End of the Tour

The end has come to our Summer Tour!

Once again, I am so unbelievably proud of my little 3-man team.

We’ve had some ups and down over the course of the last fortnight, but I can safely say that this has been the best tour we’ve had so far. We’ve smashed last year’s effort out of the park by visiting over twice as many events, including a few Farmers Markets and even a Golden Anniversary Party!

During the hours of driving and hectic set up operations, I tried my best to take notes of special moments to write about upon our return, but my memory’s not as it used to be (we’ll have to get Jeff to write one of these next time!).

So without further ado, I present to you the four best moments of 2016’s Meatsmobile Tour:

The International Food Event

Food-festival1Our third food festival on the tour, this one was by far the biggest and busiest that we’ve ever done.

It’s a good thing Grandpa got us up so early, because the queue to get into the festival ground took 3 hours alone!

Luckily the organisers were incredibly professional and gave us everything we needed to get set up in breakneck speed. This was fortunate as, by the time the lunch hour approached, we were swarmed by customers.

Theo Sr. really out-shined himself here, taking orders faster than we could keep up with them and entertaining the waiting customers at the same time – a true professional, if there was ever one.

The Smithston Wedding

wedding burgerOne of the last few stops on our tour, when it came to pulling up the fancy Manor House where this wedding was being held – we were all wrecks.

Nearly two weeks on the road had eroded all our hearts and just finding the place had already caused an argument. However, when we were greeted by the Bride and Groom (the first to be served of course) all that tired cynicism and irritability melted away.

My Jeff did a wonderful job of serving the guest of honour here, I was even surprised to see a little tear in his eye when the Father of the Bride gave his speech – what a softie!

Lost Exhaust

broken downNo road trip is complete without at least one major breakdown.

Ours came just after leaving our first Farmers Market – thankfully. I’ve never been sure about the exhaust on The Meatsmobile, the van itself isn’t even ten years old, but it’s always looked suspect to me.

Well, my suspicions were confirmed when we knocked it right off when Jeff was taking us through some country lanes. Of course we didn’t actually notice for a good 50 miles – by the time we’d realised, it was too late to go back and get it!

I’ll never forget how frightened young Jeff looked when he woke me up to tell me that the exhaust had gone, I was so tempted to pull his chain – but I knew that the time for pranking would come at a better time.

Clean Up Prank On Jeff

Parker-and-Grandpa-laughing_photogalleryDuring a typical service  we can prepare up to 80 individual meat-based meals, all of which are fried on our huge grill in the transit.

We’ve also got an oven in the back that keeps meats warm, before we re-fry them again on stove top. Even though we all take turns scrubbing those damned appliances each night (even Theo Sr. has a crack at them from time to time) we never seem to be able to avoid dirt and grease build up. By the end of the tour, both are a wreck and unusable.

This year, whilst we were driving home, I was talking to Jeff about his pay and how much of a good job he had done. I could tell he was tired, big bags under his eyes and his lids drooping. This is when I casually mentioned one last job that he had to do for me before he could get paid. I saw his eyes flick open, and his head start to take. Before I even mentioned the grills he was loudly protesting and causing such a ruckus I could barely concentrate on the road for laughing.

A good lad, I didn’t make him clean them. A decent oven cleaning service is all that was required, I’m a tough task-master, but I’m no villain.

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The Meatsmobile Is Back On The Road!

With the kids back in school, the Car’s Summer Holidays have come to an end.

camping trip

They’re all growing up, but we still get to take them on the Annual camping trip.

Since Father came back a few years ago, our family outings have become seriously challenging events to organise, it’s a good thing that I’ve had thirty years or so in business management, otherwise we’d never pull them off!

This year we visited the wonderful land of North Wales. A truly relaxing part of the world – or at least it was until we turned up!

After a week spent in the idyllic reaches of Snowdonia, I’m shattered but my summer’s far from over.

meaty marketDuring the next few weeks, I’ll be racking up some serious miles in The Meatsmobile with my oldest son Jeff and his Grandpa, my Dad, Theodore. Summer time Britain is rammed full of Food Festivals and Markets, and we make it our aim every year to see as many of them as possible.

Over the few years that we’ve been driving our big old Ford Transit, we’ve had an absolute ball meeting hundreds of new customers and making some great new friends. Theodore Sr. is well into his Seventies but that doesn’t stop him from serving all day and even cooking us up a little dinner, once we’ve shut for service.

The money we make from our gourmet burgers just about covers our fuel costs – but The Annual Meatsmobile Road Trip has never been about making money. For a couple of weeks a year, I get to spend countless hours of unbroken time with my closest family. By living and working in close confines, we slowly start to gel together until, by the end of the tour, we’re a well oiled machine. Of course there are always a few arguments along the way.

A grumpy business owner in his mid-fifties, an old man in his seventies and a teenager – doesn’t exactly sound like the most winning combination of personnel, does it?

transitMost of our customers assume, from our matching attire and cheery dispositions, that we must sleep in Hotels and leave the van each night in a secure Car Park. Incorrect!

To keep down on costs – and for more fun – we have camp beds in the Transit which we pull out each night. Every night we sleep, crammed in like sardines. Both of us old boys could probably be heard snoring from miles away, so it’s a good thing our Jeff brings his noise-cancelling headphones. I can’t say its the cure for snoring that my Dad and I have been looking for all these years, but it definitely helps!

In the next fortnight we’re hoping to visit 8 Food Festivals and 5 Farmers Market, we’re also serving food to 2 Weddings and an Anniversary Party to finish it off.

It’s going to be a tough week, that’s for sure, but it’s one that I can’t wait to tackle with two of the finest collaborators a man could ask for.

family lads

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