Wacky 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.

But as in all Wacky races, nothing is ever as it seems......................

The 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!!

Now 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 language!!!

Can you imagine the "debate"!!!! The Banker could................!!!!

At 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!!!!

The 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 it seemed?

The 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.

The 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!!!!!!!

Right, 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.....???

So 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.

They 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!!

The 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 cage!!

Just as well Ms Dastardly and the Muttley crew were in the Awelymor Chuckabug...........Awelymor Chuckabugs are good at this.....

Now 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.

Now 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!!

So now imagine the picture, dive in the pocket for cash? The purse for a card and now, which lane to be in??

3 women, lots of choices and what do you have?


(and the puppy needs a poo)

The next stage of our little story involves nothing more than beautiful scenery, little anecdotes and a poisoned finger!!!!! Gasp of horror...........

Well 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.

The following day all was well in a sort of swollen finger, antibiotic kind of way..........

Of 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?

Yes 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!! I think.

Anyway, safely arrived and introduced the now famous three handed over said Bracco and all was well.............or was it??

Now they only had to enjoy the area, the people, the dogs, the food and the drink (more wine tasting evenings) - idyllic thoughts..........BUT

They 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.

Anyway, 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??

Exactly, not good Logistics that!!

Why 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!

So 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!!

This 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 wasn't there)

And so to the Ferry crossing back to the good old cold and grey UK.

Ms. 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.

This 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.

Today 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

Please 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 0



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