At the risk of upsetting someone, I'll choose my next words very carefully.
The colour white for vehicles has become extremely popular, it is literally everywhere.
I'm told one of the reasons its so popular is because , it's a 'safe' colour. Apparently there's a higher percentage ( I don't know the figures) of being seen in a white vehicle and therefore you are less likely to have an accident.
Er... except of course when its snowing?
Another theory is that the colour has gained its popularity through all the white apple laptops? And then there's Big Fat gypsy weddings with the big white range rovers on tele... hmmm ... I'll say no more.
Samantha's theory is the best I think, because she reckons its started all the hand car washes that have popped up all over the country, so owners have to get them washed more often. Thats definitely a great conspiracy theory.
My association has to be with tradesmen. Whenever we need some work doing on the house , there's always a dreaded 'white' van with screwed on ladders on top (probably mine, the ones that went missing) that pulls up in the drive. And then that definitive, dull swooshing noise of the side door being opened, or slammed shut.
Usually there's nothing inside the ply lined cavernous interior, except a length of copper pipe, the ubiquitous Stihl saw, straight of a horror movie and a couple of spanners. Spanners being actual spanners; not the occupants of the vehicle. Although I've always wondered about the real meaning of 'No tools are left in this van overnight'
Well that's enough for now of that subject... because if I don't stop I'll get started on a rant about dodgy builders and cash in hand in white vans and ... and .... and .... please stop! Take a deep breath and calm down.
It is for that reason and the above association that I've resisted the colour 'white' and the word 'van' for so long.
But I have to say resistance is becoming futile. White vans are infinitely practical and I think shortly, I too will be joining the ranks of 'White Van Man'.
We have for years now rented vans from various hire companies. (That's another blog post... or rant altogether.) Hiring vans has its own set of problems, not least whereby the hire company tries to charge you for another renters scratches. Its usually such a hassle getting a van and signing your life away each time with every utility bill, passport, drivers license, national insurance number etc etc .. under the sun. Makes me laugh when you off hire it one week and go back the following week to rehire literally the same van and you have to go through all the paperwork yet again.... and ...and.... stop, stop!! Take another breath and calm down.
Okay so when we don't hire vans , we use my trusty old volvo estate, which in many cases for local shows works just fine . We can get literally everything inside with the seats down and go and set up a show.
I can actually get 52 of our wooden crate displays inside the car.
On the roof with my invaluable Halfords roof rack and rope, I can get two wooden trestle tables and two wire card spinners with the wobbly wheels, a fridge freezer and a cuddly toy... no its not the Generation Game, so the last two items don't count, but it does sound like it with the huge inventory the car manages to carry.
And so this was how I set off last Sunday afternoon to go over the pennines to set up early for Tatton Park RHS flower show.
Now the volvo I should add has been the best car I ever owned . It has got 236k miles on the clock. The distance to the moon from earth is 238,900 so its nearly got there. But a bit like Apollo 13, when approaching the brow of the very steep hill between Tintwhistle and Mottram, I had to announce..... " Houston, we have a problem."
My problem is the automatic transmission which has been on its last legs for a while now. It crunches and bangs in the low gears and is quite unnerving to fellow passengers who are not familiar with what's happening. I'm so used to its temperamental ways, I barely notice it anymore. I was warned by our local garage that it would just stop one day and not go any further.
So back to Sunday. Everything was gong well. I was cruising along Woodhead , not many lorries out with it being the weekend. I got through the lights at Tintwhistle and started the long slow slog up the very steep hill to Mottram.
This is a notoriously bad stretch of road where all the traffic grinds to a halt. So the volvo was doing okay but making clunking and grinding noises in the low gears , but still moving. About 5 cars ahead I noticed a lorry , grrrr... which then managed to stall right before the lights turned to red. The concertina effect behind it managed to make all the cars brake lights go on at once.
The lorry slowly moved again and so did all the cars , except me.
I put my foot down.
The car jerked and banged into gear. It moved slowly towards the light .
I was getting slightly nervous.
The weight of all the crates on board and the spinners on the roof, didn't help.
It inched its way through the lights as they went to amber and was just approaching the brow of the big hill, when it stopped!
I put my foot hard down on the accelerator, nothing happened .
I knocked the auto box into 1st gear; again nothing happened.
The engine was now revving loudly, but the gears would not work.
The temperature gauge shot straight into the red and behind me there was a queue of very angry motorists.
To say I was teetering just about on top of the massive hill, I was remarkably calm.
It was then I noticed four teenagers sitting at a bus stop on the other side of the road . I yelled to them for their assistance to come and help. They eagerly ran to my aid. I asked them to give me a push . They did and I managed to get the car into a higher gear and over the brow of the hill.
I meant to stop and thank them so much for their kindness, but I waved wildly instead and carried on for fear the car would just stop again with a massive queue behind me.
After pulling in to a petrol station further on and letting the engine cool down, I then decided to press on to Tatton park as it was all flat motorway , rather than calling the AA. I managed to get there and back without further incident, but i won't do that again!
The volvo is now sitting in the drive feeling sorry for itself. I'm now on the look out for a vehicle that can carry all the family around and Jack the dog and will double up for moving all our card stock, products and shop displays ... and that is looking very much like being a van.
I have to say they are extremely practical vehicles and you can see why there are so many on the road. I suppose I can always moonlight as a dodgy builder at weekends and practise sucking my teeth... " it's going to cost ya ... tell you what I'll do the whole job for cash.... how does that sound?"
Ermmm .... do they come in any other colours?
Ps. I have not got any related pictures of white vans, except our camper van card above, so here are some flower cards that are predominantly on white. Nothing of course to do with my story / blog !