From the Peak District we headed down South, we had to pick up Lisa’s youngest daughter Izzy from Heathrow. It took us a lot of research to decide how to do this – there was no way we could get into the pick-up areas as these are now in the multi-storey car parks. The drop-off areas, which we could get the motorhome into, don’t allow dropping off AND they have started issuing big fines based on ANPR – so that was out too. We asked Izzy to catch the underground and travel a couple of stops to Hounslow West as this station has a good sized car park, and as Izzy was arriving at 8pm I figured it would not be too busy. Although the car park is used for a market on Sunday’s it was not listed as having height barriers. Getting in was not difficult having used Google streetview to scope out the entry and there was plenty of space, so we parked up taking up three bays as usual.
With perfect timing Izzy arrived as soon as we parked up, we brought her on board, switched drivers and then headed for the exit. I had never figured that the exit would be the problem! The car park was divided into two section and to get to the exit we had to go through a width restriction which we could just about manage (the restriction had no markings, they were just two steel girders). It took some doing, much to the amusement of the local taxi drivers – who gave no assistance – but we managed to get through SLOWLY. Our mirrors stick out, but the steel girders were quite low and didn’t reach the height of the mirrors. We headed to the exit only to find that the exit itself was also width restricted – again no markings. The girders reached higher this time, over and above the mirrors, I tried to retract the mirrors – but they are fixed. Lisa was already out and attempting to guide me through.
I edged forward inch by inch, had to reverse a couple of times to get my position right. We had about an inch either side of the girders, unfortunatley they had decided to mount a sign on the girder, at the height of the mirror, which reduced the width further still. With a queue building behind us of weary workers wanting to get home, I used brute force and used the mirror to push the sign out of the way and we were through finally and out onto the road able to head back. The sign sprang back so no damage was done and the mirror came away unscathed too.
Lessons learnt? Check the exit of car parks as well as the entrance, find out if the mirrors can be retracted, does the width of our vehicle include the mirrors?
We stopped in Ibstone for the night less than five miles from the house we left in September, it was a cold and clear night and we had a wonderful viewing of a barn owl.