Mr. Whippy

No, I'm not referring to some sort of underground S&M character but rather the wholesome ice-cream vendor franchise Mr Whippy, that in the 1960s used to drive around lonely suburban streets luring children from their homes with the promise of soft-serve ice-cream with sprinkles on top.

Image from Whippy kiosks
Recently these old-fashioned vans  have made a comeback in Australia and frankly I feel sorry for the operators. It's a hard job for the contemporary Mr. Whippy man when you consider that now people can buy boxes of whatever ice-cream they fancy relatively cheaply at the supermarket, as opposed to the exhorbitant price of a van-served ice-cream, that's if they buy ice-cream at all in these health conscious times.

Moreover, the noise of that music-box "Greensleeves" pumping monotonously through the van's loudspeaker can get downright annoying...and Mr. Whippy's not the end of there's now another wanna be Mr. Whippy company doing the rounds, called Home ice-cream. The Home ice-cream van doesn't even have the distinction of the tinkling Greensleeves music...just a penetrating clang, clang, clang, that goes right through you.

At first I thought they were charming, these quaint reflections of a past era  but now I'm beginning to cringe when I hear the Home ice-cream van coming. . and heaven help you if you ever make the mistake of venturing out to buy an ice-cream. Here's why...

There's a house a couple of doors away from mine with small children and ever since they bought ice-creams a couple of times over summer, the ice-cream van has haunted them most evenings, just after  dinner time - hovering out  the front of their house with his shrill clang, clang clang piercing the airwaves, motor running and rerigerators humming. That van has even been there during winter - it's tragic really. How desperate must he be for a sale? They never buy anything from fact I  strongly suspect when they hear him coming, they draw the blinds and hide under the bed. I know I would...