|Jimmy's Green Van from 'An Act of Kindness' (Peter Hoffmann)|
Another of the great characters who visited and sold their wares at The Stair was Jimmy's Green Van. It was a mobile grocery van which had been converted from an old single decker bus, with its side windows done away with, replaced with panels and painted green. It visited Oxgangs at least twice a week. Jimmy's Green Van was an institution.
According to local gossip it was alleged that Jimmy would visit one of the mothers at 4 Oxgangs Avenue, who shall remain nameless, for 'a cup of tea...!'. When I was a very wee boy I must have been aware that Jimmy's Green Van had been left temporarily vacated.
Inside, the van was a colourful Aladdin's Cave-a positive cornucopia of delight, particularly the confectionery section.
|Photograph by George Field.|
Anyway, whilst Jimmy was away servicing one of his customer's, on one occasion, I nipped over the counter at the back of the old van and helped myself to a box of Cadbury's chocolate bars which I thereafter distributed to all the kids in The Stair. Neither the kids nor Jimmy were accustomed to such largesse.
Well, poor Jimmy didn't know whether he was coming or going. Wringing his hands he informed my mother, but instead of getting some expected sympathy, I believe he instead got very short shrift, along the lines of, 'well what do you expect, leaving your van open and all these chocolate bars on display tempting a wee lad'.
And the answer to the question? Well, I guess you could say it was both a relationship and a transaction!
Look out for Jimmy's Revenge! in a future episode.