Sunday, 30 December 2007

Van Hire Heroes

Let us just suppose that your Christmas arrangements had become a "touch complicated", and that, due to the brilliance of a certain local government person called Sally, your eldest daughter, who may or may not be a Crown Princess, is getting a four night midweek away weekend super duper intercity boutique accommodation winter break in the very swish Highgate Nursing Home over the said festival of jollity.

Let us further suppose that, while the Manchester-London trip is laid on and delivered courtesy of two utterly fabulous blokes from the North West Ambulance Service, the return trip cannot be provided in the same way.

Let us further further suppose that the Crown Princess in question isn't going to be too thrilled if, having gone as far as reaching Hornsey Lane, she's then stuck there. Not unreasonably, she might like to visit Schloss Neustadt and indeed the Grandparental Mansion, which is where the Monster Extended Family Christmas Dinner will take place. Which is about x % of the whole point, really. Where x is a positive integer - quite a big one, ack'shly.

Let us further further further suppose that the family car is not up to the present task. Despite its fine performance in Ingestre (qv) it can't accommodate a wheelchair with person in it, and even if in some alternate reality it could, I'd still cheerfully bet you a Christmas pud that this particular wheelchair, being something of a long wheelbase model, would defeat pretty much anything you could arrange that involved something that looked even a touch like a family car.

So, basically, everything is fine, but everything is about to fall apart without the right vehicle.

Who ya gonna call?

AVH Ltd, that's who. (Adapted Vehicle Hire, geddit?) They are:

Adapted Vehicle Hire Ltd,
Stanford House, Station Approach
0845 257 1670

This wonderful, genius company does exactly what it says on the tin: it hires out adapted vehicles. If you look at the website you'll see that they do vehicles with driver adaptations; but this was not what we were after in this particular case. So they hired us a massive great VW Transporter van with wheelchair tiedowns and a tail-lift. This was just superb. And I thought that the lift would be all "attach trunnion A to bearing bracket B" and "tighten clamp P before installing torque dihedral flange Q" - but, er, no. It has an on/off switch and then four buttons on a wired hand control - deploy - down - up - stow. And that's yer lot.

The van seemed pretty much brand new and drove like a dream. I quite like driving big vehicles so that was OK (though the parking at Highgate was pretty scary, requiring much threading through backwards in a car-park sometimes terrifyingly full of semirandomly parked cars - no straight lines). The van did many local trips, including facilitating the all-important dinner on December 25th, and then we used it for the return trip to Manchester on Thursday.

It's not cheap and AVH is not a charity. But you get what you pay for and what we got here is superb people, vehicle and service. If/when I need this kind of hire again I will be straight back to this brilliant company without a moment's hesitation.

Finally, my Inner Nerd insists that I point out to you that it's exciting because it's based right next to Greenford station. Greenford has Central Line tube and national rail trains to Paddington. It's interesting because it has what seems to be the last remaining wooden escalator on the whole network. Oh and the BR (or whatever) trains come into a weird little terminus platform in a bay between the two Tube tracks going through. Satisfyingly odd. Oh yes I mean it has good access from London too, sure, so it is nice and convenient for here, but that's not what the nerd in me liked so much. Ahem indeed no.

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