Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Sliders and oysters and tubs

Someone mentioned an ice cream van to me the other day and it brought back memories of the ice cream van of my childhood. It was run by a guy named Tom, or, more accurately since I grew up in West Lothian: "Tam". His was the one and only ice cream van in the village. On Gala Day, he always set up shop at the field where the festivities took place, dispensing ice cream sliders and the latest score from Wimbledon (he had invariably hooked up a TV to the battery so he could watch the men's final). Lots of Dads were happy to go for the ice creams on Gala Day. Strange that.

Anyway, the strangest thing about the ice cream van was the tune. You know, that plinky tinkly music they play to give you enough time to go and pester the living daylights out of your gran so you can get an oyster? I have heard many variations on this music, from sort of sea shanty type tunes to "Greensleeves". I have never though heard any other ice cream van play the music our one did.

The Funeral March. Seriously. "Dum dum de-dum, dum de dum dum dum de dum!" You could spot a visitor to the village by the look of confusion on their face when the van appeared, quickly followed by a look of bemused horror.

I would be very grateful if any of you out there happened to be in West Lothian in the 1970s and can confirm having heard this. Whenever I tell people about it, for some reason I start doubting my own memory*. There must be a generation of West Lothian adults out there who start subconsciously to salivate at the opening bars of the Funeral March. I can't be the only one, surely?

*I actually asked my Mum about this before posting and she confirmed that I am not losing my marbles, this is absolutely true.


  1. I think I'd prefer the Funeral March to the circusy crap they normally played on the ice cream trucks of my childhood.

  2. Hi Loth,
    From my reminiscences from the 60’s and early 70’s in a West Lothian village named after a Bagder’s Brook I remember Mr Boni’s ice cream van but I’m pretty sure his tune was ‘Greensleeves’. I don’t seem to dredge up the memory of the ‘Funeral March’ as tootled from a van. I also member, cones with raspberry essence, sliders (there were also sliders with chocolate nougat wafers that my dad called by a very un-PC name) and of course, oysters.
    Tres’ Yummy.

    Love the blog by the way.


  3. That is so very funny. Speaking as someone who is working hard to take off weight gained from eating copious amounts of ice cream.....the funeral march sounds quite appropriate! LOL

  4. Jack, I know the EXACT non-PC term you are referring to! I used to love those too. I thought it would be a bit risky putting the name of those on the blog tho'!!

  5. We lived so far off in the sticks that we never had the pleasure of the ice cream van :( Best we got was to eat the frozen Kool-aid pops that we made in the ice cube trays with toothpicks stuck inside!

    In case you didn’t know, I found your blog through DadGoneMad. I've posted a complete list of everyone who left their blog link on his Big Big Stars post a while back in a post of my own in April called Blog Rolling With My Homies over on my blog, so if you want to see it come on over and sit a spell. I don't bite..…that hard anyway!

    If you did know just overlook this since my brain feels like mush from trying to comment on all 217 on the list because somebody had the bright idea to challenge me to it!!

  6. I saw this on and thought it was appropriate for commenting on your Ice Cream Van post.

    Things You Don't Want to Hear From the Person Driving the Ice Cream Truck

    by Dee Ann

    * "Is it #@*!-ing hot or what?!"

    * "Can I borrow your glasses?"

    * "Really, chubby, more ice cream?"

    * "Yes, Monopoly money does count."

    * "How do you kids keep finding me?"

  7. The Funeral March???

    They didn't play that in Portobello, is all I can say.

    And both Jennys! Excellent! Haven't seen tonight's episode yet, but I too rather like the posh chap with the eyebrows whose name begins with R - Raef, is it? Mind you, I do think they're all probably arrogant so and sos.

  8. Sorry. Just the happy chimes of the ice cream man here.

  9. All the ice-cream vans in Portobello played "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhigavo, as I recall. Not that I knew what it was as a child.

    The two rival ice-cream vans which menace our neighbourhood play "Yankee Doodle" and "You are my Sunshine" (slightly wrong). I've never seen them sell anyone an ice-cream. (Perhaps they need to be watching The Apprentice.)

  10. Your Funeral March takes the biscuit- but the one at my Gran's had "The Third Man" theme. I knew it as the "Icy" song well before I ever saw the film.

    In fact I got quite a shock when I did see the film.