April 28, 2005

The Comeback Queen 

Yes, yes. I know. I’ve been crap. Nay, I’ve been utterly shite with this blog recently. I hope you’ll all forgive me. Holding down two jobs and doing a part time course hasn’t turned out to be very good planning on my part. Still, it keeps me out of trouble I suppose. Oh, and those wankers as Wanadoo aren’t helping… still no internet at Jones Towers.

But I’m back and I’ll do my best to post something here at least twice a week. For now, though, I’m turning it all over to you. Call it a pre-general election practice vote if you like. You, the public, get to decide what I write about next.

Option 1: Ms Jones and her best friend Bob visit Lancome for a lesson in how to apply make-up.

Option 2: Ms Jones and two friends go to the Turkish Baths and get more than they bargained for.

So, you dodgy rabble of readers. What will it be? Votes to the usual comment box.

April 08, 2005

Lost In Transit 

I guess I was quite excited. I’d never driven a transit van before. I love driving, and like to think I’m quite good at it, so I was looking forward to lording it around South East London in a white transit. My turn to intimidate the little guy. My turn to listen to XFM with my arm hanging out of the window. My turn to rule the road.

It was a pleasant Friday morning and I called the gaffer to tell him I’d be round his to collect him soon. I didn’t bother calling Our Kid. I knew he’d be as fast asleep as a bear in hibernation. I’d give him another hour or so.

I entered the van hire place on the Old Kent Road. I was knackered. It seemed as if I’d been doing DIY for years and years, yet it was all starting to come to fruition. Two rooms done and two on their way; I could finally move back to my own place. Only a weekend of painting, shelf building, and general decorating stood in my way. That and a trip or two to the local tip to get rid of the large heap of rubble and off-cuts that hadbeen accumulating in my garden over the last six months.

I entered the office and sat down opposite a sour-faced young woman. She checked my papers, uttered some “tut-tutting” noises and made me sign a seemingly endless number of forms.

“For fifteen pounds extra you can reduce your liability from £500 to £100,” she said.

“Okay. Best to be on the safe side,” I said. After all, I was new to this van-driving game.

She grunted and sent me outside to pick up my vehicle.

I was greeted in the forecourt by a large Polish man who spoke next to no English. It was his job to check the van out for scratches, dents and other damage. He marked each one on a small picture of a van and then we both signed the document.

He handed me the keys and said one word:

“Diesel,” he pointed to the petrol cap and I made a mental note.

I climbed into the cab aware of a small crowd of men milling around the forecourt, some waiting to pick up vans, others dropping them back and some working on their engines. They were all staring at me. A young, blonde woman climbing into a transit. This was going to be good for a laugh.

Determined to prove them wrong, I adjusted my seat and started the engine. So far so good. I put the van into first and eased across towards the exit gate.

From about this point onwards, things started to take a downward turn. I needed to turn left but a large lorry, also owned by the van hire company, was parked just left of the gate. A yellow van parked opposite made the gap a very tight squeeze indeed. In hindsight, I just should probably have just turned right. Sadly, I didn’t.

The man in the yellow van looked on in horror as I began to perform an impossible left turn. He tried in vain to reverse, to give me more space. I could tell I was getting closer and closer to the lorry on my left. Still I persisted... until I heard the lorry’s wing mirror scrape against the side of the van. My throat tightened and I decided to stop and reassess the situation.

Reversing back into the forecourt was clearly the only option and so that’s what I attempted. The lorry’s wing mirror scraped its way back along the van’s side. I was aware of shouting coming from behind me!

“Woah, woah, woah,” yelled one of the blokes in the yard. He came running round to my window. Undeterred, I carried on reversing.

Things were clearly not going as well as I’d expected. In fact they were going so badly that the bloke took it upon himself to put his hand through my window and grab the wheel. Oh the humiliation!

“What the hell are you doing?” he shouted. “Just stop, for Christ's sake!”

And so I did.

“Have I scratched it?” I asked once I’d come to a halt.

“Afraid so love.”

“Sorry!” I whimpered.

“Just try and bring it back in one piece, will you?”

“You mean I can still take it?”

“Yes. You’ll just have to pay for the damage when you bring it back.”


“Oh, and turn right this time. You can get back to the Old Kent Road that way.”

I did as I was told and headed for The Gaffer’s the long way round.

“What’s wrong,” he asked as he opened the front door.

“I crashed the transit van into another of the hire vehicles in front of all the van hire people. It was awful!”

“Oh dear!” he mustered. “I’ll put the kettle on shall I?”

April 05, 2005


A quick visit to let you know that I've not abandoned this old place. I've been so busy putting the finishing touches to my living room and moving back in to my beautiful flat. It looks great so I'm all smiley at the moment. Sadly I don't have a phone line and hence no internet. Furthermore I have approximately 500 boxes and bags to unpack and a building site to clear up.

Once the dust has (literally) settled I'll be back on posting form. So come back and visit soon as I'll be telling you a story about my day out in a transit van round South East London... quality.

Love as always


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