(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.
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
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
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)