Those glorious vanilla days of childhood…

Selwyn Smith's vans were a welcome and exciting sight to local kids for years. A cracking image from 'Memories of Old Brownhills' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

David Evans, top reader and local history buff, has been at it again. David has sent me the following recollection, which I thought I’d share with the readers out there. Remember, we’ve mentioned the local ice cream men – Selwyn Smith and his shop, and Pelari’s, whose horse was an untimely and unfortunate loss in a wartime air raid on Brownhills. In other towns, the Lufwaffe bombed our chip shops; in Brownhills, they hit the ice lolly supply chain. Gits.

I’d like to thank David for his great contributions lately, he’s really coming up trumps. Love it.

Over to David… all memories and contributions welcome. BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Retro Ice Lollys

Probably more a thing of my generation than David's, but I just love this. Great ephemera from the moog_image_dump on Flikr.

There were many childhood delights, memories and adventures which still evoke a smile and, very occasionally, a sigh and a glance to the heavens. But, for the youngsters in the local mining villages, the hardships of the immediate post-war years was instantly relegated into oblivion by the unmistakable sound, caught firstly and imperceptibly on the breeze, and then gelling into clarity and certainty with each minute; the toot-toot or chime of the arriving Angel s of Confectionary Paradise, the ice-cream sellers in their vans. Bliss!

A speedy dash back into the house to try one’s luck with a semi-breathless;-

“Mom! Selwin’s in the street! Mommmmmmmmm! Pleeeeeeeese Mommmmmm”

A positive result was gained especially if the good lady was half through her well-earned cup of Typhoo, or BrookBond after she had completed the Monday wash.

Then, armed with three copper pennies the return dash to the van was accomplished in near-supersonic time (This was the new word of the time. It existed in fact and in the Avion Cinema on Saturday mornings where the heroes faced certain death or instantaneous disappearance if they flew their plane ‘supersonic’ …best to stay just sub-sonic).

Cornet or wafer? Cornet always looked tempting, but so did the three-penny wafer! Which ever was bought from the ice cream seller whose feet stuck through the van floor and into the street, the joy was totally without parallel. Slowly, biscuit or ice-cream first? Lick to the left or to the right? Round each corner of the wafer or munch diagonally? Squeeze the wafers and risk missing some cold delight?

It was application of science in its purest, and most digestable form.

Then, and only then, with ice-cream on shirt, cuffs, face and hands, the next challenge was quite simply;-

When does Pelari come?

old style ice cream van

Great old vans like this used to ply their sweet trade on streets all over Britain. A great shot of a vintage vehicle by Graceleepuisie on Flickr.

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6 Responses to Those glorious vanilla days of childhood…

  1. Clive says:

    Great dave, brought back some lovely memorys. how to tackle a wafer or cornet, I used to bite the end of the cornet and suck it out of the end, yes it is a science mate.
    Cheers Clive

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