We wanted to drop the van at the workshop early, so decided to stay nearby the night before. A drive around the industrial estate didn’t, unfortunately, turn up any quiet little parking spots with lake views, so we decided to hide in plain sight and park amongst the motorhomes and caravans at the dealer who had helped us organise the workshop. We figured that, if there was any security on the estate, they would not notice us, or if they did, assume that we were just one of the vans for sale.
What a mistake that turned out to be. When we parked, we didn’t really take in the truck fuel stop across the road, or just how close we were to the motorway, or that the road we were on, which we thought was just an entrance into the industrial estate and therefore would be quiet overnight, was actually a thoroughfare to somewhere really, really busy. We got very little sleep, but at least it meant it was easy to get up early – we were already awake and had been for several hours!
When we spoke to the motorhome dealer last week, we asked about getting into Tampere once we had dropped the van off – was there public transport nearby, or something we could visit? Er, no and no. The dealer said they had a runabout car that they could lend us for the day – fantastic!
We dropped the van at the workshop, who said they thought the clutch they had ordered was the right part and they would do their best to get in finished in a day. OK. Not overwhelmingly positive, but fingers crossed. D headed off to the dealer to pick up the car that they were lending us while the puppy and I sat on the side of the road and waited.
He was gone for sometime and I had begun to think that something was wrong. Sure enough, it turns out that the runabout car hadn’t runabout for sometime and had a flat battery and no fuel. So one of mechanics at the dealer lent us his car for the day. As you do. Complete with child seats in the back and dozens of empty energy drink bottles (there were 3 child seats, so we weren’t surprised by all the energy drinks). And he was happy for us to have the puppy in the car too. Bear in mind that this wasn’t a mechanic from the workshop that was doing the work and so getting our money – he was from the dealer who had told us about the workshop, booked us in and given us a place to stay the night before, but not got a penny of our money. So, we headed off into Tampere for the day, choosing not to think about the fact that D probably wasn’t insured to drive the car.
We had a potter around the city and found a nice spot for lunch. It would have been nice to be able to wander around more, but it was a hot day and Uller just isn’t up to much any more – she gave us doleful looks all day as we tried to persuade her to walk just a little bit further or, horror of horrors, sit in the foot well of the car. She was none too impressed with that as she is used to rather more space in the van.
Of course, when you are lent a car, the polite thing is to fill it up before you return it. At Finnish prices, that made it a rather expensive favour, but cheaper and a lot more convenient than getting a taxi the 15km or so into Tampere. We had to get the car back so the mechanic could go home at 4pm and thought we would just sit around at the workshop until they were finished with the van, but we got a call from them while we were dropping the car back to say they were finished. Perfect! We had asked them to check our squealy fan belt and they had found that all 3 were in a pretty poor state so replaced them, and also topped up the gear box oil that was only about half of what it should be – you wouldn’t think we’d had the van serviced in the UK just a few weeks earlier, would you? And they had the van for 4 days!
And best of all, the whole thing cost around €300 less than we thought it would. Absolutely bloody brilliant.