This weekend shall forevermore hence be known as the weekend of ice cream.
Lots of ice cream.
And it was good.
It all came about through H’s hockey club day; ostensibly a chance to attract new members with the lure of an afternoon mini tournament, but more a chance for the regulars to empty the putrified remains of that last banana that they took to a match in March from the bottom of their stick bags and evict a few spiders from the toes of their astro boots. In years gone by it was also a time for a bit of a party, and the ever present barbeque would rather play second fiddle to the promise of going out for a few drinks later. Now the years have rolled on, and while we might be the only family in the club apparently trying to field an entire team by ourselves, the last few summers have seen our fair share of club weddings, and this year the field outside the pitches played host to a hoard of four and unders and a menagerie of scooters, footballs, colouring books, skipping ropes and even a few giant bubbles as whichever parents weren’t playing tried to vaguely keep track of all of our assorted children.
The girls loved it. There were lots of friends of about the same size, more space than you could ask for for them to run around in, and from my point of view, a fair few sets of watching eyes. It was great to catch up with the people (and baby bumps) that we hadn’t seen over the summer, and even lovelier to introduce Pip to our friends. His indoctrination into the world of hockey may mostly have involved him nursing a lot and then having a snooze in the pram, but I think his sisters more than made up for it by spending an entire match glued to the fence and shouting a continuous stream of “come on Daddy!”, “run Daddy, run!”, and “faster Daddy!” in H’s direction, which I shall neither admit nor deny (a) instigating or (b) encouraging, mostly because it was all to no avail and H’s team lost anyway.
But I digress; we were talking of ice cream. Because it seems that someone on the club committee had a moment of genius when planning club day. Not for us this year the lure of the illustrious presence of our local MP, or even the inspiration that comes from meeting a bronze medal winning British Olympic Women’s team player. No this year, they decided on a very simple formula.
Ice cream. Proper ice cream. None of your tub of Walls’ best here; this was the real deal.
Free for everyone who came, spectator, player and small offspring alike.
The small offspring were very very happy about that. And then very sticky, as strawberry sorbet dripped deliciously down the outside of the cone and gummed up tiny hot little hands, and the Mummies swooped in with legions of baby wipes.
And if that weren’t enough to make for a particularly happy Saturday, it seems that the ice cream cart was suffering from a slight case of the widow’s curse, and, well, you can’t just let it melt can you? And as the afternoon started to dip into evening we all lined up again for the second ice cream break. By this point the kids all knew exactly what sort of alchemy the nice man with the grey apron and pink brolly could produce and they were more than ready to try out another flavour, just to check it was a good as the strawberry you understand.
I’m reliably informed by Kitty that the chocolate was excellent, and Elma confirmed my own view of the vanilla by setting to with such gusto that I don’t think there was an inch of her face that didn’t glisten with melted ice cream.
There can really only be two conclusions, or perhaps three.
Firstly, I really really hope this becomes a regular fixture for club day. Secondly, it’s a really good job we had a nice big field for everyone to run off all that sugar. And thirdly, however many times you think you’ve washed your daughter, you’ll still find ice cream in her hair on Sunday morning.