The Man with the Van

There’s an ice cream van that comes to our area every Saturday afternoon.

The guy driving it is obviously someone who is unclear on the concept of ice cream vans, given that the idea is to pick a good spot, play your tune through the speakers as you approach it, stop there and wait for your punters to rock up for a sugar hit.

The guy on our local Mr Whippy hasn’t quite made that connection. You can hear him for the entire afternoon going around the area with an alternate selection of Home on the Range/Greensleeves playing, but he never freaking stops!

He’s just raced up our street with a blast of Greensleeves, got to the turning point, done a 180 and raced back down again with Home on the Range going like the clappers.

I’ve lived here for ten years now, I’ve never seen him stop! He’s too fast to try running out to hail down, and I can never hear Greensleeves or Home on the Range in my head without the doppler effect. Steven reckons the ‘no stopping’ thing is to get the fat kids moving, the reasoning being that if they catch him then they truly deserve an ice cream.

Not like when I was a kid (she said, adjusting her mature boobs like Les Dawson in drag). Back then in the 60s in Castlemilk the nightly visit of the ice cream van was the highlight of the day. Two bottles of ginger (Irn Bru and Ginger Beer, Barr’s of course), an oyster for my dad and a cone for me, and two packets of crisps (always Golden Wonder cheese and onion).

It got to be that the sound of Pelosi’s van chimes produced a Pavolvian response in me, such was the importance of his visit to our street. I’d grab the bag with the two empty ginger bottles in it for refund, grab the money from dad and run down the close stairs. God forbid I was slow and missed the van.

It all went well until one night when I was about ten. The van chimes went off when I was mid-pee and the pavlovian response kicked in. I was running down the lobby of our flat trying to hitch my knickers and grab the empties at the same time. I made it down most of the first flight of stairs then, horror! I tripped and fell and the bottles smashed around me.

My brother in law who was staying with us ran out to see if I was ok. According to his reports he saw me lying in the middle of a pool of smashed glass wailing “Ahm gonny miss the van, ahm gonny miss the van!”
Such is the power of the sugar hit!

Thankfully, the kids in my area will never have that problem. They’ll live with that disappointment ingrained in them, as each week demonstrates they’ll never catch Stirling Moss who drives our ice cream van. And forever, every time they hear Greensleeves or Home on the Range their hearts will remember that feeling of not being able to quite catch what they wanted.

Published by Maggie

Writer, traveller, observer.

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