Friday, 31 March 2006

Clutch control

I took the van down to the East Greenwich Market on Saturday. As I swung round Hyde Park Corner, over the Vauxhall Bridge and through the sunny streets of Peckham spring was clearly in the air. I counted three ice cream vans heading out that morning. Each shaking off their winter coats and rousing themselves for soft scoop glory.

After my summer 'market research' experiences I have been privy to the world of Mr Whippy and his sharp tongue, so it is always interesting to clock the faces of my fellow mobilers. Apart from a couple of really sorted looking guys up in Harlesden, the comradery seems a bit bleak. On this morning each ice cream man bore a kind of grim-faced determination to shift some cones and staunchly refused any 'wotcha's with me.

I sallied forth to Greenwich where the market had been set up in a kind of Blue Peter-style garden - all stiles and urban scrubland. Eddie the juice man volunteered to manouvre the van into my spot - essentially some bracken covered earth under a tree - I think he thought we'd be there all day if I did it. I'm actually alright at parking the van, but you know...sometimes there are all these blokes around and they kind of want to lend a hand and it was a bit of an awkward spot...

Before long the place was teeming with locals come to check out the new market. It was great! I felt like I was involved in a village fete. The bunting and the rolling for a pig game weren't there but it was as close as we were going to get so near to the Blackwall Tunnel.

I spent most of today sitting in traffic, listening to old tapes and trying to be as alert a driver as possible after my shock earlier in the week. On Monday I was involved in this really full-on road accident. I was on my bike - wearing my helmet for once - when a very hairy situation occured, rendering the two other people flat on their backs on the road, unconscious and me fine. It was the strangest thing. All kind of tripped-out and slow seeming.

Anyway, the point is, Jimmy needs a good run. He can't be dealing with all this stopping and starting and I'm sure I'm getting a thick left leg from the endless clutch-control. Next week we're heading to Manchester to do a job for Topshop so that should do it. Can't wait to get on the open road!

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