A family holiday had seen me temporarily push GCT 113 to the recesses of my mind for a week or so recently, although since I've been back today has been in the forefront of my mind as a thorough clean of the bus would be in order in readiness for GCT 113's first rally in private ownership on Saturday.
But first, she needed her first trip to a local filling station. I'd wanted to visit a particular one, though had concerns about the canopy height, though having contacted the company concerned, they responded by telling me the precise height of said canopy and at 13'-4" GCT 113 would happily fit beneath it without fear of further decapitation!
Stagecoach had sold me the bus with what seemed to be a full tank of fuel and while dipping it first showed the level had hardly changed (despite having driven 90 miles since collection), I was keen to fill GCT 113 up to begin charting her fuel economy. At this point I need to make you aware, dear reader, that I'm the sort of person who takes fuel economy very seriously. I have an app on my phone which charts my car's fuel economy and I have set up a profile for GCT 113.
Sadly, the first fill-up does not offer any clues as to the vehicle's average miles per gallon figure; it is the second fill-up where this will be learned - accurate each and every time the bus is filled up provided it is filled right to the top each time.
£62 lighter, I returned 'home' with GCT 113 waving at a number of bemused local Stagecoach drivers along the way.
Having given GCT 113 a thorough clean (finding no nice surprises, sadly), it was off to see fellow Grimsby bus preservationist Nigel Rhodes in Lincoln. Nigel and his son, Stephen, purchased their first preserved GCT bus by February 1986 from the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Sea Cadet Corp. It was a single-decker Daimler Fleetline/Willowbrook, 35 (GEE 418D), and over a number of years this father-and-son duo managed to restore GCT 35 back into as-new condition, for which the bus subsequently went on to win a number of prizes at various bus rallies.
Nigel acquired GCT 35 with its front and rear number blinds still in situ and kindly offered to remove the rear one for me to photograph. We suspect, but cannot be certain, that the blind is an original to the bus, making it 51 years' old, and also contains a very early display list of Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport, which was formed just 9 years earlier.
For anyone interested, this original display list is as follows: 1 1X 2 2X 3 3A 3C 3F 3X 4 4X 5 6 6X 7 7X 8 8X 9 9X 10 10X 11 12 14 15 15X 16 17 18 45 45C 45X.
Now while I'm a reasonable purist, I do aim to reproduce a set of number blinds that have a more appropriate display list for the age of GCT 113 (which, of course, wouldn't be manufactured for another decade after GCT 35 entered service), so a few of the above numbers will be eradicated and replaced by numbers that did feature in later versions. Thankfully those clever people at McKenna Brothers are able to reproduce an authentic blind from photos of an original and will recreate whatever display I want provided the letter or number is featured on the original.
For now, however, some one-off vinyl displays will be added to GCT 113, which will be evident at Saturday's rally, when GCT 113 will take a long trip south to Bourne, attending the Delaine Heritage Running Day.