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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | Repairs again and Slavutich Brewery

Our overnight resting place was the premises of Retal where we enjoyed an excellent night’s sleep. As we emerge blinking into the daylight, an alarming thought slowly dawns on us. Our water tank contains water from the engine cooling system. Dare we take a shower in it? Normally cooling water consists of Freon but it might also be harbouring all sorts of noxious bacteria. We sniff the water but it doesn’t have any unusual smell, so we risk it and take a shower.

When we tell Akim, from Retal, about our concerns, he laughs out loud. It is a closed circuit, he explains, and it has the finest clean water, brought direct to us by tanker from the mineral source of Biola, the bottler. Never have we had such superb water in the tank. No sooner have we solved one problem than another emerges. The windscreen wiper reservoir is empty again and when we investigate, we discover a puddle under the vehicle. The boys at the nearby IVECO Workshop soon find out why. The reservoir has come away from the bracket. No new tank is to be had for miles around, but the mechanic gets out the soldering iron and welds a patch over the leak in the PP reservoir. After half an hour the tank is fixed and more to the point, full again, ready to cope the next time it rains. At the moment that prospect doesn’t look too likely. The mercury is hovering around the 30 degree C mark, and the fine weather looks set to continue for the next few days.

At the next appointment, Erema recommended that we visit Inter-PET, a recycler of PET bottles, but alas, even our recently purchased top-of-the-range satnav fails to locate them, despite also enlisting the help of some locals. Nor can Alexander Gaponenko, director of Interpet, offer any help. He does not speak English. So we postpone the appointment and instead try to get hold of Anna, our contact at Slavutich Brewery, part of the Carlsberg empire for the past 2 years. She is happy to come and pick us up. At the brewery, we meet Maxim Bugrov, head of the filling department, who kindly shows us around all the filling lines. There are 2 returnable glass bottle lines, 2 PET lines and one keg line operating. Almost all the machines come from KHS. An interesting visit.

In the evening we go to a typical Ukrainian restaurant situated on an island in the middle of the river Dnieper. There we taste a typical Ukrainian appetiser. Anastasia, the brewery’s resident linguist, then performs the vital task of programming the satnav. Unlike Anastasia, the satnav speaks only Russian, and if you insist on using Latin script, even important places are omitted, never mind all the roads.