Then the prodigal son – at 24 the oldest – announced his impending return to the bosom of the family.
Through gritted teeth, we told him of course it would be lovely to have him back until he gets himself sorted out.
There was only the small matter of a few personal items to be picked up and brought back. Could we possibly ‘pop down’ with a van to collect said items, he asked?
Fleet Van editor Trevor Gelken came to the rescue with the offer of trying out our latest long-term test vehicle, the Renault Master, which he warned us may be slightly bigger than we needed. It’s a 3.0-litre, 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight load-lugger with a massive load volume of 14 cubic metres. The gearchange was a bit stiff but the engine was as powerful as we’d been promised.
It’s a two-and-a-half hour journey from Cambridgeshire to Wiltshire and the Master made light work of it. For a van of this size, it’s surprisingly quiet and it’s quite comfortable, too.
At the end of the journey I was surprised not to have backache – I feared the lack of adjustability on the seatback might have made things uncomfortable but that wasn’t the case at all.
After a hard afternoon’s furniture shifting, the van – which we had expected to be far too big for our needs – was loaded to the gunwales with a huge mattress, a set of gym weights, guitar, enough electronic kit to fill a Curry’s warehouse for Christmas and everything else a self-respecting young man-about-town (or deepest, darket Wiltshire) needs to survive.
We were ready to set off on the trip home when our son asked if we could just drop off the girlfriend in the middle of London ‘on our way back’?
More teeth-gritting: ‘Of course, no problem at all.’ What better way to spend the rest of our Sunday than sitting in traffic in the metropolis?
But what’s this? The sat-nav came into its own with a warning of stationary traffic six miles ahead. Plenty of time to plan a detour, though it was still a marathon four-hour journey home. Then there was the unloading to face, along with making space to store it all...
Model: Renault Master RWD 3.0 dCi 160 MWB
Price (ex-VAT): £26,095
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 21.3
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Load volume: 14 cubic metres
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,825/18%
Expenditure to date: Nil