Steve has submitted the documents to the DVLA and we are waiting with baited breath to see if this next stage goes smoothly. If it does the truck should be on the road in a week.Whilst waiting for the truck to arrive we have been busy with buying things for the truck such as picnic tables, chairs, barbeque etc. We have also taken a first aid course, photography course, Spanish course and sorted out the homeschooling materials, so we are slowly making progress. Only 5 months until we go!
After a 15 month wait, our truck was finally ready in December. It had passed the German EU vehicle inspection with flying colours and was ready to be registered. As we are Brits we wanted to get in registered in the UK. We thought this would be pretty straight forward and just a case of a few adjustments eg headlights to take account of driving on the wrong side of the road. Boy, how wrong were we! We had the truck delivered to Southampton to a MAN garage. Steve couldn't drive it back himself as the insurance was ridiculous and it was easier as the delivery company used their own trade plates. The garage did a few minor adjustments to make it UK acceptable and they took it off to VOSA to get it tested. We thought that this was a mere formality, after all it had passed the same EU test in Germany just a couple of weeks before hand. The message came back that the truck had failed in several ways, both on minor and major points. We were gutted! Some of the points the truck failed on were so minor they were laughable. A label on the dining table seats saying "Do not use while the vehicle is in motion". Really!?! Do we have to do something similar for the beds, shower, cooker, toilet!!! there was lots of muttering from Steve about the nanny state etc etc. Some of the alternations needed made more sense and were quite easy to sort like an information plate for the body, a cover for the rear mounted tyres and sand ladders and rear lights installed on the top at the back. All the forward facing flat surfaces, like the locker locks, had to be filed down to make them angled. It now looks like we've had a bizarre scraping mishap just a millimetre away from the main body, on both sides. There was a big kerfuffle about the tyres maximum speed rating, which was sorted out quite quickly by the garage and a letter from MAN. However the biggey was the shape of the body on the back. According to VOSA everything on any forward facing part of the truck body must have an angled surface?????? It took the garage quite some time to find out exactly what VOSA meant by that. Meanwhile Christmas came and went and it became very apparent that we weren't taking our new "baby" home after the holidays. That it was going to take quite a bit work to get our brand new highly technical German perfectly engineered truck though the UK tests. We couldn't believe it, after all these were the same EU tests that had been carried out in Germany. Looking at the forms side by side, apart from the language, they looked identical. The garage were very helpful and went back and forth to VOSA, checking exactly what needed to be changed and eventually after many phone calls came back to us with "Your truck needs a skirt" !!???!!! We couldn't really understand it as all the other trucks and campervans we saw on the road both in the UK and Europe have similar bits that stick out. We had several weeks of us both shouting out whist driving "Will you look at the bottom of that!" Eventually the garage arranged for a body builder to fit the "skirt". At that point 2 months on from the truck's arrival in the UK we had got to the point where we didn't care what it looked like as long as it passed the bloody test and we could get on the road. The poor girls hadn't even had a chance to look at the finished item. Only Steve and I had gone to Germany a few weeks before it was finished to learn how it worked, and we didn't feel a large, very busy HGV garage was the place to take 2 extremely excited children. We did have a sad little drive on Christmas Eve to the industrial estate, so they could peer through the fence in the rain at their impounded new home. Luckily the "skirt" turned out not to look too skirt like and is just 4 extra metal flaps over the bottom lockers and tanks. And finally, at the second attempt the truck passed its test last week.