99 Luftballons – with sprinkles

In the early ‘70s, a 99 ice cream cost 15p.  Last weekend it cost £3.25 – and only had one flake in – so, technically it should have been called 49 and a half.

On the side of the ice cream van this weekend was a poster offering almost 99 varieties; in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the only choice was ‘did you want sprinkles with that?’  Now you can have a wafer; a cone; an oyster (try tapping one of those on the machine at the entrance to the Tube); tub or just put straight into your hands, because that’s where most of it is going to end up if it’s sunny, so you’re missing out the middleman in effect.

From my Balham flat in the ‘60s, I’d hear the metallic tune coming from the ice-cream van; because I was on the 4th floor of my block of flats, by the time I’d got to the ground floor, it would have taken me so long the ice-cream seller would have run of Flakes or worse, retired – the lifts weren’t terribly reliable.

Last Saturday, after I’d re-mortgaged my house to buy my 99, I gave the man my money, to which he replied “Be lucky”; I thought I’d been transported back to the ‘50s.

Mr Whippy always sounded quite innocuous, until Ambleside Avenue became famous.

Flake’s off, love.  Be lucky.

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