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Strawberry ice cream cone (5076899310).jpg

(strawberry ice cream cone, 2010

TheCulinaryGeek from Chicago, uploaded by Mindmatrix)



The guys hadn’t returned and so the wedding preparation discussions


Ice cream bike, or not?

Virginia had suggested the latter, but Diana mixed up the tricycle concept

with a chocolate teapot.

Won’t it melt? she asked.

No, it is a bike with a fridge thingy attached to it and people can have…

Pokey hats! enthused Mrs C.

Neither Virginia nor Diana had heard of these delicacies, but Mrs C

laughed and explained that they were cones, with or without the addition

of a Cadbury’s ‘Flake.’

You mean like a ’99’? asked Virginia.

Aye, they always remind me of a Stanley Baxter joke about a young lad going

up to the ice cream van on his housing estate and hoarsely asking for a pokey


The vendor smiles and says:  Raspberry sauce, son?

Aye, the wee lad responds enthusiastically, wi’ a voice like sandpaper.


Oh, aye!  He sounds really gravelly.

Crushed nuts?

Naw, laryngitis.

Mrs C, do remember that we are trying to be ladylike, reprimanded

Diana, who had noticed that Virginia did not really approve of such


Changing the subject, Virginia broke in, where did you get married Mrs C?

Oh, St Cuthbert’s,  Lindisfarne, the housekeeper replied.  That was a long,

long time ago.

What made you choose that church?  Diana asked.  Mind you, it must have

lots of history.

Och weel, there was a line fae Burns that Ah learnt at school and it has aye

stuck wi’ me:  ‘Nae man can tether time nor tide.’  Ah didnae want himself

thinkin’ that he could tether me, so Ah suggested a wild, unpredictable place,

beyond the causeway of the normal mainland and subject tae the vagaries o’

the tides, tae tie the nuptial knot.

The causeway? Virginia was puzzled as she was not au fait with the

coastal geography of the region, never having been a fan of Neil Oliver.

She also had difficulty with the idea of a tethered Mrs C. It was not an

image she chose to reflect on for long.

Aye, Ah thought crossing the causeway fae wan world tae anither was kinda

symbolic o’ traversin’ the matrimonial threshold from spinster tae married

wumman, ken?

Tres metaphysical, murmured Virginia.

Weel, better that than onything physical developin’, fur Ah thocht that if

he put a foot wrong in the crossing, he’d be swept aff tae sea and he widnae

hae found me rowin’ aff tae rescue him, like wan o’ they Grace Darlin’-type


Mmm, Virginia pondered the fact that Mrs C was definitely a ‘sink or

swim’ kind of female.

And did he ever put a foot wrong- then- or subsequently? Diana dared

to ask.

Nae mair questions the day, Mrs C replied and went off to fill the

teapot, which was very definitely not made of chocolate.

Portrait of Grace Darling by Thos Musgrave Joy)