Our heroes hit a brick wall - in the shape of the General Election.
For those of you who don't work for the British Government, "Purdah" is the period from when an election is announced until it actually happens. During this time, civil servants and other government workers can't do anything that could be interpreted as "political". So all kinds of things get postponed or shut down. Often at the whim of managers who are scared of being caught making a mistake.
Anyways. It's called "Purdah". It has definite hints of Empire about it. Some civil servant at some time in the past must have thought it was the height of wit.
It all reminds me of a time (nearly 20 years ago now) I was on a bus heading into Solihull. There were two black guys sat behind me, one of them obviously on his way to start a new job.
"What's Solihull like," he asked his friend.
"It's a bit ... off the beaten track," replied the other.
Just then we drove past the pub called "The Old Colonial" in Damsonwood.
"See what I mean," he added.
I've come to think that large chunks of the government machine are just as "off the beaten track".