SUMMER LETTERS - ENJOY
We wanted to share a couple of our favourite summer letters with you.
This one from Alix reminds us why we love ice cream.
Have you heard an ice cream van yet this year? To me, that’s the first indication of summer. Forget your BBQs and your tennis, when I first hear the tinny sound of the ice cream van chimes on my parents’ estate, I know summer has finally arrived.
The ice cream man’s name is Frank., though I’m not 100% sure it’s his real name but it’s what everyone calls him. He’s an oldish Pakistani man with a bald head, a massive bushy beard and is honestly the happiest bloke you will ever meet. His van used to play Greensleeves but his speaker broke and when he bought a new one it only played Pop Goes The Weasel. Everyone thought it was a new van trying to muscle in on Frank’s turf – what an outrage. In protest none of us went out to get ice creams from the new van, that was until Cath at the end of the street was hit by a craving for a 99 and discovered it had been Frank all the time. Thankfully the news spread across the estate and Frank has never changed his jingle since.
My family and I moved onto the estate in 2002 when I was 9. I turn 29 next month and Frank has not aged a day. I reckon we can stop looking for the elixir of life as Frank has obviously found it. I now live about an hour away from my parents and there’s no ice cream man in the area (which is a massive shame as an ice cream van would make an absolute killing with all the young families round here).
I never knew I missed having a Frank until I went round to visit my parents after lockdown 3 had ended. My mum and I were outside enjoying the late evening sunshine while my dad was pottering inside, when I heard him. The revving engine crying out for a gear change or a lighter foot on the accelerator. The jangly nursery rhyme being played too loud on really cheap speakers. Frank. I was filled with such a sense of happiness. My mum shouted ‘Fraaaaaank’ to my dad, a subtle signal which actually meant ‘Frank the ice cream man has just passed the side of the house so he’ll be at our stop on 30 seconds and yes, I’d like a 99 with a flake and raspberry sauce. My purse is on the kitchen side with change in it. Please and thank you.’ Isn’t it amazing how much information can be communicated in just one word? This time I ordered Dad to stand down and I relieved him of his duties because I wanted to see Frank. I hadn’t seen him in years but he still recognised me, knew my order (an oyster with a flake and nuts) and asked about my sister – ‘how’s the one who lives in London?’
After paying him and saying my goodbyes I walked up the cul-de-sac to my parents, tucking into my oyster and appreciating how something so simple as a soft whip ice cream served by Frank could make me feel ready for summer.
I hope that you have your own Frank and if not, stop off at the next ice cream van you see and treat yourself to a 99 (with or without a flake) and welcome in the summer.
Sending love, your friend
And here we love the simplicity of Liz's letter, filling our heads with sunshine songs
It’s sunny today. The first song on the radio was ‘Good day sunshine’ by The Beatles. It got me wondering how many other songs there are about sunshine (without asking Google). Which ones spring to mind for you? I can think of ‘Here Comes The Sun’. ‘Walking in Sunshine’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Soak Up the Sun’ (I love that one by Cheryl Crow), ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, ‘Distant Sun’ (another favourite by Crowded House), ‘Invisible Sun’, and of course ‘You Are the Sunshine Of My Life.’