It has been a slow Sunday indeed today. Rising early for breakfast I retreated to bed to finish my sleep awakening only in time for the football. Since then much time has been taken up with attempting to fix the other laptop (again) and downloading slowly things required which then do not work. I have tried several times to buy memory for the beast from 'Crucial' but although I have changed the password they will not let me in! Grrrrr! Not a lot has happened elsewhere I suspect as the cloud overhead has blanketed the world and a dreich day has resulted. Tomorrow is the bank holiday Monday and you bet this cloud will stay hanging around.
This reminds me of the two or three years I spent in a somewhat larger version of this van happily wandering all over London. The drivers I worked with were on the whole a decent lot, not that all of them liked work of course, and when the sun shone I could sit back while he struggled with the traffic and I enjoyed the view. I got to know a great deal of London, bar the north east part which for reasons unclear we were not allowed to deliver in. The furniture vans certainly went there, why not us we did not ask as we preferred the better class areas anyway.
When living in the centre it was always good on a Tuesday or Thursday to find ourselves so far out of town that we could occasionally find potato fields. I must say the one we did drive into was a wrong turning, but I blame the driver! On one occasion while in an aged green van used as an emergency backup we missed a turning of the A3, that is a main duel carriageway this driver carrying billions of vehicles in and out of town. The simple answer was to drive to the next roundabout and return but no, this lad stopped the van and reversed back the way we had come! There was an opening in the road designed for the turning, one we had missed, and eventually we arrived there and turned into it. However the van stuck out a wee bit into the outer of the two lanes, that is the fast lane, and while awaiting a break in the traffic on the other side we heard the approaching screeeeeeeeeech of brakes. This interesting sound continued for what appeared to be an awful long time and eventually a Lancia car, containing a red faced man waving towards us appeared to our left. Maybe he was the man we were delivering to I wondered, but then we moved on.
This driver was generally capable which was more than could be said for the temp one who parked the van in Kensington High Street, one of the busiest of streets, in a bus lane, on a no parking area, and went for lunch. When he returned the van had been removed by the police and an almighty fine was awaiting payment. The lad returned to work the next day but was shown the door before the boss upstairs came down and found him.
One man was a bookmaker and his life was horse racing, or at least the bets to go with this. A good man who was forced by a wife to earn money he stopped off at various places to either borrow money, repay money, lay bets with friends, cash in bets with friends or on Mondays stop of at a bookies (owned by a man called Stallion) for a coffee early on. This bookie by the way informed us of a man with a gun trying to rob him not long after he had opened. It took a wee bit of persuasion to get the robber to remove himself and "come back later when we have taken some money." We came down Balham High Street on our homeward journey one afternoon and stopped at the lights. I glanced around me as we stood in the long line of traffic and suddenly realised the driver had disappeared! I looked all around the van but he had vanished. he had noted a bookmakers shop over the road and ran in to check the results!
One of the best was a Spanish chap called Joe. He and I worked well together for some time especially so as he was friends with a man in a restaurant who provided us with large slices of apple pie and coffee at the start of the day. Well we had a large round up through St John's Wood and Golders Green etc. There we encountered many Jews, mostly women, all neurotic to some degree, some of whom had seven or eight locks on the doors. Many had originated in Austria and Germany and seen sights we would not wish to see and possibly lost relatives shortly after.
On that round another driver and I encountered a man from a competitors shop. He had a better van but never smiled. Day after day it became a thing with us to get a greeting from him, something other drivers never failed to offer, but this one never answered and never smiled. Each time we passed our greetings got louder and more obvious until one day a tired response brought cheers. That was a day of a Jewish feast which meant lots of chocolates, flowers and fruit baskets were being sent round to folks everywhere in the normal Jewish manner. The vans were overloaded and he was on his own, how we greeted him and how we laughed. He must have hated us!
All good things come to an end eventually however.