Preparations for winter have begun here at our finca in rural Mallorca. Yes, The Boss was once a Boy Scout – and just as well, as I’d probably leave these things until the first northerly blasts of wind were battering our country home.
Most of the year our trailer sits in our field, acting as a good look-out perch for one or more of our cats but, in winter, it’s pressed into service to carry logs back from our supplier.
Before we can head onto public roads, we have to take the trailer for its ITV. In the UK, ITV is a television station (for which I worked as a regional continuity announcer for several years). Here, ITV stands for Inspección Técnica de Vehículos – the nearest thing to the British MOT. Even though a trailer doesn’t have an engine, it still has to go through this periodic inspection at an official ITV centre – of which there are three on the island: in Palma, Inca, and Manacor.
Whatever type of vehicle (or trailer) it is, the process takes a bit of time. When we first moved to Mallorca, booking an appointment for this obligatory test meant turning up at the nearest ITV centre and standing in line with lots of other bored-looking people. Not my favourite activity, to be honest, but today at least it’s possible to do this part online.
Unlike the MOT in the UK, you don’t just leave your vehicle in the hands of some boiler-suited mechanics, with fingers crossed that it’ll pass the inspection and not require a major injection of cash. Here in Spain, you’re with the vehicle every step of the way, able to see what’s involved, as you drive through a building open at both ends and equipped to test the different functions of your vehicle.
The last stage involves driving your vehicle over an inspection pit, where a clipboard-wielding inspector (who clearly doesn’t suffer from claustrophobia) takes a good hard look at your undercarriage. Or at least your vehicle’s…
Having driven your vehicle over this open pit (praying you don’t somehow misjudge your steering and squash said inspector), you land on some movable metal plates that shake the vehicle (and those inside it). Presumably it’s to test the suspension – or see if anything drops off. Perhaps the inspector should be wearing a hard hat? I find it a disconcerting experience and wouldn’t recommend going through this after a decent-sized meal if you suffer even remotely from motion sickness.
Privately owned vehicles between four and 10 years old have to go through this ITV process every two years. Bizarrely – given that it has no engine – a trailer has to be tested every six months.
Meanwhile, although Mallorca is currently bathed in warm October sunshine during the day, we’re off on a log-buying mission. As Robert Baden-Powell used to say: “Be prepared.”
©Jan Edwards 2017