Don’t titter I say, oh no, don’t titter, says he pulling down the hem of his toga, adjusting the laurels to a jaunty angle.
It was one of those rare days, the rain chased away as the sun took over. The Urchins were back from their jolly to the Northern Wastes, and the school holidays were disappearing fast. On the way to The Forum we had a wander round the park. It was a place we used to visit regularly, in a bygone age, with buggies, toddling, after a morning at nursery perhaps. More recently there have been school trips to Dean Castle Park, but as for me, I could barely remember the way.
We said hello to the animals, the deer and the donkeys, ducks too, piggies and goats. Then we wandered round another path, most certainly a new one for me. Round through the woods, muddy underfoot, the river rushing past, brown and foaming over the boulders. There was activity high above. We saw the crow first, then the squirrel. Branch to branch, tree to tree, over the path and down the trunk, the crow still hard on his tail. Such fun, for one of them.
Anyway, The Forum. It was lunch a few weeks back that put me on the trail. The Accountant was buying, and Equi’s finest vanilla was on the menu. We were in a venue I once knew well; waited a year or two for membership actually, thirty years or more ago. Those were the days when social clubs were busy, all week, thriving, throbbing. And on match days the rap of dominoes on the table lets you know the game’s murder, or the rain’s worse. In good times that magnificent Scottish Junior Cup has pride of place in the trophy cabinet. But what was once the social club that supported Pollok FC is the club’s no more. Lok’s Bar & Kitchen is for a different market altogether. Equi’s. Yee-hah.
And as I was dipping my teaspoon into the third scoop of vanilla, mine host was telling me of another of Scotland’s Italian ice-cream families; singing the praises he was. I hadn’t heard of it; and it was only a few miles from home.
So after leaving the park we headed off in search of Varani’s, which turned out to be right on one of my regular grocery routes. Straight from the 30s. all wood panelling high counters. Icy Lemon Fanta for Girl Urchin, in a tub; Oreo Cookie for Boy Urchin, cone. But there’s only one way to put a new ice cream to the test. Single nougat, the house vanilla.
Top Five quoth she; Equal top in his eyes, with his favourite Dutch outlet. It’s a subject we’ve discussed before, ice cream, some may recall. And I’ll be back at The Forum, to try again. Unusual vanilla, sepia tinted as if it was doused in Madagascar juices. And not the usual creamy affair from our other Italian outlets. The jury’s still out, but it’s on the grocery route. Try, try and try again. It’s my duty. I’ll let you know. Though I may not get round all 48 flavours that were on display. And I didn’t see any pistachio; not this time. Someone has to do it, just for you. Don’t titter.