At 9am on Sunday, Lloyd arrived at my house with a fully loaded van, hired from another theatre company, which, in the interests of charity and solidarity, will remain nameless. The idea was that we would take two days to drive it to Sweden for the next leg of the tour.
At 9.20, it ground to a halt on the M25. Total stasis. The engine wouldn't re-fire. I phoned the RAC. Forty minutes later Derek showed up (this is the cameo which Michael Gambon will play in the road movie). Derek looked under the bonnet and shook his head. The engine rattled about. He employed a few choice technical terms to suggest that we weren't going to get to Sweden in this particular van. He then said that, even though we'd specifically taken RAC international cover for it, and that I'd been told my personal cover would work in the UK, this van was too big for them to recover. And he left us at the side of the road.
The van itself seemed to have AA cover. So that was worth a try. Forty minutes later Jeff showed up (this is more a John Hurt role). He instantly towed the van. To Thurrock services. There it ws met by a mechanic who agreed that Derek had been right. At least the AA would take it home - but that was that.
Phoned Nisha and got her to do some mad Googling. Somehow she managed to find the only van hire place in the entire world which is open on Sunday mornings and hires vans to go to Sweden. She then drove round to Thurrock, children in tow, to pick us up. By now it was 1pm, and the van hire place closed at 1.30. I drove like a lunatic back to Enfield, and somehow made it in time to hire the new van. We drove it to Thurrock services, and re-loaded everything in the rain on the car park tarmac. Luckily another AA tow-truck arrived with perfect timing to deal with the wreck, and we were on our way. We finally made it to Calais at 6.30pm - when it had been planned for noon.
Somehow, with insane dashing through Europe and a snatched kip in Dortmund, we made it to Sweden by Monday night. It's very cold here. Snowing. But the team is re-assembled.