We have arrived. We’ve done Joburg, had a holiday, bought a bed and fridge and now the year begins.
We left London Heathrow on August 20th on a 7pm flight and after two films (We Bought a Zoo and Iron Man 3, you can guess which one Joss watched…) and a bit of sleep we landed an hour early in sunny Johannesburg. Having driven to Heathrow in a Freelander with Joss’s parents and had all our bags squeezed in with little space to spare, we were a little worried about the small car we’d hired. Luckily it turned out to be a Hyundai i10 which, having 5 doors, easily fitted everything in, all 5 large duffel bags, two laptop bags and two hand luggage bags!
After dumping our bags at our base in Joburg and a quick hello to our amazing hosts (C & P you are legends and amazing) we went to see Lucy the Land Rover. Lucy the Land Rover was bought 3 months prior to this on Gumtree. We took a punt on this car. We knew we wanted a 4×4 vehicle but looking around they were all way out of our budget range, even at a stretch. Then one day Joss was on the train on the way back from a conference and found Lucy. She was being sold by a couple from England who had done a bit of over-landing in her while they were in southern Africa for three months. We bought it on the condition that it drove into my cousin’s Equestrian estate. K kindly let us keep it at Canterbrooke for the three months until we arrived. And when we did we found a beautiful Series 2a Land Rover.
The only problem was it didn’t start
We knew the estate manager had only recently fully charged the battery, but it still wouldn’t start. After half an hour trying to workout whether it was petrol or diesel (a crucial decision) we put diesel in. Whoops. After calling K’s trusty mechanic, G, he kindly agreed to come and have a look at the landy the next morning. The next morning G was at Canterbrooke before we got there and had already siphoned the diesel out of the rear tank and replaced it with petrol and with a bit of tinkering he got it started. Having worked for a company in the automotive trade for nearly 5 years I still don’t really know how cars work (sorry guys), so to me what he did was magic! K had warned us that we would need to get 4 new tyres before we started and G offered us a good price for tyres and also said he would give it a quick check over. I had the task of driving this car, a style and weight I have never driven beforehand no power steering, only 4 gears, a hand break that doesn’t stay locked and brakes that pull heavily to the right. I feel I took the drive from BlueHills to Centurion in my stride, the best bit were the waves we received, one from a driver of a brand new defender as he sped past at twice my speed and the other from a guy sitting in the back of a backie; the worst point was trying to do a hill start in this car with poor breaks and unfamiliar clutch and gas pedals. We left the landy in G’s capable hands to carry on with our preparations for moving into an unfurnished house in the middle of the African bush in the middle of nowhere.
Lunch with B and U confirmed for us again that, although our parents are thousands of miles away, we have people looking out for us here.
The rest of our time in Joburg, until Lucy was ready, was spent seeing friends and family, always revolving around food in huge quantities and stocking up on things for the house.
I will continue with this in my next post, starting with our journey up north to Hoedspruit.