Adventure starts mid-July, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012 – Thorpe to Thwaite

“Thank you for calling Hertz Customer Service.  My name is Nigel Smythe, how may I help you?”
“Good morning, Nigel.  My name is Ken Klug.  You may remember me as…”
“How could I forget you, Mr. Klug?  What can I do for you?”
Expired Road Tax Sticker
“Well, Nigel, there may be a little problem.  It seems that the road tax sticker affixed to the vehicle’s windscreen expired two days ago.”

“No problem at all, Mr. Klug.  Just return the vehicle and we’ll put the new sticker on it.  Where did you pick up the car?”
“Heathrow Airport.“
“Just return the car there, and they will take care of the problem.”
“I’m nowhere near Heathrow, Nigel.  I’m presently headed to Thwaite.  Just FedEx the new sticker to me there, and I’ll put it on.”
“Uhhh… we don’t actually have a sticker for that car because we are not going to re-register it.  So you must return it or the authorities may tow it.  Where are you now?  You can return it to another location.”
“We are in Huddersfield, heading north, through Keighley, Skipton, and then into the Yorkshire Dales, spending tonight in Thwaite.”
“I don’t know where those places are, Mr. Klug.  What are the postal codes?”
“How should I know what the postal codes are?  I’m not a postman.  I can give you the postal code for the hotel in Thwaite at which we are staying.  It’s DL11 6DR.”
“Ah, yes.  I see it.  The closest Hertz location is Middlesbrough.  Just return the car to Middlesbrough, Mr. Klug.  I’ll give you the address.”
“Middlesbrough??!!.  That’s at least 40 miles in the wrong direction.  I’m headed to Thwaite.  Just have somebody deliver another car to me there and take back this one.”
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have anyone in Middlesbrough who can deliver a car to you.  You need to return the car, Mr. Klug, or it will be impounded by the authorities.”
“You mean I’m driving a fugitive car?  Oh no.  That makes me an outlaw – another Dick Turpin.  Maybe if I turn myself in they’ll go easy on me.  I’m just going to the nearest police station right now.”
“No! NO!  Don’t do that, Mr. Klug.  I’ll try to find a closer location.”
“Nigel, the way I see it is that this really isn’t my problem.  This is Hertz’s problem.  Why don’t you come up with a solution and call me back.  In the meantime, I’m heading north.”
Nigel called me back 15 minutes later.  “OK, Mr. Klug.  We’ve solved the problem.  We will have someone from a nearby location deliver a replacement car to you.  But the only car available has a manual transmission.”
“A manual transmission?  Nigel, I’m having enough trouble keeping this car in the left lane.  Now you are expecting me to shift with my left hand?  I think I better turn myself in to the police.”
“NO!  NO!  Wait, we’ll find another solution.”
Lost-A-Lot and Keith
Two hours later, Janet, I and our fugitive car arrived in Thwaite.  While in the pub enjoying refreshments, guess who walked in.  No, not Nigel.  It was Keith, the gamekeeper from the Miller estate who last year drove me from Thwaite to Keld so I wouldn’t have to repeat the three-mile walk I had done the previous day.  We had a nice reunion over a few beers, and he showed me on the map a good walk for Janet and me to do tomorrow.
Later, during dinner, Nigel arrived with a new car.  He had driven all the way from Manchester, approximately 2½ hours away.  He handed me the keys to the replacement car, retrieved the fugitive, and drove off, heading away from the police station.

(c) 2012 Ken Klug


  1. Not sure how to comment on this post. But I'm pretty sure Nigel can't wait for you to leave the UK.

    Another reunion, this time with Keith. Connections from last year are going well.


  2. Great story, Ken. And I have absolutely no doubt that it was true. It reminds me of my own car rental experience. The rental company guaranteed me that their Heathrow depot was open 24 hours, but it was gated closed when I arrived at 6 am for my 9 am flight. I left the car at the gate, hiked then taxi'ed to the terminal - and spent the next two months sorting out the company's mischarges.