3 Alberts Blog
Who are the 3 Alberts?
Welcome to the 3 Albert’s on tour blog, we hope you enjoy sharing in our adventure!
Our mission is to complete the Rusty Red Challenge by driving 3500 miles across Europe from Riems to Nice via Switzerland and Italy in a car costing less than £500.
So who exactly are the three Albert’s and why are they braving a week of continental commuting?
Albert 1 is Fishermen’s Mission Senior Superintendent Tim Jenkins from Lowestoft. Tim is the brains behind the adventure. It was his idea to join this madcap scheme and he is also responsible for vehicle maintenance. To prove this he has packed a spanner, a hammer and a roll of gaffer tape. Tim is nicknamed ‘The Spanner’
Albert 2 is Fishermen’s Mission South Coast of England Superintendent Nick O’Neil. Nick has prepared for this trek by having a fishing net shaved onto his head. Nick is fluent in Spainish which will be really useful if we were going anywhere near Spain, which we aren’t. Nick is nicknamed ‘El waffledor’.
Albert 3 is Fisherman’s Mission Fundraising Manager for the East of England Andy Malcolm. Andy is not keen on driving so is the designated navigator for the mission. He has already proved his worth by successfully navigating the other two Albert’s to the coffee bar on the cross channel ferry. Andy also gets to sit in the front of the car giving him full control of sweets and snacks. Andy is nicknamed ‘are we nearly there yet.
So why are our three intrepid Albert’s exchanging the bliss of a summer in Blighty for endless hours of hot dusty tarmac in a cramped motor across Europe?
The answer lies in the title of our trip…3 Albert’s on tour.
Albert is the name given to the Fishermen’ s Mission iconic collection box normally found in fish and chip shops around the UK. On this road trip there are 3 Albert boxes glued firmly to the roof of our beloved banger, but they are doing the same job….raising funds for the Fisherman’s Mission.
A huge thank you to our major sponsors who have made this trip possible, they are travelling with us as their logos adorn our car, but you can also show your support.
Sailing across the channel we passed huge container ships and other large ferries, all passing through the waves in serene fashion. But looking further out to sea one could spot the tiny dots of fishing vessels, plying their trade in this most busy waterway as they have done for hundreds of years. Battling the elements, they looked so tiny in the vastness of the seas surrounding them.
The 3Albert’s on tour are completing their challenge to raise funds for the men and women who work on these fishing boats. For those who have suffered at the hands of the sea, the most hostile environment there is to make a living. You can help us support active and retired fishermen and their families by sponsoring our challenge. Visit www.justgiving.com/3albertsontour
Thanks so much for your support and for dropping by to read of our adventure. Follow our daily blogs here and our virtually live progress on Twitter @3albertsontour and @thefishmish
More updates later!
As an organisation, we receive no government or lottery funding. We look after both current and retired commercial Fishermen and their families. In the last 10 years, 100 fishermen have lost their lives doing the job they love, putting fish on our plates.
Calais to Reims – Day 1
Calais to Reims
Welcome to the second instalment of our 3Albert’s on tour blog.
Vive la France!
We have arrived in France and completed the first leg of our tour. After leaving a good two hours to clear security at Dover we were through in less than 20 minutes and so boarded and earlier ferry. The weather in Calais was most unusual as large wet drops of water fell from the sky. The locals call this phenomenon ‘rain’ and after the recent dry spell in the UK it appears we have exported our traditional summer weather across the chanel.
Thankfully our trusty steed, who we should really introduce properly, it’s a Chrysler Cruiser with 130,000 miles under its belt, has fully functioning windscreen wipers so we were soon heading south. A couple of hours later we stopped for a rest and the first appearance of gaffer tape as ‘The Spanner’ (Tim) sprung into full-on car maintenance mode to fix a piece of the interior that had decided to fall off. All very exciting, the only thing missing was an oily rag and a furrowed brow.
We entered Reims in good time and made our way to our pre-booked accommodation only to find we could not enter it and the French-speaking owner was nowhere to be found or contacted! With stiff upper lip and true British resolve, we were reduced to questioning any passers by to see if they were our reluctant host. After shouting ‘Charlie?’ to numerous rather bemused Frenchmen we realised it was a futile exercise and contacted the booking company. They also had no joy in locating our mysterious French friend and so arranged for us to stay at a nearby hotel.
With all that sorted our next adventure was to make our way into town for a meeting at a local restaurant with our fellow Rusty Rex Rally competitors. A fine bunch of folk gathered and we all sat down to enjoy the football…..ho hum, at least we’re not venturing into Croatia on this trip.
Early start tomorrow for our Day 2 trip down to Switzerland…and just like we said when England took the lead in the football last night, what could possibly go wrong now!?!?!?
The 3 Albert’s
Reims to Interlaken – Day 2
Day 2 dawned bright sunshine as Andy (are we nearly there yet) and Nick (El Waffledor) shared a continental breakfast wondering where Tim (The Spanner) was. He had not made it for the prearranged breakfast meet at 07:00. Was there a problem with the car that only the Spanner could fix? Was he out looking for fishermen to help even though we were hundreds of miles from the sea? Actually, he had simply overslept although blamed his lateness on a roll of gaffer tape blocking his view of the alarm clock.
We set off to retrieve our vehicle and the 3 Albert’s were back on the road again. Our first port of call was to the rally start point at the old formula one race track just outside Reims. Here we met the thirteen other cars in the rally and though the other drivers and crews were all very friendly it was clear each competitor was eyeing up the other to see who had the worst vehicle. Thankfully ours was looking in good health. In fact, all the cars had the correct number of wheels, doors, mirrors etc. Who knows if it will be the case in a few days time!
We were then given a briefing on the days route by the Rusty Rex Rally organisers and handed our first set of challenges. Although this is called a rally it is not a race but is a competition. The rally winners will be decided by who gains the most points from the challenges set every day.
Our challenges for today included taking photos of Riems Cathedral, a shot of the team eating lunch in full fancy dress, finding the cheapest bottle of Champagne and more photos of as many Swiss watch factories as possible.
We were taken on a magical tour of the rural /French countryside. The roads were clogged with dust and Tractors as the corn harvest was being gathered in. At one point Albert himself was inspired to get in touch with nature when he ran off into a field of Sunflowers for a selfie. It was a long but beautiful 5 hour drive to the village of Gray for a lunch stop. Driving on we crossed the border into Switzerland. The border guards were not interested at all in us as they appeared to be stripping one of our fellow Rusty Rex rally cars back to the chasis…maybe they were searching for cheap champagne!
Avoiding all motorways made our journey through Switzerland rather diverting but we were lured on and inspired by the sight of the majestic Alps in the distance. We were soon greeted with the sound of cow bells and the smell of expensive chocolate as our final destination came into view. After 10 hours of driving and very exhausting navigating our journey was complete. We gathered in town with the other competitors and swapped experiences of tunnels, passes, and the cost of champagne…ours was 12.49 euros from Aldi in Riems.
How did we do in our challenges? Find out tomorrow in the next instalment of our blog.
Seeing the French tractors at work today reminded us of a different harvest, the harvest of the sea. Like cheap Champagne fish this winter has been hard to find for our fishermen, particularly on the South Coast of England. This has made life very tough for our fishing families, many of whom are really struggling. Thankfully they know where to come for help in tough times. /your support of this rally and the Fishermen’s Mission means we can always be there for them Thank you.