Collection day 8th December 2001 !
Well the day finally arrived. Although I did have
a heart attack when the Hire Van arrived. I had asked for a Luton
Van because RHE state that the chassis is 136" long, and although
you will not find a Luton van with a floor space 136" long,
you can use the luton part above the cab to lift one end of the
chassis into. Well mine did not have the bit above the cab!. However
on measurement it seems that my Luton is an extra long one measuring
in at 148" floor length. Another bonus was that the Luton was
brand new with only 135 miles on the clock, should go okay then.
We set off at 7:15 , finally arriving at 10:30, found
RHE alright but was told to go round to the back entrance for loading.
After queuing for a while we were beckoned in and directed to a
space which looked about a couple of feet smaller then the width
of the van. Managed to part without hitting anyone or running over
any of the kit's spread out on the floor. We were parked beside
a whole array of vehicles, Luton vans, Trailers, Transit vans, and
even a Horse Box !. (which the chassis actually fitted in quite
Now we went inside to pay for the kit. What an eye
opener, the RHE building must date back to before the war and reminds
you of the old engineering works you see on the old films producing
munitions for the war effort. I half expected to see a long shaft
running the length of the building with drive belts for the machinery.
It was much colder inside the building. By now people were arriving
at both the front and rear of RHE, it looked light organised chaos.
As we got nearer to the pay desk it was possible to look down the
building and see all the kits waiting to go..
At this point we also decided to buy a spare windscreen at £25
and the extra 5th Alloy wheel for £50 , bargain..
Once we had paid our kit was loaded onto a very wobbly trolly and
in true Sainsbury style had a sticky wheel and only wanted to go
left.You are also given a check list complete with pictures to identify
the various panels, (had drawn mind you).Finally after getting back
to the van we unloaded the trolly onto the floor and lifted the
chassis into the van. Now started the fun bit of checking over everything
on the check list, we decided to check off everything we could identify
and then struggle over what was left.
By now most people were wandering about asking the same questions,
'what's this bit for?' or 'have you got one of these?', or 'whats
the bit of drainpipe for ?'. Every now and then you would here someone
drop whatever sheets of steel they were holding , as the guard dog
jumped out of his hiding place and barked. We worked out a good
system of me loading the van whilst Tim, (my father-in-law), checked
off the items, by the time I came out of the van , he had checked
a few more things off.
To our amazement only one thing was missing from our kit, the GRP
rear wheel arches, and just as 'tricky dicky' was walking past ,
he quickly picked up on this and promptly returned with a pair.
The RHE staff seemed very helpful and everyone seemed to be having
a good time.Well apart from the chap with the transit which had
half his chassis sticking out the back doors.
Finally loaded up and time to leave, one problem though, no way
of getting out, oh well lets find the nearest toilets, (in the town
about 5 mins walk). When we walked out of RHE , what a sight, all
along the approach road and up the side streets, people were loading
up their kit's!.
Back at the yard and we could now get out, and start the long journey