Tuesday, 3 May 2011

No Pressure: 14 Working Days

So far in our history together, 270 KTA and I have not been good at meeting deadlines.

If we had been, we'd have been on the road over a year ago.

Instead I've chosen to do the decent thing, and forego the immediate pleasure of attending rallies in the hope of making up for many years of lost maintenance in the care of others. And slowly, we're getting there.

But every preservationist knows it's good to have a deadline... so long as it's months or years away. What a shame the annual Royal Blue run, a recreation of a route from one of the country's most notorious coach operators, looms large on June 17th.

Last year's run saw twelve or so coaches complete the treck from Stevenage to Penzance and back to Exeter, a spectacular adventure when you consider that most were between fifty and sixty years old.

This year promises an equally adventurous treck from Oxford to Newquay and back, all using the old roads rather than the motorways and by-passes which have overtaken them.

270 KTA ran as a duplicate on many Royal Blue services during her time as a touring coach between 1962 and 1968, and since then, frankly, she's missed out on enough fun.

So I'm determined we'll be there, at least for part of the run.

As well as weekends between then and now, I have a week's holiday to dedicate to the cause, making some fourteen days of solid toil. Throw in the odd evening, and I reckon we could be roadworthy in time, if far from concourse d'elegance.

(By the way, the deadline by which 270 KTA must both perform AND look nice comes next year, when we have its 50th Birthday to celebrate - more on which soon.)

Primary jobs are to finish the front brakes, sort out the fuel pump which is currently overfuelling and causing clouds of black smoke on hills, refit the new exhauster which is leaking oil (one step forward, etc...), and tighten up the gear linkage, currently like the proverbial stick in treacle.

All important if we're going to be out in this...

There are, of course, a million other jobs - the 'orrible taped up steering wheel, the lack of power to the power-operated door, the driver's seat which is more foam than leather... but all this can wait. Until July.

Last weekend saw progress on the brakes, which I'll be reassembling on my next visit. I've also had various leads on some correct-style wheels thanks to an advert in Old Glory magazine, which attracted three calls within 24 hours of going to press (quite funny, and worth a blog post in its own right - watch this space).

We've everything in our favour but time. I can't stay around here chatting...

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