I said the Faroe Islands not the Pharaoh Islands…
For the first time in our lives, we find ourselves having in-depth discussions about how to pack the car. Normally on an expedition we shove everything in the boot and sit on the door to shut it before heading of to the ferry port to ditch the Mondeo for the Dawes. But this year, we need our car to access parts of Iceland that bicycles cannot reach…
What you can’t insure it?
The first obstacle with the car is insurance. The insurance company refuses to provide cover for the Faroe Islands part of our imminent Adventure Islands summer expedition. Stuart attempts to change the mind of the guy at the call centre who is equally adamant they can’t provide cover. But why? Surely the most likely danger on these remote islands, sitting quietly in the North Atlantic South of Iceland and North of Aberdeen, is getting dumped on by a gull. But the guy at the insurer’s says he checked the policy, read the small print, spoken to his manager and conferred directly with the insurers. “We’ve even been in touch with the embassy,” he assures us.
“What embassy?” asks Stuart, bewildered.
“The Egyptian embassy Sir,” comes the reply.
How are you spelling that?
“Hang on a minute. How are you spelling Faroes?” asks Stuart, as he realises the issue may be nothing to do with puffins. I don’t even know if Egypt has any Pharaoh Islands, nor how they imagined we were going to get there on a ferry from Iceland but at least we now know we won’t be able to insure a Mondeo estate if we do decide to visit.
Once we clarify the spelling and the geography The Faroes are suddenly not an issue and everything seems sorted with the car. Well, for a moment.
Oh no, more car trouble
Until the starter motor begins to sing like an Icelandic banshee. Not all the time. Just sometimes. But it’s not a good omen. Overnight we drop it at the garage for repairs and a service and then as per the usual arrangement, drop the keys into the mechanic’s letterbox in our village so he can take them into work in the morning. Except they don’t quite fall into his letterbox. In a nod to Tess of the D’Urbervilles, they get stuck half way between his letterbox and the floor, and he goes off to work without them.
I get the call when I am in Kendal the next morning. Can I drop the key in Arnside so the mechanic can do the work as planned? I’d be happy to do that, except I don’t have a car. Or in fact a key. But as I’m wondering who to phone to get us out of this new problem, I spot our salvation. A shiny silver Mondeo Ghia with leather seats, a CD player that works, and best of all, a number plate that reads BLO6. If you squint into the sunlight from a distance, you can almost believe it says BLOG. We are destined to have that Mondeo. Why wouldn’t we buy a car that almost spells BLOG? And probably has a starter motor that works.
“Because we haven’t any money, that’s why.” The phone call is short and to the point. Stuart hasn’t got time; he has to get another key round to the mechanics eight miles away. I take a huff while he puts on his waterproofs to cycle over in the rain. I tell him it’s good practice for Iceland.
All dressed up and good as new?
When we pick up the kids from school, there’s great excitement. The magnetic adverts for the side of the car and the back windows have arrived. They say Family Adventure Project. Not quite as cool as a BLOG personalised number plate, but with the addition of the Thule Back Up storage box, the roof racks, a good clean, some work on the engine and a service, the car almost looks like new.
I check on the personalised number website. There are no other plates free that spell BLOG. Or even BLO6 so I can’t even ask for one for my birthday. I head up to the bath, and have to be content with spelling out BLOG in little foam bathplay letters. I lie back and dream of a time when we can afford to tour the mythical Egyptian Pharoah islands in a second hand Ford Mondeo with our profession carved into the identity plate.
This post is part of our 2012 Adventure Islands Season. We’re spending summer 2012 exploring Iceland and The Faroes, researching what’s on offer for adventure seeking families. We’re grateful to DFDS Seaways and Smyril Line for help with transport, to Berghaus who helped equip us for the journey and to Thule for the use of the BackUp Box 900 without which the journey would probably not be possible. All experiences, views and opinions are however, as ever, our own.
You can see a map of our journey on The Family Adventure Project Punkt! and view some exclusive behind the scenes photos and video of what we got up to.