New Mercedes van would be poetry in motion for Bedford carpet cleaning company

Russell and Nikki Eatly of Pristine Carpets with their 'Work Wife' (van)
Russell and Nikki Eatly of Pristine Carpets with their 'Work Wife' (van). Image: Russell Eatly

A family-run carpet cleaning company in Brickhill is hoping that their literary talents will win them a new van in a poetry competition run by Mercedes Benz.

Russell and Nikki Eatly run Pristine Carpets from their home in Brickhill and recently entered Mercedes’ Poetry in Motion competition, which attracted over 250 entries.

The duo, whose clients include the Bedford Swan Hotel, the Embankment and Woburn Safari Park, were delighted to discover they are down to the final 10 in the competition and will perform at the Poetry Grand Slam event on 5 October when the winner will be announced.

The poem is called The Work Wife and was written by Nikki about their current van, affectionately named (unironically) Flash by their six-year-old son.

The Work Wife

The shrill of the alarm, awakens me from my slumber,
As I draw back the curtains, I see her and wonder,
What lays ahead? Today’s journey yet untold,
What experiences collectively are soon to unfold?

We’ve been through so much and still we are together,
I doubt there is much that the two of us couldn’t weather.

Busy days, quiet days, happy and dark,
The difference without her would be too stark.

She’s not much to look at, well not anymore,
Her wing mirror constantly falls off the door,
Over the years she’s had a few bits done,
A touch up here and a new black bum[per].

Sixteen years old and thousands of miles on the clock,
It’s fair to say, she’s been round the block.
No mod cons, she’s ready and rough,
Cosmetics aside, underneath she’s tough.

I stock her up ready for a day of work,
A more spacious van would be a perk.
I bid her good morning as I turn the ignition,
Our mutual labours are coming to fruition.

Occasionally, it takes her a while to get going,
(I have to give her extra time when it’s snowing).
But saying that, she’s yet to let me down,
No clients are left waiting when she takes me to town.

It’s hard to express what she means to me:
Independence, freedom and financial security.
I’ve shirked off the shackles of the 9 till 5,
I buckle my belt, and away we drive.

In companionable silence we travel together,
Unless the radio plays an old school belter.
Then we roll down the windows and hit the gas,
Just me, on the road, with my old van Flash.

Russell and Nikki set up the business just a year and a half ago and say it was “born out of a series of unfortunate circumstances”.

Russell had been made redundant and Nikki, a teacher, became ill and had to give up working. “We started the company as a way of taking our destiny in our own hands,” said Russell.

“My wife is still unable to work, but we are building up our company day by day.  Winning this van would be a wonderful opportunity for us as a family.”

Their current van was gifted to them by Russell’s dad and at 16 years old, ‘Flash’ is beginning to feel the strain.

“She’s 16 years old and too small for our expanding business and doesn’t quite fit with our ‘Pristine Carpet’ image so a new bigger van would mean everything to us,” said Nikki. 

“We’ve poured every spare bit of cash back into the business, making sure our equipment is cutting-edge and expanding our training so we can tackle trauma cleaning and stone restoration.  To have the van financially taken care of, will be life-changing for us.”