Day 7.5: A flat tyre in Milan

If you have been following our Facebook page you'll know that we have had our first major set back: a flat tyre. As I write this we are sat in a tyre garage at 10:50pm awaiting a taxi to take us to a hotel. We don't carry a spare tyre as Motability don't provide one, as we can't secure it in the car.

From what we can gather, someone has slashed our tyre as we were coming into Milan centro, possibly when we were waiting in traffic though we have no idea how or when or why, as it's a vertical stab rather than a horizontal slash. We were lucky that we could pull into a Lidl, and called Motability European Breakdown cover for their assistance. Within the hour an Italian rescue team arrived and explained that they did not stock our tyres and therefore they would need to order in to fit the tyre on Monday morning, with Motabilty paying for our hotel and taxi. 

As you can all appreciate, we are devastated that we will miss out on Switzerland and a stay in an Italian castle but so grateful that this isn't a permenant set back and everyone is safe and well. I'll come back for you another day St Moritz, mark my words...

And now we are waiting, waiting waiting. Motability's European cover team have been less than impressive, I have been told 6 times that they are trying to find me a hotel for 2 nights and have finally come up with nothing! You read that right, they cannot find me a hotel. So we are going to our original hotel tonight whenever this taxi arrives and rely on then to find us somewhere tomorrow. I have an awful feeling it's because the cost of hotels in Milan is over their budget and they aren't considering that they're leaving a vulnerable adult without a place to stay.

So we'll continue to wait for this taxi, and hope for a good night sleep. Will update tomorrow guys, love Tori xx

-- An update next morning:

After too many stressful phone calls from European RAC center in Lyon, who contact their Italian department directly, we gave up on any form of hope. In total we waited 6 hours tor them to organise a hotel and taxi of which they could do neither. A disgusting result to leave a vulnerable adult in the street in a foreign city at night. We were so grateful that the garage owner let us stay safely in his shop until we left. He didn't speak a word of English so we had our language barrier, but he reminded me exactly of my lovely Grandad through looks and personality! 

The breakdown service originally said they would tow our van on the back of a truck with us inside to our hotel, but I refused as I know it's illegal in England to travel in the vehicle. I told them it didn't make me feel comfortable doing this, to which they told me "we don't have the same rules as the UK". 

I can't even imagine how much I've spent on international calling, when they said they would call back to confirm the hotel or taxi in 20 minutes, I would be calling them in 35. It was a complete farse. I specificied a large taxi with a hoist several times, but they sent an estate car the first time and a 4x4 the second time, both of course cannot accommodate an electric wheelchair, I was fuming and kept telling them how ridiculous the situation was! I asked for a police escort to walk us safely to our hotel 7km away in the dark at 1am as none of us felt safe to walk alone.

Again, nothing, the breakdown team in Lyon who were liasing with the Italian department kept telling me how difficult it was for them as Italy do not have the same services as the UK- which isn't my problem and they point blank refused an ambulance, but as far as I'm concerned it was an emergency!

We conceded. The little garage man tried hard to explain to us in the strongest Italian accent that not even our translator app could decipher, that he will return the van to us on Monday morning with 2 tyres, one as a spare to carry with us, because the problem is that they don't keep ours in stock otherwise he would fx it straight away. Eventually we decided to take the tow truck to take us to our hotel, organised by our garage friend, as we has poor communication with the RAC breakdown team. They took us to our hotel which we had booked originally as the breakdown team said they couldn't find anything and expected us to sleep there it seemed!

We got to our hotel at 2:30 and I'm happy to report the tow truck man did drive quite slowly on our hair raising journey. This morning the hotel have confirmed to have another night here which I'll insist Motability RAC pay for when we are home as they expected me to sleep on the streets?

From what we have been told by the tow truck and garage owner, the tyre has definitely been stabbed. Piecing together our thoughts, we think we might have an idea what happened: there was a man juggling on a unicycle at the traffic lights who only took change from the front set of cars, we were then followed by a moped for a little while who could have easily overtaken us but chose to tail us in the middle lane whereas normally the whizz past, he was staying very near to the car so much so that my PA Kirsty who was in the back could mouth 'hello!' through the glass. We think he might have stabbed the tyre while we were distracted in cooperation with the juggler, and then followed us to probably steal the contents while we fussed with the tyre! Fortunately for us as continued about 500meters into a Lidl car park where he probably realised there were too many people about.

So we are stranded in Milan for a little longer, missing Switzerland but we will try to enjoy our day the very best that we can.


  1. Chin up! You've got Wonder boyfriend and SuperPA to keep you company.xx