No joy with Drake's. They couldn't get the valve stem oil seals so I ended up getting another head set from Bradford Grinders with the correct seals for a tenner. I dropped it in at Brian's so the head will be ready soon. I'm sure I had a spare timing belt (bought for Becky) but I can't find it anywhere. I'll probably leave it until after the MoT when I can get an air wrench on the crankshaft pulley bolt to loosen it. All the old head gasket has been cleaned off the block and it is now ready to recieve the head. I've also cleaned the mating faces on both the inlet & exhaust manifold. While I was working on the inlet manifold I noticed that the temperature sender had the terminal snapped off. I wonder if I've been getting a wrong reading on the gauge or I might have damaged it when I was removing the head. It certainly had seen better days. The outlet at the bottom looked like it had blocked up so that might have been causing cooling problems. It will be all flushed out when I put the car back together. At least I know the radiator's fine. I bought a set of NGK spark plugs & once the car's running again I'll be changing the engine oil with some cheap stuff and I'll change the oil and filter after a few hundred miles to flush out any crap. I'll be doing the same with the cooling system.
I checked into running a newer car and it is going to be too costly because I'd have to insure it separately. I was quoted just over £1500 for a 1995 Vauxhall Astra 1.4LS by Footman James so my best course of action is to get Blue through the MoT once the car is up and running again. I went to the garage where I had the brake pipe made and the guy reckons that the floorpan damage I sustained least year can be repaired for about £25-£30 and at worst it would be double that so I'll get that done on Brown before it comes off the road. The other work that I know will be required for an MoT I can do myself. I'm not much good with a MIG. The same guy knows a classic friendly place for MoT testing so I'll be looking into that.