Friday, 10 October 2008


Last weekend my husband borrowed the company van. We had a busy time planned, which included some furniture moving. Eldest son was picking up student son from university, on Friday evening and taking him to his house for the night. The following day student son was accompanying us on our furniture moving mission.

On Saturday morning, my husband and I began by dismantling student son's cabin bed, with incorporated desk area, as we needed to transport it up north, to my sister-in-law's house, so that my husband's 8 year old nephew could make use of it. After lunch, on Saturday, we loaded the bed onto the large, white van, before driving over to eldest son's house to pick up student son. I couldn't ever remember travelling in a large van before. I rather liked being able to see over the hedgerows, as we drove along. We slowly began to experience a change in outlook on life, from our elevated position and vaguely became aware of subtle changes in our attitudes and behaviour. My husband became rather bold at roundabouts, began to tailgate all car drivers adhering to the speed limit, and suddenly developed a new and startling affinity with other large van drivers. By the time we screeched to a halt in front of eldest son's house, he was driving with all the steely determination of a DHL delivery driver, intending to have his feet up on his own coffee table, by 1pm on Christmas Eve and addressing me in a rather colloquial fashion as 'mate'.

Whilst I leapt from the van the second it came to a standstill, my husband slammed the van doors loudly to alert the neighbours to his presence, so that they all dashed to their front windows, in pathetic, but eager anticipation of a surprise delivery. I charged up to eldest son's front door, rang the doorbell twice, banged on the front door repeatedly and shouted through the letterbox, in a rather coarse manner. By the time student son had opened the front door, I had already pushed a card through, which said that we would call again, whenever it was inconvenient and as soon as the fancy took us. We drove off at breakneck speed and were on the outskirts of the village, before student son managed to catch up with us and fling himself, breathlessly, onto the vacant passenger seat beside me. We grinned apologetically, explaining that he had been so slow in opening the door, we thought that they had all gone out.

When we arrived at my sister-in-law's house, we dropped off the bed, and student son, and then drove a mile or so, to my mother-in-law's home, in order to dismantle and collect the double bed she was giving to us and the bookcase she was passing on to eldest son. We then hoisted my mother-in-law up into the front of the van and returned to my sister-in-law's house for a family meal.

On our arrival, we discovered that the food wasn't quite ready, so my husband and son borrowed a ladder and quickly visited a few householders in the next road. They kindly explained to the house owners, that they had noticed a few of their roof tiles had slipped out of place, charging extortionate amounts of money for climbing up onto the roof and doing little more than admiring the view. Meanwhile, I walked into the town centre, pressed some unsuspecting late Saturday afternoon shoppers into buying a few bundles of lucky heather and pestered a few of my sister-in-law's neighbours to buy some clothes pegs, on my return journey.

We enjoyed a very pleasant meal at my sister-in-law's house, before setting off for home in the late evening. We were relieved to fall into bed, a few hours later, after putting up the newly acquired double bed in eldest son's old room, recently commandeered by student son.

The next day, we had all been invited to lunch by eldest son and his girlfriend. Buoyed up by the success of yesterday's shenanigans, we decided to get there early, to give ourselves some time to spend on more money-making ventures. This time, we all donned oversized jackets, with reflective bands and knocked on several people's doors, in the neighbourhood, explaining that we had some left over tarmac, after doing some work nearby and ultimately succeeded in charging several vulnerable people an over-inflated amount, for tarmacking their drives in a cowboy-like fashion.

At the end of the day, we counted up the money we had earned and were overjoyed to discover that we had managed to collect enough together to buy 6 lamb cutlets, from Waitrose, for the following day's main meal. What a treat! Fortunately, I already had a few old potatoes, which weren't too green and didn't have too many shoots, and a few floppy carrots hanging around in the bottom of the 'fridge, so we didn't need to splash out on any extras.

We were so pleased with the results of our enterprises that we decided to keep the van for an extra couple of weeks. Next weekend, we plan to sell a few DVDs at a nearby Sunday market. You might like to come along, if you're interested in buying any poor quality DVDs, with accompanying soundtracks of background whispering and the crackling of popcorn being trodden underfoot.

I have inserted an advert in the local newspaper, similar to the one below:



Mob No: ***********

If you have any suggestions for money-making schemes we could engage in, whilst we still have the use of our anonymous van, I would be glad to hear about them.
Is there a job we could do for you? Our prices are very unreasonable!


Rose said...

Hmmm, do you want legal suggestions only? If you're not picky about legalities, there are any number of ways you might pick up a few extra dollars (oops, pounds).
Just curious how your mother-in-law was "hoisted" into the van--is there a winch on the back??

Maggie May said...

Sounds like you livened up the whole neighbourhood! I love travelling in a van,as long as it isn't in the back! There is such a lot to see over the hedgerows.
As regards using your van........ mmmmmh! Let me think!
I'd like to dump some stuff outside number 10 if you can get the van that far.I have some nicely rotting compost!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Ah Mr and Mrs White Van Man! Have you no shame scamming people too stupid to breathe on their own?! Shame on you woman!

Good laugh!

Suburbia said...

You could fill it with a speed camera and just stick it in a layby! I hear there's loads of money to be made in that sort of thing!!

(great post:) )

Mean Mom said...

rose - Illegal suggestions are much more fun - but only in my imagination, of course! Mother-in-law wasn't so much hoisted, I suppose, as pushed and pulled.

maggie - Yes, I steadfastly refused to travel in the back! Happy to go along with dropping off the compost outside no 10!

mob - It's just something to do with large white vans, isn't it? They are just so appropriate for shady dealings and simply 'turn your head' - and yes, you're right, we have no shame.

suburbia - Brilliant! I hadn't thought of that one! Credit crunch? What credit crunch?

MarmiteToasty said...

LOL@your post....... it is strange how 'vans' change ya...... we I was married I use to drive our HUGE plant nursery van fully loaded and as heavy and big as a tank, GOD HELP anyone else on the road lol..... they also do make ya speak funny lmfao... sometimes all that was missing was a shotgun rack and a dog LOL

But your right, its great to be nosey and see into peoples gardens lol - or are we just nosey old cows :)


Mean Mom said...

marmitetoasty - OK - I'll admit to being nosey and old!!!

Yes! You know what I mean, then! I've noticed that delivery drivers always end every sentence with 'mate', when husband or sons answer the door. Husband and sons do the same.

A large white van offers all sorts of possibilities for shady dealings. There's loads of them. They're not distinctive in any way. No-one can see what's going on in the back.

I don't mean to say that every van driver is a criminal, of course. It was just a bit of fun!

Now, where can I get a shotgun rack and a dog?

Irene said...

Large white vans have a dubious reputation the world over. Whenever there is a crime scene it follows that a large white van was seen leaving the premises just before the crime was discovered. Just think, you would be hidden in anonymity amongst all the other large white van drivers. A bank hoist maybe? The gun would come in handy then. I don't know how much good the dog would do, though. Pick a good day, or rob a convenience store, but don't hurt anybody. I would hate to see you serve time for bodily harm.

Mean Mom said...

Irene - Great minds think alike! I was thinking about a robbery! I could do with a bit of extra cash. I certainly won't be hurting anyone - even in my imagination!

Robin said...

I was thinking kidnapping and ransom might turn quite the profit.

Maybe you could rent the van to visiting Americans as a traveling tourist motel. After reading about your adventures, I might just sign up!

Mean Mom said...

robin - Now, there's an idea! I might go for George Clooney, or Johnny Depp. Any requests? If you came along, we could probably get one each.

Yes, there's always money to be made from unsuspecting tourists, of course. I know the sort of thing you mean. 'If it's Wednesday, this must be Oxford!' I could manage that, I think.

auntiegwen said...

I'm sure if you'd kept the mattress in the back of a van, then parked in a layby you could increase the family income !

Mean Mom said...

auntiegwen - Well, why not? People sell strawberries or flowers on the side of the road, so why shouldn't I sell my body? I might make a few pence, as long as the light's poor and the punters are visually impaired!

Liz said...

The opportubities must be limitless. Ferrying not-yet-legal immigrants beyond the borders must be high on the list. Window-cleaning using newspaper (my mother-in-law let a stranger clean our windows with newspaper when we were out one day. She said she assumed that was the way it was done in Wales.) Actually I'll give you my m-i-l's address. She could do with hoisting up somewhere.

Mean Mom said...

liz - Another good one! Ferrying illegal immigrants must be a good little earner, at the moment!

I have heard of cleaning windows with white vinegar and water and then drying off with newspaper! I've tried it and it works, but you need plenty of energy! I only did it once!

If you need a mother-in-law hoisting, I'm your woman!

Working mum said...

I was going to suggest stealing my old radiators from the side of the house to sell for scrap, but someone's already done that!

Mean Mom said...

Removing your radiators is an excellent way to save money on fuel, in these difficult times. We should all follow your example!

Thanks for the radiators. Sorry we took them before we'd been invited. They earned us a few bob, anyway.

(Did anyone see anything? Was it really a white van?)

merry weather said...

Nothing as invigorating as a bit of self re-invention is there! Driving a van is great fun for me. I tend to go slower than in a car though. Which is probably just as well! Mine is green. I wouldn't be as happy as I am in a white one somehow.

Could you be roadies for student son's possible rock band?

Or maybe, you could load in a tent and provisions and escape, just the two of you, for a break?

Just a thought :)

Mean Mom said...

merry weather - A white van would definitely be unsuitable for you, I think! A green one sounds good!

Student son was in a band with some of his friends, as the drummer, for a while. He seems to have given that idea up now, though, and the drums are dismantled.

A break for the 2 of us, would be nice. We haven't had a holiday this year, as we were short of cash!

farming-frenchstyle said...

Get in touch if you are ever in France - this side of Christmas (illegals not admitted). OH is a "white van driver" he has the farm Berlingo - me? the Merk!

Mean Mom said...

farming frenchstyle - We hadn't even considered taking the van abroad! That would surely open up even more opportunities for making a 'bob or 2'. Got any tips?

We could load up with 'booze and fags' on the return journey, for a start!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Great Post, Mean Mom, and a great use of your funny comments too. M :-)

Mean Mom said...

a mother's place - Thanks!!