Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ready, Eddie.

This is probably not the most appropriate way to tell my mum, but Gareth and I have had our first baby.

He’s called Eddie and we keep him in the car park.

The truth is, I don’t have a maternal bone in my body so our new white van, Eddie, is as close as we will probably come to parenthood. We’re going to be very good parents to Eddie (so called because we bought him in Edinburgh). I’ve driven him twice and I haven’t even crashed yet or anything.

Eddie has changed all our plans for the summer. Gone is the idea that festivals involve a badly pitched tent, a bad night’s sleep and a phone with no battery. Eddie has a double bed, sound proofed walls and two – that’s right, count them – two plug sockets.

He also comes with a fridge, a shower, an awning, for when we have friends over, and a hob. For noodles.

Various friends and family have acquired a van over recent years and Gareth and I have only been able to marvel the home-on-wheels from afar. Yearn as we did to join Team Campervan, we could neither afford it or justify it. Not when we already had two cars.

But then, my long serving, long suffering runner gave up the ghost and it seemed like the right time to sell it to the very dodgy and pushy webuyanycar.com (they really do) and make way for Eddie of Edinburgh.

Gareth flew to Edinburgh to bring home the van and to start with, I was too scared to drive the beast. He is, compared to my little Peugeot, a mega bus. But after a few days I decided to give it a go and apart from one near miss where I nearly scraped a Porsche parked ridiculously close to where I wanted to go, we arrived at our destination in tact.

And for that, I don’t thank my driving instructor. I thank my mum. Most women can’t drive, it’s a cliché born of truth. But my mum can. And when I was a teenager, she didn’t want her name (or car) dragged through the mud, so she made sure I knew my way around a vehicle.

I have fond memories of going to Sainsbury’s car park on a Sunday, back in the days when it was closed on a Sunday, and Mum painstakingly teaching me the width of the car by manoeuvring traffic cones until I didn’t crash into them anymore. It was a lesson my driving instructor never bothered with, but has served me well every since.

It has also paved the way for many an incredulous: ‘’You could get a bus through there!’ while I wait impatiently for the car in front to not get through a space clearly big enough.

Some of our friends have bought VW campervans, the iconic originals. The ones in which you expect to find hippies making love not war. That’s not our style. We wanted a white van, the type where tattooed men drape one brown arm out of the window. The type you’d expect to find some tools inside (that’s us!) I passed an identical van in the street the other day and they’d even added the luxury furnishing of a copy of The Sun to their dashboard. Bloody good idea. Gives an aura of ‘don’t break into this van mate, there’s a pit bull in the back.’ Ah, the Feng Shui of the Sun newspaper. Maybe I’ll get me some furry dice while I’m at it.


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