Thankfully, the dogs themselves rescued us. Well, they at least got us talking to the wonderful lady from Manchester who just so happened to live in the village we'd broken down in and offered us a place to stay while our motorhome was being repaired...dogs and all. She even drove an hour and a half round trip to collect us from the garage after our entire life was put on the back of a truck and we were told that it would be at least 3 days for parts! It really couldn't have worked out much better.
Also, although we broke down in the middle of a national holiday, our breakdown service via Safeguard Insurance was wonderfully helpful and responsive, agreeing to let us stay where we were (in the shade on a motorhome aire) until the garage was open and we had an appointment.
I'm not sure I'd want to repeat the experience of our home whistling along a narrow road, missing oncoming trucks by seeming millimetres while our tow truck driver chatted on his phone....but we made it and it all worked out. One new clutch and a lot of Google Translate assisted conversations later and we're back on the road.
Thank you to everyone who helped us. We couldn't have dreamed of more. Even our breakdown enforced stay in Chiavenna turned out to be lovely, with plenty of hikes, cycles and walks to keep us all busy. A wonderful example of what we need being provided right when we needed it, something that no amount of worrying and planning could have replicated.