D&D collecting Jenny yesterday from Paul at Reliance Ambulances

The plan right now is for us to drive for to the Channel Tunnel on the morning of Sunday 16 October and we’ve already done a lot:

  • we bought our new ambulance on Monday from Reliance Ambulances (a Peugeot Boxer “Patient Transfer Service” ambulance now called Jenny) – she’s great with a huge amount of space inside, seats for aid workers and a stretcher should that be needed
  • thanks to wonderful work by A-Plan Insurance brokers (who worked for free) we have an excellent insurance policy placed with NIG insurance
  • we’ve taken delivery of the ambulance and both of us have had a chance to drive her and familiarise ourselves with the vehicle
  • we’ve got our free one-way ticket on the Eurotunnel (thank you Eurotunnel!)
  • we’ve got her up on a ramp in a garage so that we can get a better idea of what we might need to do …

At this point things begin to go a little bit wrong!

  • ambulances have air suspension that can be inflated and deflated to move the rear end of the ambulance up and down to make it easier to load patients – we knew that there were issues with this and we think we’ll need to remove the air suspension and replace with a traditional leaf-sprung system
  • we also knew that the brake disks were somewhat worn so we had decided that we would replace them now so that they don’t fail in Ukraine
  • we also knew that the main side door wasn’t properly aligned (probably as the result of a bang) so that would need a little look
  • we didn’t know that there are mystery oil and coolant leaks in the engine bay
  • we didn’t know that the rear shocks need replacement – or that the rear brake discs are actually dangerously thin (query quite how Jenny made it through her last MOT)
  • oh yes, and the windscreen wipers and heater failed this morning!

The mechanic’s reaction on hearing that our plan is to leave in just over a week was an object lesson in expectation management but clearly it makes no sense to drive out a vehicle that either may not complete the journey or may be more trouble than she’s worth when she gets there. Fingers crossed that the excellent team at Wimbledon Auto Centre (one of whom is working late tonight just so that he can identify the source of the oil and coolant leaks) can get everything turned around in time. Oh yes, and our planned route takes us through Moldova which isn’t covered by our insurance policy so we’ve got to cover that off somehow …

Your support in helping to make this happen is hugely appreciated – we’ve even had a C$2,500 donation from friends in Canada, so please do keep it coming in and we can keep getting ambulances to where they are needed most.

Leave a Reply