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Highway Agency Traffic Officers

 
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Charles
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Highway Agency Traffic Officers Reply with quote

Well, as part of the fortnight trekking round various UK tourist attractions, we were heading up the M40 to London to "do" Madame Tussauds, The London Eye and various other sights courtesy of our Annual Passes.

Just coming to the top of the Stokenchurch cutting in lane 3 and suddenly there is no power. Then I see the temperature gauge hitting the red (it was fine about 30 seconds previously) and the big red STOP sign lights up and pings away. Ease across to thew hard shoulder, throw the selector into neutral and coast to the next phone box.

Having offloaded 4 kids, the wife and the Au-Pair to behind the armco and up the embankment, it was then a case of getting the AA out. Spoke to the Highways Agency chap on the roadside phone who got the AA to us within 30 minutes. In the meantime, a couple of very helpful chaps turn up in their pseudo police 4x4 andcheked we were all OK Then they provided space age blankets and ponchos for the kids and chatted with us until the AA turned up.

Couple of interesting points:

Firstly they suggested that I put the bonnet down as they had seen other Espace bonnets blown back against the windscreen when a "heavy" went past causing damage to both screen and bonnet Exclamation

Secondly, they told me that for every minute the motorway was closed, traffic would back up by about 1 mile Exclamation Exclamation

Thirdly, they told me that they love what Clarkson writes but he should remember that they helped his mum out recently and so perhaps JC could ease off giving the HA people such a hard time Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation


All in all, the breakdown and recovery went extremely smoothly and the kids now have something different to write about when they get back to school and are asked "what diid you do for your holidays?"

Well done the Highway Agency team and also the AA boys who got us all home and the car to the Renault dealership safely. Now we need to hope that the failure (probably water pump) is covered by the warranty Confused
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KevinB10
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear you got home ok, you did better than me with AA Relay, they took 2 hours to pick me up and relay me home from East Midlands Airport last month.
So after you tour of England's tourist attractions [IIRC - Madame Tussauds, London Eye, Thorpe Park, Longleat & Beauieu] how would you and the kids rate them overall for fun and value for money. Smile
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Charles
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we were fortunate with a 30 minute pick-up, but pleading cold scared children on the side of a busy motorway seemed to do the trick.

A further result is that normally Renault Assistance only provides a replacement vehicle FOC for 24 hours and it is up to 1.4 litres. Clearly this won't provide six seats for us but some gentle persuasion has got us a C4 Picasso for 3 days FOC.

Perhaps this is because our vehicle is flagged at Renault UK on the basis that they supplied it as a replacement for the complete piece of cack that was our previous Espace ... but that's another story.

As for attractions, we have now "done" Thorpe Park, Chessington, Longleat and Beaulieu - Tussauds and the London Eye was supposed to be today! In terms of enjoyment and child ratings it is a difficult one to classify, but here goes.

Thorpe Park and Chessington are a step up from Legoland, and whilst Thorpe Park worked well for the boys (11 and 9), the girls (2x6) found more rides they could do at Chessington. Both were good fun for all the family and probably rate even against each other for the family as a whole.

Longleat was great fun - the monkeys on the safari and the maze rated highly, with the train and boat trips scoring well. Perhaps most surprisingly, the velociraptors enjoyed looking round the house too!

Beaulieu was a pleasant surprise because I was concerned the girls and my wife wouldn't find the cars of interest, but they all had a great time. The monorail was a hit, the museum had plenty of variety and the supplementary exhibitions around the grounds held interest for all including the tour of the house and discussions about where the ghosts were! Probably the most relaxed of the four days out and so scores first place so far, with Longleat second, Chessington and Thorpe Park tied at third.

Hopefully we will be going to London tomorrow so an update to follow, but so far a fortnight of UK day trips is proving succesful and relatively cheap - courtesy of Tesco for the vouchers to purchase the Merlin Entertainment Group passes at 27.50 each and the local Co-Op for supplying baguettes and fillings for the hungry mouths throughout the day Very Happy
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Charles
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order Wink
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!
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KevinB10
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chessington & legoland we have visited several times but Thorpe Park we have yet to do so maybe it will be next on our list.

I love the London Eye, we have done it twice now and the views on a clear day are just superb - do not forget your camera.

Tower Bridge Exhibition is interesting [maybe one for the boys] and then you can have lunch or a beer next door at St. Katherine's Dock. Smile

We are taking the B10 to a Holiday Park in Brittany on Friday courtesy of Tesco Tokens. Very Happy
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Chas
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KevinB10 wrote:
I love the London Eye, we have done it twice now and the views on a clear day are just superb

Views of what?? I used to have an office on the 23rd floor of Milbank Tower and, although it was interesting to be looking down on Big Ben, I wouldn't class mile after mile of buildings to be a great view Confused

I couldn't wait to come home to these kind of views every weekend. Cool

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KevinB10
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chas views do not have to be only mountains & Lochs [Lakes for us English], they can be of man made buildings.
I happen to think the view of the River Thames and the Palace of Westminster is superb from 443ft up.



Also Lock Muick will look nothing at night but London that is excellent.


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Dunk
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles

I can thoroughly recommend Paultons park for the younger of your brood - although i suspect the 11yr old may get a little bored.

The best thing about the place is that it's aimed squarely at under-13s, so there's none of the drunk teenager contingent you get at Thorpe Park and Chessington.
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