Whether your ice-cream van man played an off-key tinkle of Greensleeves, Pop Goes the Weasel or something more up-to-date, his arrival on our streets was a highlight of any summer’s day.
Having dragged our poor mothers and their purses out into the street before he could drive off, we’d then spend five minutes dawdling with indecision over what to pick from his van of treats. There was so much choice, from fruit lollies to ice-creams that would end up all over our hands and faces. One of our favourites was the Fab ice lolly, which – unbelievably – turns 50 this year.
So to mark the occasion, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to recall some of the other iconic ices that provided the taste of our childhood summers.
Ice cream favourites of yesteryear
The first huge decision of any trip to the ice-cream man was… lolly or ice-cream? If you went for ice-cream, you’d either find yourself with a scoop of local dairy produce in a wafer cone or if your ice-cream man was very ‘with it’, you may get a Mr Whippy made from specially created soft ice-cream (which was basically more air and less ice-cream!). And of course, with an added Flake to be a 99!
Then there were Mivvis made by Lyons Maid (who together with Wall’s dominated the ice-cream industry). Fruity ice lolly on the outside and soft, ice cream on the inside, they were a revelation to our imaginations – and a shock to our teeth! The Strawberry Mivvi particularly was a real favourite.
Choc ices and screwballs (with a ball of gum at the bottom that could wrench out molars) were other popular choices.
Nostalgic ice lolly treats
The name was Fab and what was inside really lived up to its moniker. Three coloured stripes of fruity lolly and the top section sprinkled in hundreds and thousands which you tried to make last as long as possible (or devoured right away depending on what kind of child you were).
The lolly was launched in 1967 and soon tapped into the popularity of Thunderbirds and their love of saying ‘F-A-B’ by featuring a picture of Lady Penelope and Parker on the front.
While Fab was all sugary and sparkly, like Lady P’s pink suits, Zoom was the boy’s equivalent, featuring an edible rocket in three colours with moulded flanges flaring out at the sides.
Then who could forget Funny Feet? The novelty of biting off a pink big toe never did quite wear off.
Ice-pops were also a big favourite for a cheap and chilly pick-me-up after school. Available in a rainbow of e-numbers and demolished in seconds, you just had to be careful you weren’t over eager in squeezing out your ice-pop as it could shoot out pretty fast!
The best of the rest includes Wall’s Woppa, Sky Ray, Haunted House, Mini Milk and the juicy Orange Maid.