I was confiding that Heidi’s days with us are numbered, we had picked out our new van and that Mr Snail was taking her to Cognac to get a PX price…
Things did not go to plan.
Heidi was looking gorgeous, considering her age, and we both agreed that the fact that they had asked to see her meant that they would almost certainly make some kind of an offer – otherwise why put us to the trouble. Really, for a lass of 20 years age, she was looking in fine fettle. Why would they turn her down.
Well, it was very much a case of frowning, head-shaking and tutting. It was broken this and broken that (minor things that we had honestly not noticed in the last year) and this requires replacing and that requires replacing and her tyres are too old and… no, we won’t take her, it would be too costly to make her right. They suggested that we had been done when we bought her…
Were they speaking of the same Heidi that we know? Surely not.
My favourite Snail returned, with his tail betwixt his legs.
We talked about the options, which we believed to be few – given the fact that other dealers would not even look at her because of her age. The option that Mr Snail was coming down on was the one that goes “There’s nothing wrong with her and she suits us just fine let’s just keep her.” Nothing wrong with that course of action at all.
What were the other options?
- We might try selling her privately but that was a course that we knew that we would rather not take. It is a process that is fraught and brings with it onerous responsibilities. Selling used vehicles privately in France is not something to be undertaken lightly. This reason was after all the driver behind seeking a PX in the first place.
- We could seek a cheaper van that didn’t need us to top up with funds from disposing of Heidi but that wouldn’t work for us and she would have to go anyway, to make space for a new van. We just don’t have room for three vehicles.
- A dealer that we visited in Naintré last week is having a fair of used vehicles this weekend and inviting owners to come and sell their own vans. We might book a spot there but that would still leave us with the legal requirements and responsibilities thing.
- A little place outside Lussac Les Chateaux has, we have noticed, usually a few lower-end motorhomes outside, marked up with prices in their windows. Perhaps they might be open to buying Heidi from us. We wouldn’t make as much as from a private sale but would be free of the legal obligations.
We were dejected. I just clung on to the idea that none of this actually matters. We aren’t in need of a new van, it was just a flirting with some kind of desire…
We discussed returning to Naintré before the weekend, to remind ourselves of what they had for sale there and to try and firm up ideas about what our second choice van might be. We might book Heidi in on the DIY sales thing if it seemed a good idea and if there was a van that we might want to buy…
Mr Snail visited their website to remind himself of their stock and to check out the details of the used vehicle event. He noticed that in the earlier part of the week they had some reductions on new vehicles, including on some of the ones that we might be considering.
Thus it was that we got up out of our beds yesterday morning and took Heidi with us to Naintré. It was a very faint hope but perhaps, if they would consider a PX, it would be useful to have her there and not require a second journey.
We arrived, on a far better day than last week, to find many more units on display and the van conversions standing there with doors open ready for viewing. As we crossed the lot, I spotted a Hymermobil of very similar vintage to Heidi. we had some debate as to whether the dealer was selling the van or whether it was there for the weekend sell-your-own event. Then I saw another van, even older than Heidi. I dared to suggest that perhaps they might be up for a PX after all.
A very nice man, name of Christophe, appeared very quickly to see if he might help. He was going to leave us to it but soon realised that we knew what we were looking for and were proper buyers. He stuck with us and we may have tested his patience as we went back and forth between our three personal options (a Globecar, a Pilote and a Bavaria), checking this and checking that and making up our minds (or at least attempting to!)
We chose one: the Globecar. It was considerably cheaper than the Malibu that we had been going to purchase in Cognac. If we couldn’t get a PX then we would still be able to pay for it… but that would leave the issue of disposal in time for bringing a new van home.
We asked about the possibility of exchanging Heidi and told Christophe her age, we pointed her out in the car park. He didn’t flinch and simply got stuck into the paperwork, working out the figures with adjustments for discounts and additional options costed in. Mr Snail and I exchanged glances. He didn’t want to look at her before we agreed a sale? We asked if he wanted to see her and he said yes but he would fill all the papers in first. He went online and found the book price for Heidi. It was disappointingly low, even after Christophe generously topped the figure up with an additional 500 Euros but, you know, legalities, logistics etcetera… worth the loss to avoid the hassle…
…but he still hadn’t looked at her and after the previous day’s reception at Cognac, we were concerned for poor Heidi.
We need not have worried. Christophe walked in, looked around and remarked that Heidi was in excellent condition (which is what we had believed originally). Deal done.
Now, how on earth was this the same vehicle that was so broken and so in need of work on Tuesday?
We supplied the many signatures required in France when conducting any transaction, wrote the cheque for the deposit, fixed a date for delivery and, it being time to close for lunch, were ushered on our merry way and out of the front door.
Lunch at La Table de Bellefois followed shortly thereafter by way of a small celebration.
The new van is intended to be our last van. We plan to stick with it now and expect it to see our wandering days out for us. It is a Globecar Summit 640. We are having an awning, a solar panel and a reversing camera/multimedia centre (radio, Bluetooth, SatNav etc.) installed and will collect it on the 19th July. That date is, coincidentally, the same date that we brought Heidi home last year. We are dumping the old girl on her birthday. Aren’t we awful.
The new van is going to be needing a name. Any ideas? Alliterative name perhaps to follow Heidi Hymer? Gloria Globecar has been considered, as has Gladys Pugh (Heidi Hymer reference inclusive!) Maybe Sam Summit? I’m thinking though, as it’s a van and not a Eurobox moho, to follow Vincent Van Go (the Roadtrek), we might name it Van Morrison.. or Van the Van!
Can you do better?