Mervyn the Moped

Mervyn the Moped

Mervyn was a magnificent bronze 50cc moped which I bought for seventy quid from a man in Stretford. He was immediately designated our official company vehicle. They say never go into business with your best mate – so I did and although my partner insisted we didnt need a new company BMW (this was 1986 and all The Grocer’s Daughter’s thrusting young entrepreneurs needed a status symbol to go with their blue champagne and self-help books). But no, the accounts of Spiffing Images Design were managed with an iron yet prudent grip, not seen since rationing in 1945. We turned a small profit each quarter, paid minimal tax thirty years ahead of Amazon and Starbucks. In November 1990 The Grocer’s Daughter was ousted and I honestly believe that the grey accountant, John Major borrowed our economic model when he rode to power. What was it about Mervyn that made him so special? Flash, unreliable and with a healthy thirst despite his modest cc engine, he was more Best or Marsh than Barry or Batty. Moody, temperamental, yet as loyal as a stormtrooper in the desert. When we broke down, I simply didn’t care. One hot summer day in the Pat Cash summer of 1987, I had a business rendezvous near Piccadilly Station and Mervyn decided to have a rest. We trundled off to Cafe Yaqib where a young Osama Bin Laden was rumoured to bake the unleavened naan bread for a magnificent fifty pence kebab roll. No fuss as the three of us walked the three miles home to the Moss in warm sunshine, as happy as sandboys. Yet it was the smell of Merv that I remember most. Giddy, my girlfriend at the time would jump on the back and be whisked down Whitworth Street. I always pulled up at the nearby petrol station to refuel and the aroma of gasoline was glorious. I made a big deal of these pit stops before whisking Giddy into her morning lecture at the Uni, the smell of petrol perforating my mind. However the troublesome back suspension continued to hamper our relationship. One afternoon without any prior thought or strategy, I simply marched Mervyn without ceremony into the desolate and cavernous bombsite that was Hulme and dumped him. Mistakenly, I thought I could claim some insurance money. I never did and my disloyalty to my fellow traveller was to dog me for many years to come. Fast forward some eight years to a wonderful summer garden party in Colliers Wood, south London. I was about to get off with a stunning girl called Julie and whisk her back up the High Street to my pad in Tooting when Mervyn the Moped’s tale of woe was recounted by a misguided third party. Julie, having checked the facts that I had indeed dumped my beloved vehicle, walked off in disgust. A salutary lesson for us all.

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