Down Memory Lane with an Ice Cream Van

I was just bringing in the laundry when I heard something rare and strange.  Something I’ve never actually heard in Bollington before: the sound of an ice-cream van.

I don’t know what kind of salesman would be touting his wares at 730pm on a school night, at the tail end of a day that could best be described as ‘less miserable than yesterday’, but the sound was undeniable.  It was an ice-cream van.

The hopeful, somewhat Stephen-King-esque tinkling did not make me rush out to buy an ice cream (it was bloody freezing), but what it did was immediately take me back to my childhood, when I would have, upon hearing the jingles, run (regardless of temperature) to find my mum and beg 50p.  By the time she caved the van would be three streets away and I’d have to sprint after it. But more often than not I got my ice-cream.

A very specific ice cream.  Not for me your 99 Flake, or your Cider Lolly, not for me your Magnum or Twister.  My ice-cream of choice was always a Toffee Crumble. Crumble on the outside, sprinkled over a thin chocolate layer, which coated pure white vanilla ice cream, all surrounding a fudgy toffee centre; on a stick.  Sublime.

I haven’t thought about a Toffee Crumble in years, now here I am craving one.

And that childhood sound has also made me think about other things.  Back then we had a ZX Spectrum and would spend ages playing a game involving a mouse jumping from level to level chasing some sort of cheesy snack.  A game my four-year old would probably have already finished with laughable ease.  I also loved those adventure games where you had to type in the instructions.

[You have found a chest.]

Open the chest

[The chest is locked]

Pick up the key

[There is no key]

Use the key (that I bloody know I picked up three screens ago)

[You have no key]

Yes I bloody do

[I don’t understand ‘bloody’]

Kick the chest

[I don’t understand ‘kick’]


The games had to be loaded using a tape cassette and would take literally an hour to load every time.  There was a high pitched whining noise the whole time it was loading.

I used to pull my long hair into a ponytail so high, it almost flopped over the front of my head and tie it up with lace, like Madonna.

Our favourite TV shows, that we used to rush home to see were Dungeons and Dragons, City of Gold, Ulysses in the 21st Century, He-Man and She-ra, Thundercats.  All excellent fantasy fodder for my developing writer’s brain.

And I really fancied Tom Selleck in Magnum PI (still do actually).

Every weekend there would be a Black and White Western on TV that my dad would make us watch and every weekend there would be a Carry-On film that we made him let us watch.

We grew up with Baywatch, M.A.S.H., Murder she Wrote, Airwolf, The A Team and McGyver.

When dad bought our first video recorder, the first film we ever got out of Blockbuster was Willow.

We used to play Cluedo and Mousetrap and my sister and I would pretend to be TV chefs at mealtimes, making odd mixtures of each forkful of dinner and daring one another to copy.

We had a den in the trees behind our house until we realised that annoying Simon kid from down the street was using it as a toilet.

We used to record the top 40 on cassette, standing hour after hour with our fingers on the pause / record button in an attempt to cut the DJ out of our playlist.  Then we’d memorise the words to the songs as best we could and make up dances.

I had roller skates and was deeply uncool because my friends had roller blades.  I had a glow worm on my bed, my best friend had a shell suit and I really wanted one, but was never allowed.

Gosh, that ice-cream van has sent me down a long memory filled journey.  It’s amazing how a simple sound makes you remember things you thought long forgotten.  I am now on a mission.  This week, somewhere, somehow, I will be eating a Toffee Crumble.

And next time I hear the ice-cream van, I’m waking up the kids and sending them out with 50p.

    • sara
    • April 16th, 2013

    50p will not get you a lot I dout it will even get you a icecream

    • Not any more, true. They could pool their 50ps and share one worth £1 … If £1 would get them anything!

  1. God I’m there with you!!! Forgot all about those adventure games but at the time, wow, innovative and cool 😉 Loved Magnum too…could have been the tache? lol. Thank-you so much for taking me back in the time warp with you 🙂

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