We failed. After 781.8 miles, we pulled into a layby off the A42 a couple of miles from the start of the M42 southbound having decided enough was enough, and reached for the emergency five litres of diesel.

The fuel warning light had come on almost 100 miles earlier, and the range had dropped down to zero some 20 miles before we finally ground to a halt.

So with more than 200 miles still to travel on what the VW Golf BlueMotion had in its fuel lines and any hidden depths of its fuel tank – the heavens being still well and truly open – and the prospect of stopping on a sodden motorway ahead, we decided the safest thing to do was to fill up in the relative safety of a layby.

Or we bottled it, in other words. Bottled it with a deeply impressive average economy figure (according to the trip) of 82.6mpg, achieved in 15 hours 47minutes at an average speed of 50mph. 

Now for the excuses. It was wet: very, very wet. And it was very, very wet for almost the entire trip, save for about 20 minutes of sunshine yesterday going past Liverpool. Strong winds were another issue, especially heading south today. We saw an economy figure as high as 85.9mpg yesterday, but it dropped to 82.6mpg today.