Yeah yeah, it’s been a few days.
So, this is the Dumball. The first two days are always absolutely manic. This year, we covered nearly 1100 miles from Friday night to Sunday night. We generally arrived really late each evening, knackered, and with an early start. This has been my first chance to catch up properly!
We left Brighton, and headed on towards the Chunnel with no problems. The squadrons were getting used to driving in convoy, so there was the inevitable delays with a few squadrons. Our Purple squadron managed to get to the Chunnel early enough, and after a bit of a wait we managed to hop onto the 20.20 train across. Once there, (and after putting our clocks forward an hour) we realized we would be getting into the hotel about 1am, and we were first!
We put the pedal to the metal and made the trip easily enough. However, en-route we had learned that one squadron had been given a 00:50 time slot for their train, which would have effectively meant they would be getting to the hotel at 5am! OUCH for their first day!
After checking in, we went to bed and woke up on…
Getting down to breakfast, it quickly became apparent we were missing one squadron. They had decided that because they were getting in so late, instead of sleeping, they would blaze on directly to Milan. That’s true Dumball spirit!.
We had a small incident with our vehicle due to a small miscommunication between our esteemed Squadron leader Geary, and Mat. This left the vehicle inoperable and pissing out fuel underneath. After a small amount of investigation, it transpired that the fuel tank was fine, the fuel pump was fine, but the fuel filter has effectively been flattened. A quick trip to a local BMW dealer secured a length of hose to replace it, and off we rolled.
It was a looooong day, where we headed down to the south of France, in order to hit the Mont Blanc tunnel. This was made even more entertaining by Tally Ho’s car never starting after being stopped, unless we left it to relax for 15 minutes. A lot of miles were covered, and we made our destination at about 11.30pm. We caught the end of the Eurovision, had a couple of beers, and collapsed into bed, ready for a 6.30am start. However, Tally Ho’s car was pronounced DOA at the hotel, after developing a series of serious faults 🙁
We got up, and secured a position with White squadron for the run to Bari. Another long day (around 650 miles!) coming down the east coast of Italy. We stopped for a swim on a lovely beach, and made good time to catch the ferry at Bari. After a small Dumball-style car-park party, some interesting communication between the locals, and an incident with our passports, we finally ended up on the ferry, drinking in the bar to the ‘Amusement’ of the locals.
Albania and Macedonia. Only ~230 miles, but after offloading from the ferry in the morning, and getting into Albania, it was a fun run down through ricketty and half-built roads. On the plus side, the locals EVERYWHERE where much more impressed to see us (the Producers “pigeon” is drawing the most looks in the squadron), we were greeted everywhere we went with cheers, waves, and beeping of horns. After stopping for a late lunch by a beautiful lake in Macedonia, we rolled into the hotel with our earliest arrival so far – about 20.30pm. Tonight, the plan is a few beers, perhaps some partying, and a good night’s sleep!
Cheers all, 😀