I'm always a little anxious around March as this is the month when GCT 113's MOT is due. Previously she's passed all her MOTs with flying colours, failing just once under Stagecoach's tenure when in 2009 an imbalanced brake was a culprit. Last year, GCT 113 passed her MOT test without any minors and nothing has presented itself since to suppose there will be a problem.
The other problem with MOT time is sticking to booked appointments when the weather is less likely to play ball than in the summer. Last year, while feeling elated at learning the bus had passed her test for the first time with me as her custodian, she got completely drenched. Could the same happen this year? In a word, yes.
For the day I planned on taking her (12 March) to the mechanic who'd be preparing the bus for her MOT had seen a weather warning issued by the Met Office. This storm would also be given a name by the Irish weathermen. However, there appeared to be a gap of around two hours, before the rearmost flank passed through. The Met Office's weather radar was instrumental in my timings, and at 1500 the rain stopped and the sun even came out.
The bus and I were then blown to the mechanic's yard, where space above his pit had been made. Preparation work was then undertaken during the following days and an evening test was booked at a facility near Bishops Stortford - unchartered territory for the bus!
My list of things that needed checking in addition to the MOT preparation was very straightforward and the chap who'd be undertaking the work seemed to take it all in his stride. I did discover, though, that my spare wheel rim is incompatible with the bus's wheels! If anyone has a spare wheel rim old enough to fit onto a Fleetline, please let me know. Mine came off an ex-Brylaine Leyland Olympian and is seemingly too modern! My historical vehicle breakdown cover (which is taken up by most people who find themselves with a historic vehicle) is only valid for punctures if the vehicle is carrying a spare wheel equipped with a tyre.
Such is the way of the world now that I was able to check the bus's online MOT status to learn whether the test had been passed before I received a call from my mechanic friend.
I collected GCT 113 on 27 March in decent weather. When I collected the bus the speedo had stopped working. I've no idea why. This is quite inconvenient as the speed attained, while not being perfectly accurate since we removed the tachometer and reconnected the speedo in 2017, was a good indication. Fortunately, the bus has an odometer added to the rear offside wheel, which I believe was added by the company Stagecoach used to maintain their vehicles' tyres. So I have now started to use this to chart the mileage driven.