Back home

So we are back home and deluged with the day to day stuff that does not seem so important anymore. It took a full 20 minutes to get the bonnet open on the car to connect the battery charger. The worse news was the brake fluid had all managed to leak out of one of the rear calipers while we were away so some repairs are necessary. Still has some MOT left though so good to have transport at least.

The bikes managed to arrive at London Heathrow but I immediately wished we had stayed there to get them instead of arranging road-freight. What I had not figured was that they needed to go through customs even though they are both UK bikes. I quickly discovered we needed an agent to do this so I went ahead and appointed DSV air&sea since DSV road were bringing them back home from London. Big mistake that turned out to be since they could not work out how to handle it and got themselves convinced they needed the Carnet which by now was safely tucked up in Donaghadee. All the while we would be paying around £80 a day storage fees. Nice.

I did a quick (10 minute) search on the internet and found the correct forms myself. Unfortunately we could not submit them ourselves and would need an agent to do so. By now I was loath to phone DSV back to tell them how to do their job and then let them charge me for the privilege so I handed it over to HWFS who (after I completed the forms) had it done in 20 minutes. Know for next time!

A few days later the bikes arrived at my parents house. They were perched precariously on the tail-lift coming out of the lorry but made it down ok somehow. There was some damage to my box but the bike was ok inside. It was nice to pull them out and put them back together again. Suraj did a good job in packing them. A few hours later we rode them home. The option of leaving them in Nepal had occurred to us, though with Helen’s health still being uncertain we didn’t know if, when or where we would continue our trip. Truth be told I was also unhappy at the idea of not having the bike nearby – that’s the curse of building the bike yourself.

It was surreal riding the bikes on familiar roads again. Over the past 5 months we had ridden into countries where the scenery changed gradually. Squat toilets started to appear in Turkey, drier desert conditions in Iran (and the most friendly people imaginable), poorer roads in Pakistan and even worse in India. Then suddenly *shazam* we were back were we started. 24 hour electricity, good roads (even though people here don’t think so), clean air and the majority of people didn’t drive out in front of you. Hardly anyone beeps the horn either – weird. I felt like we were doing something illegal travelling at a whole 40mph on the dual carriageway where the limit is 60. A powerful diesel bike makes more sense here than in Asia where you never get to stretch its legs I guess.

More specialists were consulted for Helen and appointments made. The outcome is basically that no-body seems to be able to give us 100% confirmation of what’s happened. Helen is feeling a lot better now and the doctors seem to think it was all related to having a tummy bug for so long. So for now we have to wait for at least a few months and see how it goes. It gives us a chance to earn some more money in the meantime at least though its difficult to concentrate now. Peoples gossip about what’s happening on EastEnders or whatever seemed utterly drab and pointless before we left – the trip has done nothing to cure that. The only respite seems to be planning our escape…

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10 Responses to Back home

  1. Dan J says:

    Welcome back Neil. Glad to hear both of you plus the bikes are all safely back in NI and I take it from what you’ve said that Helen is much better now? It’s been very enjoyable reading your blog throughout your journey and has certainly provided some food for thought. Let’s face it – we only get one go at this life and if you spend the whole thing working and never escaping the entrapments of modern life one day it’ll be too late. I look forward to hearing your plans for your next trip.

    Hope to see you at the UK diesel rally although my wife is due with our second the weekend before so that might be a little challenging! Failing that maybe Hamm?

    • Neil says:

      Thanks for the positive words Dan! Yes Helen feels much better now, we just have to wait and see how it goes. We also have to save up like mad for a while.

      Your wife is due the weekend before the rally? That was poor planning wasn’t it? Maybe I’ll have to mark out your calendar this year 😉

  2. mr chips says:

    Glad to see you’re both home safe & sound. I get what you mean about the trivialities to which seem so important to some folk – each to their own I guess.
    Maybe you’d be up for heading out for a derv-powered spin together in a week or two? Would love to finally see the Smart Tiger for myself & a bike/trike run up the Antrim coast or through the Sperrins might be just what the doctor ordered …

  3. Neil, came across your site at the start of your trip, followed for a while, then checked up on you again tonight to find you’re home. Amazing stuff, very jealous. Hope you’re both well and manage to continue your trip sometime in the near future. Mark

  4. suraj Dhakal says:

    Hi Neil how are you doing?How is Helen?Send my kisses and best regards to her.
    All is well here.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

  5. hugh says:

    Hey,

    I found your site on africa overland and have read it all over the past week. I hope that you are not too disappointed that you had to come back and hopefully Helen gets better?

    All the best in your future travels and many thanks for providing me with an enjoyable and enlightening diary of your travels.

    Hugh

  6. Tim says:

    Hey guys!
    Shame you had to cut things short, but what an adventure eh! It’s been great reading about the roads past Qazvin and I’m still chuckling about our admirers that night!
    I got back to London a week ago. Strange, strange, strange. Now to find a job…!
    All the best!!
    Tim

  7. Maurice Smith says:

    Nice to meet you both yesterday,

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shinysideup/7534710496/

    Having now read through the blog.. WOW what an epic adventure.
    Somehow I’m not sure Scotland’s on the same level!
    Hope you have fun and keep it shiny side up..

    All the best!!

    Maurice.