Being an inveterate fan of Citroën’s marvellous ‘cube utile’, or H-van, as well as a discerning coffee consumer I was chuffed to be invited to the launch of  ‘Claud the Butler’( in my home town of Frome last weekend. Claud is the brainchild of Lee and Helen who are the next door neighbours of my friend the artist Chris Bucklow ( and his family who offered up their well-appointed riverside garden for the occasion.

Claud has been lovingly kitted out to dispense coffee and cakes and (as my sons appreciated) hot chocolate. Lee and Helen designed Claud’s distinctive livery and elegant interior and he had a mechanical overhaul by H-van specialists ‘Le Cube Utile’ ( who also worked on a van for Rapha ( purveyors of the finest cycling apparel (and imbibers of Yapp wines – I digress).

I wasn’t disappointed. The sun shone. The coffee and cakes were delicious. Lee and Helen buttled busily and Claud looked terrific. He is a late model, made in 1980, so a year younger than our 1979 version. Apparently ’79 was the last year H-vans were made commercially, other than for the Army so the chances are that Claud did his Service Nationale – although I am now bound to receive an e-mail from an aficionado who knows otherwise.

Claud and Co. are going to be visiting cycling events, parties and festivals in the near future and we have managed to persuade them to come to our Bin End Wines sale next Saturday 26th March so do come and check him out. Wine, coffee, cake and tyre-kicking of the first order – it has the makings of a great day out!