I experienced quite a nightmare when I got to England to collect my Land Rover from Patterson’s Off Road as the vehicle was far from being ready for collection.
Due to the problems encountered with the roll cage, I already knew that the roll cage and solar panel would not be fitted until after my first trip but I expected the rest of the vehicle to me ready. The first surprise was seeing that the vehicle had been painted in a much lighter shade of grey than I had requested. Then I saw that the interior of the vehicle was pretty much a shell. There were no seats fitted yet, no fridge, no Jerry cans, no headliner, no stereo, no alarm. The door locks had not been upgraded. The storage compartments and sleeping platform were not installed. There was no winch fitted and no rear spare wheel carrier. No Webasto heater (in fact, they’d forgotten about that completely)! It was clear that there was a huge amount of work to be done yet I was there to pick it up in preparation for a trip to Europe! I was assured that they could complete all of this work and have the vehicle to me two days later, on the Friday evening. In the meantime, I was loaned a Defender 90 to get me across the country to Blackpool.
The loaner Defender broke the alternator fan belt close to Blackpool so it was of no use to me once I got there. My vehicle was not delivered by Friday evening but was scheduled to undergo the MOT test on Saturday. It failed the MOT! Patterson’s apparently spent the weekend fixing other issues with the vehicle with a view to getting it back for MOT on Monday morning. On Monday morning, the brakes had lost pressure so the fluid leak had to be detected and repaired – so it didn’t get in for MOT that day. On Tuesday it finally passed it’s MOT but there was a bumping sound coming from somewhere. This noise had previously caused Patterson’s to replace the entire rear axle but this time it was traced to the transfer box which was supposed to be a refurbished item. Now the transfer box had to be replaced! It couldn’t get any worse, could it? Unfortunately, yes. By Wednesday I was worried about how I would be able to pick up Mikki at Gatwick on Thursday morning and then travel to Europe. My worst fears were realized when, on Saturday afternoon, Patterson’s couldn’t guarantee that the vehicle would be ready that evening. To further rub salt into the wounds, I was told that the vehicle would not be delivered to me for the trip unless I paid the final installment on the vehicle, despite it still being far from complete and despite the agreement that final payment would only be due upon completion. The vehicle still did not have a headliner, stereo, alarm, winch, upgraded locks, fridge (or the roll cage and solar panel).
With very little time available, I was forced to make alternate plans. I caught a train to Manchester Airport where I rented a car. I then had to drive back to Blackpool to load up the camping equipment that I’d bought over the previous week and drive down towards Gatwick. I had booked into a bed and breakfast near Gatwick and was able to get three hours sleep before heading to the airport to pick up Mikki.
We headed to Europe for a camping trip but we were doing it in a rented Volkswagen Passat station wagon instead of my Land Rover Defender.
We’ve had a good trip, despite the huge setback with the Land Rover. I have been trying to update the blog for the two weeks we have been in Europe but have been unable to do so, apparently due to restrictions on the wi-fi available at the campsites. We have one more night over here before catching the ferry and I have finally been able to update the blog.
I’ve had similar difficulties uploading photos to my SmugMug site but have been able to get some up. Visit http://www.bermudarover.smugmug.com and go to the Travel section to see them. I’ll post a few on here when I’m able.
I will be visiting Patterson’s when I return to England to sort out the mess with the Land Rover and will decide how to proceed from here.