We’ve been living in Wakefield for around two and a half months now and whilst it’s not our intention to stay forever, it’s not without its benefits. We live close to the motorway junction which is convenient for my commute to Bradford; the Dales, Moors, and Peaks are all a reasonably short drive away, and we’re saving lots of money towards purchasing a house in the process.
It’s not an unpleasant city, and I’ve certainly lived in far worse places (Dudley, I’m looking at you), but there is one thing that’s just not right. Ice cream vans. They’re everywhere, all the time.
The street on which we live has two regulars who come and visit at all hours throughout the day and evening, and it appears that some of our neighbours live on nothing but screwballs and 99s, as they routinely stomp their bare feet across the road in dressing gowns and pyjamas at numerous times during the day, purchasing an array of ices on which to feed their children. I’m not here to preach about the quality or economics of an entirely Cornetto based diet though. It’s the jingle that’s getting to me.
The traditional jingle of an approaching ice cream van is instantly recognisable to all of us, and a tinkling music box rendition of Greensleeves or Yankee Doodle gradually increasing in volume can send even the most placid of children into zombie like hysteria. And it’s this fact that baffles, intrigues, and infuriates me about one particular pudding peddler in our local area. His jingle doesn’t jingle. It isn’t jolly, summery, or playful. It is the most mournful, melancholic, despondent droning sound that lingers like a post-jalfrezi fart in a broken-down lift. And it is everywhere, all of the time. I go out at lunchtime, I can hear it. I come home, I can hear it. I go to the other side of town, and yep, I can hear it.
Sat in front of the television of an evening it becomes a continual unwanted background accompaniment to every show I watch. What are they making on Masterchef tonight? Must be ice cream. Where’s Ellie on this week’s Countryfile? Probably an ice cream factory.
On Sunday I was in the garden, and from around midday until teatime the din simply didn’t cease, creeping up and down in volume as the van slithered in and out of the cul-de-sacs on its interminable torment of the housing estates.
Something isn’t right here. It shouldn’t be the case that residents of a city have their entire lives accompanied by incidental music from an ice cream van, let alone one that makes the Funeral March sound like Walking on Sunshine.
It has to be brainwashing, mind control, some kind of MK Ultra style programming to psychologically destroy the residents of this West Yorkshire city to the point at which they relinquish all free will… But for what purpose?
Here he is now.
The droning. The droning.
Think I want a Solero.
No need to get dressed or put on shoes.
Take my money, Mr Whippy.