaps forward, multi-meter in hand and pronounces our water-pump is ‘live’ – of which we’re already well aware.
Over the next politely awkward and uncommunicative fifteen minutes, he checks everything we’ve already checked; shrugs as only Italians (and maybe the French) can do; suggests he can do nothing else; produces an electronic credit-card reader (which miraculously does work, of course) and b*****s off.
The rain continues, reassuring us that our anticipated daytrip to visit the nearby and allegedly more-than-picturesque Cinque Terre would have been wasted under this grey, glowering sky (and continually p***ing rain). So instead, the High Priestess diligently surfs the internet seeking further local motorhome servicing while I simply sulk and ponder exactly how long it would take us to throw in the towel and just run for home.
Well. After cursing several blind alleys, Her Supreme Holiness discovers a motorhome rental business, which appears to offer servicing, twenty-five minutes’ drive away. Their phone rings out unanswered but with nothing else to distract us, off we trek, eventually to find a locked gate and no sign of any life. Of course! It’s Friday afternoon. We’re in Italy. Absolutely f***-all is going to happen here today, and our collective despondency instantaneously descends into unchartered depths.
Then a little man in a little Fiat arrives, queries in broken English why we’re peering forlornly through his fence and welcomes us into his repository of aged, faded and clearly failed ‘rental’ motorhomes. His raggazzi are summonsed (go on, look it up, I had to, despite learning the bloody word about a hundred times over) and we spend the next three hours just standing around, while enthusiastic diligence, then frustration, then uplift, then scowling, then cheerfulness, then screwdrivers are applied to various internal components of the Knumptywagen, none of which had never seen natural daylight before today.
Signore! Success! Yay! But then confusion as part of the chain vehemently declines to perform. More expletives (probably); more elation; more furrowed brows. A trickle of water here, a suspicious leak there. We just stand alongside and wait, while ants crawl over our feet.
And eventually, at five pm on a rainy Italian Friday, a compromise success is declared where we all agree enough has been done; we have a vague flow of water and other vital components (such as the fridge) are working again. Our spirits are lifted and we pat our ragazzi enthusiastically on their shoulders (because even Google Translate can’t cope with ‘thank-you, thank you but enough is f***ing enough’)
And how might we pay you, stout fellows? Cash? Ah! We have no cash. Card? No. No card. OK. “Ou est le nearest cash-machine, por favor?” (See. I b****y knew those Italian lessons would pay-off) and I go whirling off with our raggazo in his car into a bizarre Friday-rush-hour hinterland where every cash-machine we visit is f***ed, until we find one which spews forth crisp Euros and we return triumphant to hand-over the stated fee plus almost double that in deeply gratuitous tips.
And hence back to the campsite we trundle – to celebrate with long-overdue food and too-much-drink in the camp restaurant, return to the van to test everything again – and find ourselves in about the same f***ing dubious situation we were in before any of this tedious malarkey started.
Gotta love a Knumptywagen? The jury’s still out.
Sorry – bit of a big’n, that was. But there was nothing else going on. And it’s STILL raining.
It can only get better but if this is the only problem in eight years, you’v done pretty well ?
Thanks Iain – yes, you’re right! Fingers crossed for the remainder of the trip!
Ah my dear buddies… the gods are not smiling upon you as they usually do… But it will get better I’m sure
I’m praying to St Menas https://projects.mcah.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/saints/Menas.php#:~:text=Menas%2C%20the%20camels%20bearing%20his,between%20a%20pair%20of%20camels.
So no worries 😘
Oh Andy, how I feel for you both. Not the joyous, subdued adventure you were hoping for- but there’s a reason for everything
Please let your dear readers know when you finds out what……
Sending you love
And introducing you to a new app
Called SayHi – it’s been a game changer with our Ukrainian friends. 🙏😘
Thanks Claire. Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment! Xxx
I’m looking forward to it 😀
I was even typing it
It was supposed to say