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Overland UK to Australia 1969 - John de Figueiredo and Brian Ridgway

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Royal Wave Packing the Royal Wave Royal Wave Departure

The Adventure Begins Thursday 28 August 1969

The odometer of the Royal Wave read 75945km when I left home in Anglesey, North Wales about midday. I arrived at Brian's house in Weaverham, Cheshire, less than a mile from the Railway Hotel at Acton Bridge, at 3:30pm. Brian, who is horrified by my lack of organisation, repacks the car. The master plan requires me to collect Brian in Le Havre on Monday. I get to London about 9:30pm and find a place to stay on the floor with friends Trevor and Lorraine in Kingston on Thames.

I spend the next two days on final preparations such as a Carnet de Passage for the car, obtaining insurance for the journey beyond Iran, yellow fever vaccination, and various medicinal and other travel items. I stayed with different friends each night.

Sunday 31st August is the day of my departure from UK. No hurry, I have to be in Southampton to catch the 11:10pm ferry. We consider the cost of petrol in France and Italy to be exorbitant so I fill all available capacity, including a 5-gallon jerry can, with petrol which costs me over £5. (My best estimate is that was 70 litres at 1s 5d per litre.)

About halfway to Southampton there was that rattling noise from the engine again. We had had a problem with securing the fan to its drive shaft, and the temporary fix had "died". On with the boiler suit and out with the tools and spares. One hour later problem (temporarily) fixed again. I reach Southampton before 9. As mentioned the ferry leaves at 11, and there is room as promised by RAC.

Last view of England was the Esso Refinery at Fawley. Then another stroke of luck, sleeping accommodation is available. I share a 4 berth "couchette" with one other person who works in the wine trade in France. We talk too far into the night after a very reasonably priced meal on board.

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UK, North Wales to Southampton