Just because it doesn’t work out, doesn’t mean that you should give up. When one door closes, it’s time for another to open.

There’s a line from a childhood favourite film of mine, Lilo and Stitch, and it’s always seemed to resonate with me from an early age. It goes something along the tune of  “Sometimes you try your hardest, but things don’t work out the way you want them to.
Sometimes things have to change, and maybe sometimes they’re for the better.” and from adolescence to adulthood it’s a mantra that’s always stuck in my head.

Perhaps it’s helped form me into who I am today, someone who has a tendency to not give up on things, and stick with them to the very end, sometimes not always for the better. But, it’s meant that through all of life’s trials and tribulations, whatever curve balls get thrown at me, I’ve been able to see that hey, it’s going to be shit for a while, but it’ll be sorted.

“I Sat by the Ocean, and Drank a Potion Baby…”

Everything gets sorted eventually. Broken cars, broken people, broken situations, it’ll all get sorted.

And likely, that’s why when stranded on a motorway in the middle of Wales a long way from home thanks to brand new car parts failing, I didn’t flip the lid and let it get to me. I didn’t give up on the car and just leave it at the side of the road, because my cars are my Ohana. And Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten.

This was just a new door opening.

“Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five Breakdowns”

So, a bit of background. It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, as a lot’s been going on behind the scenes. But roughly two weeks ago, I was told at a moment’s notice that I would be embarking on a road trip to England, and we were going to take my old Golf. Not the two new cars that me and Conor have, because no, that would be the sensible thing to do. That wouldn’t be an adventure, and we wanted something to write home about.

Well, write on here about.

As with anyone about to embark on a mega road trip though, I thought it would be best to give the car the once over before the trip. With about a week to go, I took stock on what the car needed. It wasn’t much, but it was major. Two wheel bearings, a timing belt, a new clutch, and a boost leak issue. Plus then, a quick look over everything.

I really couldn’t be arsed doing it all, but it needed done, so onwards I marched.

After frantically getting it all done with literally about 3 hours to spare before we departed, me and Conor were ready to embark on the road trip to end all road trips. Well, more like the road trip to end all Mk2 Golf engines.

We explored an insane amount on that trip, seeing some amazing sights in the south of England. I’d never driven in England before, so the idea was originally daunting, but frankly it’s no different from driving over here. Just a bit shittier traffic, that’s all.

The highlight of the trip for me, the last leg of the journey, and coincidentally the last destination that Debbie actually made it to, was Solsbury Hill.


Famous for the Peter Gabriel song named after it, it’s a song about leaving the past behind you and looking to your future, and starting anew. It’s a song that means a lot to me, especially lately, so we decided that it would be a nice end to the journey. What is literally just a hill overlooking the city of Bath, to those who know it’s a lot more significant than that.

After taking some time in the beautiful sunshine to reflect on everything that’s happened over the last few months, we decided to move on and head for the boat. Sadly, only two out of three of us wanted to make that trip to the boat. That one that didn’t just happened to be the Golf.

Only 60 miles from the boat on a Welsh motorway, the brand new timing belt that we had fitted to the car before the trip decided it didn’t want to be a part of the car anymore, and left us stranded at the side of the road. Thank God for the AA getting us home, or we’d still be stuck in Wales right now.

We were filled with so much optimism at the start of the trip.

Grab your things, I’m comin’ to take you home.

Well, we now have Debbie home, so what’s in store? Thankfully, people are amazing.

Not 5 minutes after we had the catastrophic breakdown, I had a message from a member of the All Ireland Mk2 Owner’s Club saying he had a full TDI conversion sitting there, and I could just come and take it. I was absolutely gobsmacked, and needless to say I jumped at the opportunity.

Ostkuste, the show in Wicklow we’re attending, is less than a week away. Less than a week to do a full engine conversion, service, and do some test driving before an 8 hour all round road trip? Bring it on.

If there’s anything to take from this article, it’s to not let anything halt your progress. No matter how bad things can get, no matter what life throws at you, don’t give up.

It’ll all be grand in the end.


Published by Tomo Pattison

Car Enthusiast, Drummer, Photographer. I also write crap about cars and do some racing.

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