Day 135 : Mucky Martha

30 November 2010

Even with a crazy amount of preparation, the expedition is still very much dependant upon the help and assistance of people we meet along the way. Helpful and caring people seem to pop up everywhere almost like a scene out of the Truman show. This time round it was a nice chap called Mark Griddle. Mark heard from Channel 9 that we were driving through Surfers’s Paradise a few days ago and hunted us down. During a road side natter I mentioned that the impending import into New Zealand was giving me a huge headache. Due to shipping complications stage 6 (NZ) has been cut back which has been a complete shocker on the planning side, testing the patience of our man on the ground Jamie Abela. Not sure he enjoys me moving the goal posts every other day but shipping is a silly little sausage.  As we now have limited time in the Kiwi Kingdom we need to hit the ground running and this means clearing their very strict quarantine quick. Apparently NZ are even stricter than OZ, so after our experience in Perth we are justifiably bricking it. I mentioned this issue along with a few mechanical issues and Mark was straight on the blower and booked us into the Queensland Fire and Rescue Workshops.

A lesson for the boys
Time for a scrub

Barham’s 80th and last day on the expedition was spent helping the workshop lads strip down the fire engine and clean every nook and cranny. It was also a good opportunity for a spring clean and to put everything back in it’s place. We run a pretty tight ship but after 4 months on the road with 5 different crews, it was beginning to look like a youth hostel. Socks, hats, toothbrushes, odd shoes and crisp packets found in the strangest of places.

It was a cracking day hanging out with the lads at the workshop. Top top boys and very generous of them to give their time up for us. As much as they enjoyed our company I think the attendance of Amy in their workshops brightened up their day a little more. Still a fair bit to do tomorrow but a great start on removing the filth and fixing the various mechanical defects on the weathered Martha. She is almost match fit for the Kiwis.

Covered in filth, we all needed showers before a cheeky little BBQ to send Barham on his way. A monster flight back to snowy London, let’s hope the flight is a little less eventful then the one Barham and Jim had to Beijing where the plane had to turn around due to a defect. Barham not being the best of flyers will I’m sure stick to his usual routine of a Gin and Tonic every hour on the hour to calm the nerves.


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