I searched E-Bay and struck gold with a seller in nearby Lancashire who had loads of them. He is called Ben and he dismantles caravans. Having just dismantled one myself he has my greatest admiration. I agreed to take my trailer to him yesterday so that he could advise and hopefully supply the extra axle.
En route my GPS navigation system failed and I had no road map of deepest Lancashire so I had to rely on memory and local knowledge of others. I stopped at a filling station and uttered one of those lines in life which on reflection you never dreamed would pass your lips.
"Am I on the right road for Oswaldtwistle?"
I eventually found A&A Caravans scrapyard in Church - a suburb of the metropolis of Oswaldtwistle.
Alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Ben's yard did not disappoint. Surrounded by Berlin Wall defences was caravan breakers' heaven. It was a revelation. Corporate headquarters was a caravan of course in which sat three characters straight out of a sitcom. Conversation stopped as I approached. "Is Ben one of you?" I asked.
"Depends if you are after money" replied an elderly gent wearing a straw hat. "If you are then that's Ben. If you're not, it's me".
There followed two hours of entertainment as well as customer service of the highest order. Conversation ranged widely. It turned out the elderly gentleman and I had something in common - we both owned a brick in Guildford's cathedral. How many other people in Oswaldtwistle can claim that?
Here is a small selection of the hundreds of axles from which to choose. Just one would suit my needs and it had to be extracted by a mighty crane. My former profession emerged during conversation upon which a price of £500,000 for an axle was proposed by Ben, dropping to £70 after a full analysis of the scrap metal trade and its non-existent relevance to crime. Did you know that you needed to demolish 50 caravans to get one tonne of aluminium? You do now.
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100 yards into the return journey we crossed the L&L Canal on one of those swing bridges in brilliant sunshine so I parked up, had a Sushi lunch seated on a canal-side bench, at peace with the world.
Possibly the most pleasant and entertaining shopping experience I have ever had.
Thank you Ben. They should make a TV documentary about you, your yard, your colleagues and your (keep you hands in your pockets) guard dog. We are talking Fred Dibnah on steroids territory here.
A & A Caravan Breakers
Tel: 01254 233942