Petrol

This is an oven tray I bought from a supermarket on the outskirts of Madrid. It is actually part of a nice set, but I took this one out in the shop and pretended I didn’t know that.

The pretty patterns are made by petrol leaking out of the petrol tank. I am trying to measure if the leaking is slowing down or not.

I was made aware of the petrol leak at a service station by an attendant the other side of Madrid, on Good Friday evening with the prospect of no mechanics being available for the next three days. It was actually gushing out from under the truck after I had filled it up. So I was…a little worried..

These photos are of a Defender petrol tank from Google images. Apparently with Defenders the gasket can go, and so when the tank is filled above where the pipe enters, it pours out until the petrol is below the gasket line. Then it is fine to drive.

Lesson Two: Google is your friend when you know nothing about trucks

Neanderthals

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One of the most amazing places I saw in Spain was this valley. It is just out of Santander, which is a beautiful little port town with great accommodation, great food and tapas bars.

This is the site of a Neanderthal settlement. I wanted to go into the caves but the queue was huge with schoolkids. So I just went for a walk up to the top of the hill that overlooks the valley.

You can see why it would have been such a perfect place to live. The rivers converge and everything is sheltered. This hill provides a lookout for trouble, and also it must have been so inspiring for them to stand up here and look the other way out towards the ocean, knowing that if they wanted to they could just keep following it around the coast, a journey that would be safe with a clear route home.

I’ve always been astonished by the drive to keep moving, and keep discovering. Why did some of these people, way before our ancestors homo sapiens, keep walking out of Africa?

When you see these places and stand where they stood – imagine them looking at where they came from in the distance, their beautiful home beneath them, where most of them stayed for tens of thousands of years, and then the ocean horizon further North– someone stood here on this spot and made some big decisions.

Morocco

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The idea was to take the truck on a bit of a drive to Africa, to see how it is to do some big miles, and what I need to prep for if I want to do a more adventurous trip next year.

This plan is to leave from England, drive through Spain, across to Morocco and then as far as possible towards the Sahara – and then back. I only have a few weeks so there is going to be a lot of driving.

This me looking happy because I made it to the ferry in Portsmouth and got the truck on it.

What this photo belies is the six days it took to get the WOF for the bloody thing in Peterborough (Do not listen to ordinary mechanics when they tell you about Landrovers). But with the help of my mates who store it, and the Landrover guys at Marshall Motors, I got here on time. The alternative was three days driving down France.

However, it also doesn’t show the next 24 hrs which I spent on my back on the ferry trying not to vomit. I had somehow forgotten I get quite seasick.

Lesson One: Next time just drive through France.