Tuesday, 7 May 2019
White van etiquette
We bought a van - oh, it must have been about 12 or 13 years ago now. The idea was to go camping in it and also use it for Pip's tools, as he was doing maintenance and odd jobs for a friend of ours who had a business letting houses to students. Oh, and to collect wood for our woodturner.
Well, we did go camping around three or four times but as it's not a designated camper van, when we wanted to go to bed we had to remove everything from the back, put it all in the front (which meant piling things up all over the place) and in the morning reversing the process which, as Pip wasn't feeling too good by then, was a pain. So that was the end of the camping. But it remained good for everything else and, as I have a very long back, I find it much more comfortable for driving.
When Pip died, my dear Mum said (hopefully), "So you'll want to get a car then?" to which I replied, "Oh no, I like the van." Which indeed I do. Plus, of course, it was and is a link with Pip.
Someone else, on first meeting me, said, "Oh, you could get a nippy mini or something more suited to you as a journalist." I said again, "Oh no," thinking, well you don't have much idea of me at all... Those of you who do know me, realise that image is not something I am interested in. I remember delivering something to Cornwall Today, in the days when I did a lot of work for them. Editor Kirstie Newton looked out at Pip, in the driver's seat, and said, "It's very.... industrial" which I took as a compliment. After all, it was once a South West Water van.
After Pip died I was still very nervous about driving but there was no one to drive me to interviews or whatever, so basically I had to do it. Which was terrifying, but I managed and also in a van I feel safer as I'm higher up, with better visibility. So I have the van to thank for keeping me safe.
Everyone always moans about White Van Man, but as a White Van Woman, I have become aware of White Van Etiquette. We give way to each other at cross roads and roundabouts. We smile at each other (especially when they realise it's a woman driving a white van) and acknowledge each other, so altogether I feel much happier as well as safer driving my white van.
So next time you see a white van, check if it has a blue stripe down one side (only). If it does, and it's an old van it could well be me. In which case I will smile and wave, probably let you go first. I just hope my dear van will continue to look after me for a few more years yet.