So, I’m sitting in the garden by the pool, under the shade of the giant Eugenia, sipping my vodka, at the end of another hard day, when I hear the sound of the ice cream van, driving past my house, playing Music Box Dancer on an infinite loop.
Instantly, memories flood my inner core, of a long, lazy afternoon in Yorkshire, when my best friend Hilary and I chased the ice cream van around the neighbourhood on our second-hand bikes, buying cheap frozen ices at each stop. I was ten and she was six months younger.
A simpler, happier, time.
post script: If you’re wondering, the leaves you see in the blue sky photo above are from my ancient apple tree, not the Eugenia. And I only include them in the shot to prove that it is indeed the sky, and not a random blue picture. Yes, our sky really is that blue.
When I was a kid of eleven, I took the bus to town in the morning, got off before the bus station and walked for fifteen minutes up hill through the streets to school. I did this every school day for seven years.
There was a small cut through alleyway paved with cobblestones that made the journey a little shorter. On the right hand side of this tiny ancient road were old buildings with bay fronted windows, now housing various solicitors.
I memorised the names written in fancy gold letters on the windows and chanted them to myself over and over as a sort of march to help me up the hill, in the cold, to school.
Caterapell and Moxon
Fowlie and Opie
Green, Williamson and Way
In winter long icicles hung from each window ledge, begging to be snapped off, if you could. Some were very thick and more than my cold little hands could manage, but most broke off with a satisfying crack. Then I’d carry on my walk, twisting the melting icicle round in my hands, chanting my mantra.
I wonder if they still stand today: these buildings from a by-gone era?