Finding Traction

Things have been moving slowly over the past year. Various obstacles cropped up or just increased in scale, causing delays and grief. 

A little progress was made as Frank the Tank, the classic Series 3 Land Rover got his engine back in and lives again. This is a good thing as Frank will be driven by Chris as the cat transporter.

 Meanwhile I’ll be in Rosie, an old Nissan Navara, with the back kitted out for the dogs. The ferries won’t allow dogs and cats in the same car, so both trucks are now arks. 

More developments come in the form of council planning permission. Yes, due to the weird rules where we live we can’t have a cargo container or lorry parked in the back garden. This means we have had to rethink the transportation needed to move our belongings. We really wanted a cargo container in the back garden so we could pack it up and then decorate the house as and when rooms were emptied. As it is, we now need a storage depot to put our stuff in to allow the house decorating to be done, which has narrowed down our shipping options to either a shipping company with a big removals truck, or a shipping company that can take a cargo container.

Ideally a cargo container will be used because it can then be unloaded at our new home in our own time. A removal truck would give limited time to sort ourselves out. The container could then become a shed or workshop etc.

Costings are underway but might have some tweaks due to the impending and ever increasing likelihood of Britain leaving the EU. A crazy idea, but not one I’m about to go into in this blog. 

The Brexit vote does mean things could mess up badly for the move, although we can still put certain plans in action whilst waiting until October for parliaments final decision. Maybe they’d even have formulated a plan by then…

Truck Law and Old Dogs

One consideration – and a major on at that – is the road use law for Sweden in regards to old vehicles.

The environmental laws are very tight & restrictive for commercial vehicles & large trucks, so I am looking into that at the moment.

Tax on the other hand is looking good. Vehicles over 30 years old do not require road tax, so our 1977 Series 3 88″ petrol Land Rover is tax exempt.

If we go for the Bedford MJ, that would also be tax exempt – but might be restricted as to where it can travel. I am waiting for some answers from the Swedish transport department on that.

Meanwhile, after a ring gear failure, ‘Frank’ the Landy is undergoing surgery, and at the same time will be serviced & modified to deal with Swedish roads & weather better.


Vehicle Options: Bedford MT


Another bigger variation of the Bedford MJ. This replaced the TM and was the last of the Bedfords (Marshall). Sadly, although it looks to be a very capable truck, there are some drawbacks.

I have some pros and cons listed – and this list will be updated as and when new things are discovered – or if anyone out there has anything that they’d like to add – and I’d really appreciate that help.


  • Simple to operate.
  • 4×4
  • Winch option.
  • Basic kit – Less to go wrong.
  • Tough as old leather. Proven in the battlefield.
  • Bigger version of the MJ – More to love!


  • Can’t find one anywhere…
  • Spares availability is therefore an unknown.
  • Concerns over registering and modifications to make civilian road legal.


Vehicle Options: Bedford TM


A step up from the older Bedford MJ I am looking at. The bigger Bedford TM.

This has the power okay, but it has a big drawback that currently leaves it dead in the water (unless I can get a really cheap one to offset the fuel costs of this 10 mpg beast.

I have some pros and cons listed – and this list will be updated as and when new things are discovered – or if anyone out there has anything that they’d like to add – and I’d really appreciate that help.


  • 10 MPG… Dead in the water idea.



Vehicle Options: Bedford MJ

I’ve always liked the old Bedford trucks. They are hard-working, simple beasts (I guess we have a lot on common).

The older Bedford trucks don’t have the power or strength to do the trip in question (without me worrying all of the time…), but the MJ has that little extra power over the earlier MK and it’s predecessors. They are simple (no electronics) and have a good proven track record in military service.

I have some pros and cons listed – and this list will be updated as and when new things are discovered – or if anyone out there has anything that they’d like to add – and I’d really appreciate that help.


  • Simple to operate.
  • 15 – 20 mpg on a long trip. (The TM only does about 10 mpg…)
  • 4×4
  • Winch option.
  • Currently spares are not a problem.
  • Reasonable price – but rising fast. You could get a good one for £2000 in 2007. Now you are looking at £5-6000.
  • Basic kit – Less to go wrong.
  • Wealth of knowledge on the internet. (e.g: Buyers tips)
  • Tough as old leather. Proven in the battlefield.
  • I’ve always liked them… Yeah, the heart needs to be ignored…


  • Becoming harder to find.
  • Spares availability is finite at present.
  • Concerns over registering and modifications to make civilian road legal.
  • Prices going up.
  • No power steering (can cause fatigue over a long journey).
  • Only a 2 seater (up front).
  • Small cab.
  • Load size.
  • Tricky engine access. No tilt cab.



Vehicle Options: Overview


Please post any comments/suggestions on vehicles on the above link. Thank you.


Getting There. Part 1.

A major part of the move to Sweden is actually getting there with all of our belongings and pets.

The initial idea was for Chris to ferry/drive with Alex & the pets, with some essentials to set up house, and for me to follow a little later with a truck full of the rest of our gear. This is still our number 1 option.

The main ways of getting there are:

  • Sea & road (okay for pets).
  • Air & road (no good for pets).
  • Rail & road (need to explore this one further).
  • For our belongings we could possibly use a shipping company.

The truck would need to be simple, reliable & capable of the 1,500 miles (est) over roads of varying conditions, such as Tarmac &/or gravel. The thought here is an ex-military 4×4.

Top of the list is a Bedford MJ, then a DAF 45 4×4. I like the Bedford, and have heard the DAF has some problems. That being said, the DAFs are still in service, many are available as ex-military & apparently doing a great job in service – although they have various faults. The Bedford is as simple as they get, is no longer in service & is starting to become harder to find/buy. Additionally the Bedford is only a 2 seater, and ideally I want a 3 seater.


Once moved to Sweden, the truck would be used for big shopping trips, removals, ferrying things around, camping trips etc in all conditions that the Arctic town can throw at us. So it has to do the trip & then be a family utility of epic proportions. If it can’t work for us, then it’s not worth it. That alone starts me erring towards the DAF (but my heart wants the Bedford!).

I think the DAF would be the best option for such a long drive, as it would be less fatiguing to drive & it has that much more power & torque so won’t be being pushed so hard.


There are other options with more modern Scania, Man, Iveco, Mercedes, Volvo etc, but with those comes added complexity.

I could just go to eBay & buy a non-4×4 civilian truck, but I am concerned about how tough it would be & whether it could handle the road & weather conditions.

Either way, there is a lot of research to do on choosing the right truck.

For Chris & the pathfinder trip, a Ford Transit type van is required. That’s pretty simple to deal with. They are easy to find & can go on standard car ferries. The truck on the other hand has to go on a commercial RO-RO ship due to its size. They’ll both need the shipping routes sorted though, so that’s another bit of research to carry out.

If we have too much to take on one truck, we may decide to add a second truck, or get a shipping company involved. More research…

I think a sit down, cup of tea & a plate of biscuits is needed to write down all of the options.

Watch this space as they develop…

Floating the idea…

When plans become more solid, I’m thinking of raising funds for ‘Help for Heroes’. The drive in an old army truck from the South of England to the Arctic north of Sweden is not a simple one, and I’m doing this way to get to know the country & have a bit of an adventure during the move – but it occurred to me that in using an old army truck I could also help those who used to drive them, for us, in ‘less idyllic’ locations.

It’s just an idea at the moment, but it feels right.


Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


It’s a thought still to be fleshed out, but a thought with some grit and adventure to it.

Drive to the Arctic Circle from the south of England.

The idea that is forming is to take an old army Bedford MJ 4 ton truck and drive all of our gear to the land beyond the sunset (it’s in the Arctic… think about it). It’s a old truck and I’m not as young as I was, but as Tennyson put it in the :

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world…
…for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset,

If the truck idea is to be used, then the truck cannot simply be called ‘the truck’.  It would be deserving of a much greater name.

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
And there you have it. Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses‘ sums it up and gives the truck it’s moniker.


Ulysses is the Roman translation of Odysseus. It was used by Tennyson for the poem of the same name, and in a twist, it was ‘Odyssey’ that was used by Finnish author Thomas Warburton in his Swedish translation of Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’..