Mourne in the morning

I awoke to the pitter-patter of a frigid mountain rain dancing on Escape Velocity’s metal roof. We are not in India anymore. I pulled the comforter back over my head thinking maybe another thirty minutes would do nicely.

Coffee aboard the bus is job number one for the skipper and that’s Yours Truly. There are no more helpful inn keepers waiting to serve us a steaming hot cup of chai in the morning. Ultimately I knew that I had no choice, so I performed a particularly clumsy “flying man” maneuver in which I attempt to throw a leg over Marce, suspend myself over her without smashing anything tender and, using that knee to support my weight, spin my body a further 90 degrees which allows me to back down off our quite high bed while searching for a small interim step with my toes so I can let myself down to the floor. It’s all terribly awkward. It’s been more than six months since I asked my body to do this. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

With our old sailing friend Alan’s help we had plugged Escape Velocity into the house mains so there was a little heat on; otherwise this would be impossible. On the other hand I just heard, “Where’s my coffee?” This question had a plaintive edge to it. “I’m so sorry about that, but coffee will be a minute or so.” Kettle on, heat turned up, and Aeropress primed.

We are here, nestled at the base of the Mourne mountains to await our appointment with the mechanic who will convert EV’s propane to a refillable system.

We’ll have him do a full service and investigate an annoying check engine light that mysteriously comes on for a while then disappears. He’ll also do a pre-MOT inspection, and we’ll run her through state sponsored inspection scheduled for the following day. All of this happens two weeks from now. Turns out most people in Northern Ireland wait months for an MOT inspection appointment. We’re lucky to have this scheduled soon.

The to-do list is long and includes our yearly frustration with British insurance regulations, filled with catch-22’s and an inability to say yes to willingly rip us off. In the meantime we’re here in this beautiful but cold and rainy corner of Northern Ireland in the lap of luxury with friends in a comfortable warm family atmosphere.

Our every instinct demands action but other than wrestling with insurance bureaucrats and totally reorganizing EV, there’s little productive to occupy our minds for the two week hiatus so we walk and try to firm up our plans for Europe.

I don’t know why we came back so early but finally we find ourselves ready for MOT inspection with the check engine light reset to off. Four different mechanics have put the van on the diagnostic computer for this intermittent warning light and every time it comes up “no fault.” In a short ceremony we beseeched the Laotian Little People to keep that check engine light off while we’re at the inspection station. They’re in charge of special dispensation for spunky fools, but they are also well known for their mischievous behavior.

Waiting in the inspection line.

As I started EV up sure enough, the check engine light came on and the inspector, leaning in the window said, “your check engine light is on.”

We’d just come from the garage and it’s been off all day. Honestly. Realizing that no one ever says that and after much schmoozing by Marce the Charmer, we felt him soften. He smiled that impish Irish grin and said, “pull her around back.”

We’re either about to be impounded or those crafty Laotian Little People have done it again. I like to think we left him feeling better about himself as well and that pesky dashboard light is now called the Engine On light. A wee dram of celebratory whiskey would go well about now, but I’m driving.

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