With the van still playing up in a strange place all I wanted was to park up and take a break, easier said than done, but I did find a park and ride near Cowes. Great, there must be a chip shop there... yes but not an open one. I did eventually find one and they were really good, but by then I was very wet. Still food and tea make everything look better and exploring seemed like a good plan again. Unfortunately each place I though might be open in the winter was down a road with a 6'6" width limit. Hmm, time to give up and head to a quilter. Who is also down a restricted road. I decided I had to go anyway and actually it wasn't a problem. I can only assume the intention is to discourage motorhomes and caravans as locals know which roads they can use.
We spent a very nice afternoon drinking tea in front of a wood burning stove. Muh better than walking about in the rain. We were joined for dinner by another member of the group which turned out to be very lucky. At the venue we discover that it had another carpark I didn't fit in although I was lucky enough to park very close to the front door also pretty lucky. I realised after I got set up that I had forgotten to change, maybe I was a bit distracted by the van which was getting worse each time I drove it. The audience were great and really filled the hall, but in the back of my mine was the fact that I had a lot more miles to do and no way to do it.
We made it home safely and after a night cap headed to bed. For all it's faults I do love the van. I could sit and relax with my radio and work on my rug while I tried to come up with a plan. Lovely. The plan was to try the local mechanic as recommended by last nights dinner guest. Of course with an older slightly obscure vehicle I wasn't expecting much, but anything was worth a go. The van was delivered to the mechanic and me to the hall by my very capable host so by the time I started the workshop I was organised and relaxed.
The workshop was a lot of fun, hopefully for the group as well as me. I can't say everything went smoothly but I think all the issues were dealt with. Fortunately the gruop had a good sense of humour and aren't easly detered from enjoying their quilting. Everyone made good progress with their tulips and hopefully I will be ab;e to share some pictures soon. In the afternoon I got an update on the van. The mechanic was happy that there was no serious fault and indeed on the way to him I had noticed the burning smell seemed to have reduced. Still after the problems I might not have trusted that result but for the fact he happened to be a Bedford CF expert! What are the odds? See I said that dinner guest was lucky. She was also kind enough to deliver me back to my van after the class.
I am now in a hotel near my next booking. The van has been fine and I am now looking forward to the rest of the trip. I think what will stay with me from the Isle of Wight are the people. Everyone I dealt with from supermarket staff to the port to the quilters were exceptionally friendly and helpful. The place (and the councils) were so unwelcoming, but because of the people I am looking forward to a return trip. Thank you all, and please do send me pictures of your finished work.