Races (Southern Italy or bust)
The Awelymor Chuckabug (well OK, it's actually a Land
Rover Defender Station Wagon) along with Karen Dastardly
and her Muttley crew of Tracy and Jan had planned a trip
to Southern Italy to a place called Puglia to be the first
to see the Spinone’s of Emanuele who has been a
legend in his own lunchtime.
as in all Wacky races, nothing is ever as it seems......................
trip took place in September and started on a chilly morning
with Ms Dastardly loading the Awelymor Chuckabug with
all the usual devious things like clothes and cigarettes
and a spare lighter. The now famous Ms Dastardly’s
mug of tea duly filled, she set off as Dastardly did of
course - a day late!!
at this point I have to mention that THEY ALL volunteered
to take turns in driving............yes I know what you're
thinking and so was I.............!!!!!!! Fine in the
UK but those foreigners don't even drive on the proper
side of the road........and the signs are all in a foreign
you imagine the "debate"!!!! The Banker could................!!!!
this point Ms Dastardly and the Muttley crew would like
to say a big THANK YOU to whoever invented.....(drum roll
moment)...........The Sat Nav......we salute you!!!!
first big pit stop was the water crossing which normally
the Awelymor Chuckabug would easily navigate through.
Awelymor Chuckabugs are famous for this!!! However, as
this was the channel crossing from Dover to Calais then
even the Awelymor Chuckabug would be out of its depth..........literally!!!
But as noted earlier, nothing in this trip was ever as
devious Dastardly was to navigate off the Ferry in Calais
to meet up with one of those people you see in the movies
with either (a) a Citroën 2CV or (b) an odd gentlemen
wearing a necklace of onions, a strange little floppy
cap and sporting the latest in 1950s bicycles.
plot thickens here as you can imagine..............you
see the gentlemen in question was neither (a) nor (b)
and was a rather sensible dog owner who had promised the
legend in his own lunchtime in Southern Italy one of his
dogs - a puppy in fact. The dog in question was a Bracco......(it
must mean something to someone) Anyway, with Ms Dastardly
and the Muttley crew of Jan and Tracy - oh yes I forgot
to mention that these three had all agreed to meet and
Ms Dastardly was to ensure they all fitted inclusive of
baggage into the Awelymor Chuckabug. As the narrator and
writer of this little gem of a story I am struggling to
imagine the baggage of 3 women fitting into one car!!!!!!!
where was I? Oh yes.........anyway, the Bracco puppy was
to go to the legend in his own lunchtime and obviously
for him to travel from Southern Italy to Northern France
was ridiculous when the Muttley crew and Ms Dastardly
were coming from the UK through Northern France to go
to Southern Italy.
I hope you're following this.....???
the cunning plan was for Dastardly and crew to pick up
the Puppy Bracco and head south with it whereupon it would
be delivered to the aforementioned Italian Gentleman.
all met off the Ferry in Calais and headed for the home
of the Bracco man (without onion necklace, strange floppy
hat and 1950s bicycle) and here they all spent the evening
munching and drinking away.......well it is France!!
following morning it became clear that a couple of minor
modifications to the reorganising of the baggage was required
in order to fit in the noted Bracco puppy!!! In its dog
as well Ms Dastardly and the Muttley crew were in the
Awelymor Chuckabug...........Awelymor Chuckabugs are good
just think back to the start of this little tale?? Remember
the “hail all Sat Nav” moments?? Well of course
the Sat Nav is a useful device as we all know. However,
the aforementioned “all hail Sat Nav” has
a couple of minor detail faults? Gasp of anticipation…………….The
Sat Nav does NOT navigate you into the correct lane for
a road toll booth and neither does it tell you whether
the toll is automated or controlled by a human individual.
please take a moment to think about this…………Picture
the scene? 3 famous adventurers namely Dastardly and The
Muttley crew charging down into the path of a coming road
toll area, confusion now kicks in, do we dive in our pockets
for change to throw in the basket or do we hand over to
a foreign humanoid cash???
Now if this wasn’t bad enough, enter Sat Nav fault
number two? No you don’t have to gasp again. Now
this little glitch in the software does NOT tell you which
lane you should be in to pay by card, cash, electronic
tag or just plough through without paying. The latter
gets very expensive later on and delays your journey!!
now imagine the picture, dive in the pocket for cash?
The purse for a card and now, which lane to be in??
women, lots of choices and what do you have?
the puppy needs a poo)
next stage of our little story involves nothing more than
beautiful scenery, little anecdotes and a poisoned finger!!!!!
Gasp of horror...........
even in the real Wacky races people got hurt........one
of the Muttley crew chose this time to have a swollen
finger. So off they all went to the hospital for treatment,
they all went to the hospital but only one of them was
treated.....but I guessed you already realised that.
following day all was well in a sort of swollen finger,
antibiotic kind of way..........
course the language barrier was never an issue as everyone
was supposed to speak English anyway. Ms Dastardly and
the Muttley crew passed effortlessly onwards to the South
of Italy. Another day late but who cares - this was fun!!!
The Bracco, handover, Chaos on the road tolls and stopping
for scenery all adds up to delays and time spent enjoying
untangling the ever confusing road signs in foreign languages,
people not responding to you in English and the tunnels!!!!!
The tunnels, what tunnels?
the tunnels………these are the famous tunnels
and passes that go through the mountains, some are short
and some are long, very long………..moments
of terror ripping through the 3 adventurers. Moments of
Hollywood B movies flashing through frightened and imaginative
minds. It’s at this point we have to acknowledge
the sheer drops into the ravines that are normally associated
to the start and finish of the tunnels….no we don’t!!!
we have to acknowledge the outright bravery of these intrepid
adventurers to go through all that gorgeous scenery, the
stunning views and the endless countryside that is Europe!!
safely arrived and introduced the now famous three handed
over said Bracco and all was well.............or was it??
they only had to enjoy the area, the people, the dogs,
the food and the drink (more wine tasting evenings) -
had been entered into a dog show – no, no not Dastardly
and the Muttley crew, but they were to show dogs in a
local event........good fun, great experience and no doubt
forgotten through a wine haze that same evening.
let’s go back to that doggy cage shall we..........now
think about this? What is the point of going all the way
back to Northern France with an empty doggy cage??
not good Logistics that!!
not take back on the return journey a puppy Spinone!!!
Brilliant..........(I'm sure I used that word when told
- sorry, asked)!!
And so with fond farewells and a promise to return, our
intrepid Wacky racers headed for the hills (well the Dolomites
and the Alps to be exact) and for the return journey.
Er......and of course with the puppy Spinone!
with the long journey ahead they all headed wherever the
Sat Nav told them to go!! Metaphorically of course.......the
journey North was the same as the journey South? pit stops
for fuel, food and overnight breaks......and I suspect
lots of puppy poo breaks!!
fearsome threesome however were not going to make the
same mistake twice on the way back, oh no....no chance.
This time they would not enter the Paris Pariferique Grand
Prix!! The Awelymor Chuckabug is no GTi nor is it a 2CV.......that
lesson on the way down had been learned!! and if I'm not
mistaken they got lost off it anyway......I'm surprised
the Sat Nav wasn't thrown out the window at that point.......well
you know the little woman is always right.
The next Major pit stop was to hand over the aforementioned
Spinone pup to its 'puppy sitters' who had travelled up
from the South of France to meet them and for the Quarantine
hand over to take place. If you're thinking as I was then
you can guess the rest. They came from Southern Italy
and met in Northern France? (Look I'm writing this, I
so to the Ferry crossing back to the good old cold and
Dastardly then dropped off the Muttley crew of Tracy and
Jan (not literally of course) to head off to the hills
and more in particular to the house on the hill back in
sunny (ish) Wales.
epic journey was as I believe thoroughly enjoyed by all,
new friends and doggy colleagues, another Spinone to join
our family of Spinone’s and the Awelymor Chuckabug
back where it's happiest? Rain, ice, mud, and snow on
its way.......so much for sunny (ish) Wales.
the Muttley crew and Ms Dastardly are already talking
about their next epic adventure........so be sure to keep
watching folks for the next thrilling instalment of "The
Dastardly and Muttley crew" featuring in "The
Italian job with paws"..........coming soon
note that no dogs were hurt or distressed during the making
of this epic journey!! Sadly the Banker has to report
that there was one fatality during the journey (oh no
– another gasp) and that was an enormous foreign
bug. Probably (although we don’t actually know the
true facts) was on his way home from sniffing meadow flowers
or cow poo and in his relaxed and “can’t wait
to get home to see the wife and kids” mode, he inadvertently
hit the windscreen of the Awelymor Chuckabug. It is with
deep regret I have to report that hitting this vehicle
at that speed (Bug police say he may have been speeding)
meant he was completely obliterated leaving only what
looked like the contents of a vegetable soup on the windscreen.
RIP Speeding bug. Or, Awelymor Chuckabug 1 – Bug