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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen (and Ladies),

It has been three years plus since I last wrote about the sagas of my 1971 Commer Ice Cream Van. Long term readers may remember some of the issues, and my solutions.

The reason for the long gap between my posts on the subject, is that I have, frankly, been in jail. Six years in HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow. Good Behaviour etc and here I am again. Some bastard reported me for selling a wee bit of Ganja along with the ciggies and the ice creams and the crisps and tizer, etc. It was a bloody rozzer and his mate who wanted 20 dunhill, wink wink, and paid with a fifty quid note. So I fell for it and gave him one of the packets with a little slit in the side and a small extra gift included. My denials of any knowledge of this fell on the judge's deaf ears, since I apparently didn't give any change from the fifty quid note, which was subsequently found not in the cash register but tucked into my special wee pocket in my jocks. Ah well, what can one do; I did the crime and I did the time. All I can say is I discovered that my business had not been very good compared to that which my cell-mate in Barlinnie prison did on the inside.

So, out I came, headed back to Bradford with my special HMP issue rail ticket, and off to the lockup to check out the Commer Van. (Well, following a brief visit to Mabel Althorp, who's husband, I was delighted to find, was out at work). The Van was not really in the best of health. The police had left it in a hellish mess after searching it, and had not been good enough to trickle charge the battery while I was away. Also, when I opened the Mr. Whippy refrigeration unit, it stank like a four year old dead badger. (A badger that had been dead for four years, not a four year old badger that had just recently deceased).

I spent a long time cleaning the whole van, and trying to salvage anything saleable from the stock that was left. Luckily, the police had failed to find two ounces of ganj sellotaped inside the cone dispening unit. Result. Next, it was on to the mechanics of the van. Goodness me, one of the wiper blades was stuck solidly to the windscreen of the van, and I had to replace it with the spare one I knew would fit that I had stol...er...salvaged from a Morris Marina in 1985. Exchanged my dud battery with one from a Renault 18 in the neighbouring lock up with a faulty padlock, and after a couple of dozen turns, it was running fine. Well, it was running fine on three cylinders, but that was enough to get me down to the petrol station for a couple of gallons of five star so that I could continue with the necessary repairs. It sounded quite loud, and on investigation, I discovered that the rear silencer had completely disappeared, leaving lots of lumps of gun gum on the lock up floor. This thing was going to cost me money to get it back on the road. Luckily, I got a "rehabilitation grant" and fifty quid for the two ounces of dried up ganja, so I had six hundred quid to get back in business.

I figured I had to eat, so, killing two birds with one stone, I purchased a dozen cans of heinz cream of tomato soup, and a dozen cans of spaghetti, a BIG tin of exhaust repair putty and a cheap riveter with rivets from poundland, and began manufacturing a rear silencer. Three days later and the motor sounded almost good enough to pass an MOT test. Fortunately, due frankly to help from some of my new friends on the inside, I was able to procure an MOT for the van for twenty quid without the need for an actual inspection, and got a good no deposit deal on classic insurance from Swinton. Hopefully, I will have made good sales before the first installment is due. Things are more complicated than they used to be. In years gone by, I was able to avoid the need for a tax disc by slipping the label from a bottle of guiness in there, and a blind man passing on a galloping horse would never have noticed. Now tax discs are much more complicated looking, so I did a naughty and stole one from a Mini Metro outside Morrisons while the old lady owner was picking up her groceries I had accidentaly scattered all over the car park when I passed her by. And so, after many more carefully planned and executed repairs, and my last two hundred quid spent on stock, I was off on the road to my newly decided route quite near Mabel Althorp's house. Of course, nothing goes as smoothly as one would want, and when I first went to switch on my "Magic Roundabout" chime, all that came out was a sound like Worzel Grummidge farting after a heavy night on the Guiness. Luckily, I always keep a hand bell in my spare parts cupboard for such an eventuality, and I was off.

Business was brisk on the first night, happily, and I was off to see Mr. Patel at the Cash and Carry again the following morning to re-stock. And that's my story more or less up to date, aside from my brush with Special Branch, but I'll go into that with my next "running report" if that's okay?

Till then, TTFN.

Arthur.
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to say, I'm doing the rounds in Todmorden on Sunday afternoons if anyone's interested? Also thinking of Hebden Bridge area early in the week?
 

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Little Megger
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4,705 Posts
nice story, Arthur, keep us posted :)
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will Nick, I will! Unfortunately, one of my tyres parted company with a rim today, so I am busy touring the scrapyards looking for a suitable shoe to replace it. Balancing etc. isn't worth it, since the van rarely does more than 20mph anyway. Cleaned out a dead pidgeon from the guts of my chime machine...not a modern digital type...and the magic roundabout chime is once again loud and clear.

All the best.
 

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141 Posts
its 4 in the mornin here down in sa and i couldnt stop cracking myself up after readin this... just watch out for that hammer fallin from the sky bra. I think u'l fit in perfectly down here in SA.
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Years Ago, I lived for a while in the posh northern suburbs of Jo'burg, Sandton. I didn't fit in well there at all Leon. I drove a Nissan Exa, and drank Lion. But if you didn't drive an RSA and drink Castle there, you were rubber ducked.

By the way, what's a sky bra?
 

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Are cougars not black?
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2,504 Posts
Heh heh heh! Love the bit about the improvised tax disc.......reminds me of my brother years ago driving round in a beaten up Datsun 120Y (remember them?!) with a pay and display car park ticket in the disc holder!!!! Silly sod got away with it too, no ANPR on Bill cars back then!!!!!!
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Nick; it was a long time behind bars, and I missed Mabel's egg and cress sandwiches! The old van has deteriorated though; I'm really gonna have to get some money together to get her back up to scratch. She has drum brakes all round, and she pulls to one side whenever you brake. The trouble is, it's not always the same side she pulls to, so you can't prepare for it. Makes for fun driving though. Also, I'm looking forward to having the drivers door lock repaired, so the door doesn't fly open every time I exit a roundabout at more than 20mph.
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah Cougar, the whole anpr thing is just a damned nuisance. I am trying hard to find a similar aged classic ice cream van which is in use somewhere, so that I can duplicate the number plates from that. Hopefully one of my bent mates can then come up with a name and address for that rego, and bob will be my uncle. Unless you have any better suggestions?
 

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Love my cheap to run Mondy's
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658 Posts
Ah well...the old commer you know...it's supposed to run on five star....these days I have to add that lead substitute you buy...or more usually, just put up with the pinking!

:)
 
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