So we’d paid the deposit – the balance due when we picked it up on the 26th December, now all we had to do was to find bits and pieces for it and somewhere to store it, that may be our biggest problem as we need to work on the van – most storage sites didn’t like you working on your van and it was a tad too big for our drive. So I thought it best to let the OH sort somewhere to store it (bear in mind that I wasn’t at home) while I got busy finding the stuff that I knew we needed – first off was security – we had no key for the door and we wanted a hitch lock at the very least, so off I went to the place that I knew all these things were going to be – good ol’ eBay – to source our needs.
I’m not sure how many of you use or are familiar with eBay, but I know many people are wary of it, in many cases not without good cause, but once you get used to how it works and what to look for in sellers and their adverts then it becomes easier to use it. With a new project on the go I suppose the first thing was to set up a load of searches, where eBay will send you a daily email of all the latest listings for a particular product, This I did, the first ones were for Al-Ko, because the hitch was a early Al-Ko, a search showed a large number of these and in among them were a couple of hitch locks for the 2000. The first one I missed (too slow on the button) the second was a buy-it-now so I bought it, but it was pick up only – why people insist on selling something that is easily post-able as a local pick up is beyond me as just adding postage can double the price you can get for an item, Anyway the hitch lock was up the other end of the country… but my mate was visiting his mum for Christmas in the same town so I could get him to pick it up – except when I asked him it turned out that he’d changed his plans and wasn’t going now but he rang his mum and she picked it up and sent it down for me – all it cost was £10 and a trip to the post office – why couldn’t the seller have done that?.
The door wasn’t so easy though, I set up a eBay search for a Tabbert door and got nothing, I even tried the breakers as well, one of my favourites is The Caravan Centre in Blaenavon in Wales and although they had loads of doors none of them would have fit the Tabbert.
It was a couple of days later that J (my OH) rang to say that she had found one – where? – on eBay, not our eBay but German eBay. I looked up the number she gave me and sure enough it was a door under the heading “Wohnwagen u. Wohnmobil Tür” (Caravan and Camper Door) with the following pictures:
So in my best google translated German I asked the seller if it would fit our Tabbert and would he be prepared to ship to the UK should I win it and sat back to wait, the listing finished on the 21st and today was the 15th so 6 days to go.
During this time J had found storage where they were happy for us to work on the caravan and not that far from where the caravan was at the moment either, she had been visiting the caravan from time to time and was starting to get concerned that it was getting damaged by horses, so we decided to move it into our new storage as soon as possible rather than wait until after Christmas. The guy we bought it off said that he could move it for us, so we paid up the balance and the caravan was moved – in the snow – yep it was moved into our storage in deepish snow, first part of the journey was done behind a transit until it lost traction, the remainder was behind a Pajero 4×4.
Monday 21st December
The day had arrived – tonight I was determined to win our new caravan door, I left my bid to the last minute, put it in and won the door, now all I had to do was get it – well get it sent to me but first I had to pay for it – via EU Bank Transfer. Now I’m not sure how many of you have done this method of payment in theory it’s simple you just enter the other persons bank details, the amount you want to transfer and it’s done…
Except my bank wouldn’t let me do it on line – I had to call into my local branch, and that’s where the problems started. I told the cashier that I wanted to do an EU Bank Transfer – she gave me a blank look, so I told her what it was, she consulted the other cashier and the manager before coming back with a form – a big form.
In order to do an EU Bank Transfer you need what is known as a Account IBAN and a BIC/SWIFT code, and the amount. The IBAN contains the bank name, the sort code and the account and the BIC/SWIFT contains additional bank details – anyway that’s all you need…
Except my bank “Where is the branch you are sending to?” I didn’t have a clue – “it’s in the IBAN” “Oh OK “ She put the IBAN, the BIC/SWIFT code in and the amount, it wouldn’t go through, I had an idea – I told her to put in the town the company was in – can’t remember the town now but I remember it had the German character ß in it which she entered as a B I told her it wasn’t a B, if she couldn’t find the proper character then put in ss instead (which is what it represents) “Alright she said” and sent it with a B “arrrrrrggggh” “Ooh it went that time” she said. I had no idea if it was going to the right bank or not but it was on it’s way.
I wanted to get a email off to the company to tell them the money was on it’s way and if there was any problem to let me know etc. The company was closed from the 23rd and it was the 22nd today so I needed to catch them before they started on the schnapps or whatever they do for their Christmas and anyway the transfer would take 3 days to go through. With that done all I could do now was wait – they weren’t back until the 6th January and would send the door out after that.
For me it was a case of finishing my work off for the Christmas break and getting ready for the day itself – except the day in question this year would be the 26th