Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Tryin' to MOT a refurb, They said no no no.

Three times the bus has been refused a test now, not failed, but refused a test.

In the first place the guy said there would be a problem with the lack of seat belts, but he suggested using a loop whole that meant if the bus had 8 seats it wouldn't need them. This seemed strange to me, but it was confirmed by a call to VOSA. And has since turned out to be complete rubbish in so far as, if it has 8 seats or 1 seat, it doesn't need seat belts because of the age and weight.

But in the meantime we fitted 7 more seats (I was keen to let the composting toilet count as a seat but at that stage didn't want to take any more risks).

The first guy had just been granted his MOT license and it became clear he didn't really have the confidence in our bus and didn't want to test it in case he got into trouble if it was on the telly.

So we took it to test centre 2 who took one look at it and decided I was a no good gypsy traveller and came up with some BS excuse about their brake tester not being certified for the axle weight of the vehicle. Utter nonsense since they have been doing MOT's on heavy horseboxes and campervans for years.

So finally we decided the only way to get somewhere was to take it to a VOSA testing centre. These are notoriously strict government run centres for lorries, but at least the people there know the rules and won't turn you away if your vehicle looks a bit shoddy.

They refused us too. Reason: Vehicle unclassifiable. It still isn't fully finished inside and they said until it was a bit more tidy they couldn't test it. But they did give me permission to drive it anywhere in the country on that day. Apparently you can dive from Lands End to John O'groats on the day of your test. And they did give me another test date on the following Wednesday so I would have time to fit a permanent kitchen, and take out all those bloody seats.

The kitchen is now in, though I am still waiting for the woodgas stove from the US, so will probably fit a gas stove for the test.

The crazy thing was that the inspector told me it doesn't matter if none of it works, but it has to be permanently fitted. Leaving aside the existential question of how do you define permanence, the rules are so vague they don't even specify what has to be permanently fitted. So I was at the mercy of the discretion of the tester who by that time had entrenched into a position and wasn't going to allow it.

He also suggested that if I wanted to book a test in Folkstone on the day of my departure, I would be perfectly entitled to drive the bus on to the Eurostar and leave the country with it.

Depending on what happens at the retest I am seriously considering this.

In the meantime, the vehicle is parked on the street with no Tax. Where we live it isn't the only car without Tax, but we called the local neighbourhood watch police team to tell them about it and explain it would be gone by Wednesday. They keeled over laughing that we were warning them and said it was the least of their worries.

Today we are taking it to the Graffiti Kings workshop, where they are going to spray it, as long as it doesn't rain and when it goes back to the testing centre it should look a lot more presentable.

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