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‘It tickles people’ - Historic chip cart turns heads with pulley serving system

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 June 2020

Simon Reeve safely delivering chips to his customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule at the Chip Cart in Diss where he works with his mum, Rita Bassett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Simon Reeve safely delivering chips to his customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule at the Chip Cart in Diss where he works with his mum, Rita Bassett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

A chip van which has been in a Norfolk town since 1921 has been turning heads and “tickling” the community after its owners came up with an ingenious way to serve customers while socially distancing.

Owner Simon Reeve and his mum Rita Bassett in the Chip Cart at Diss where they are safely delivering to their customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOwner Simon Reeve and his mum Rita Bassett in the Chip Cart at Diss where they are safely delivering to their customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Chip Cart, in Diss, is a family-run business which has stood the test of time and despite taking a hit as the pandemic forced the country into lockdown, they are now back and doing things a bit differently.

On Friday the cart, located in the town’s market place, saw people queueing in the sunshine to treat themselves to a salty treat and get a glimpse of its new ‘pulley system’.

Customer Roy Elliner happy to get his chips delivered by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' at the Chip Cart in Diss observing the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCustomer Roy Elliner happy to get his chips delivered by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' at the Chip Cart in Diss observing the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Simon Reeve, owner of the cart, said: “I had a nice picnic table at the front which I thought would be good for complying with the two-metre rule, but I didn’t know how to get the chips to the table.

“So, then I thought if I had a little slide it would slide nicely to the table and I wouldn’t have to keep bending down.

Customers Kevan Neave and Jackie Warren, are delighted to get their chips delivered by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' at the Chip Cart in Diss observing the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCustomers Kevan Neave and Jackie Warren, are delighted to get their chips delivered by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' at the Chip Cart in Diss observing the two metre rule. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“It’s a wooden slide with a plastic covering along with a piece of fishing line and a couple of baskets and so far, it’s been working really well.”

The family were forced to close the business for 11 weeks during lockdown but have now been back in operation for around three weeks, and Mr Reeve said the town is getting busier by the day.

Simon Reeve safely delivering chips to his customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule at the Chip Cart in Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSimon Reeve safely delivering chips to his customers by an ingenious basket and 'pulley system' to observe the two metre rule at the Chip Cart in Diss. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He added: It’s nothing like it used to be, we are working at about 50pc to 60pc.

“And everything takes longer to do than usual but we are just trying to add a little bit of fun to serving chips.

“A lot of people love it. It tickles people and gives them a bit of a laugh.”

As the chip cart owner and his mother, Rita Bassett, were gearing up for the lunch-time rush, they said things are slowly getting back to normal.

And Ms Bassett said she is happy with her son’s invention – which has been getting their business a bit more attention.

She said: “Everyone seems to like Simon’s invention. They seem to come here more for that than they do the chips now.

“We get the potatoes from a local farmer every week and everyone seems to be happy that we are back.

“It has been in my family since 1921 – it was a horse-drawn cart back then, with a coal fire and hand chipper.”

One lady in the queue said: “It’s brilliant. I was standing here watching it coming down and it made me smile. This is my first time coming back since the lockdown.

“They do the best chips.”


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