I’d just spent a lovely hour or so with the grandchildren in the park. Kicking or throwing a ball around while their Mum and Grandma chatted on a bench. I think the general psychology here was to tire them out before teatime, but somehow it seemed to me that I was doing most of the running around. While my aim was quite reasonable, there’s seemed to be quite random. I was putting it down to their youthful lack of coordination, and not some plot to get me puffing and blowing like an old boiler.
We all got quite hot and bothered, so headed back to the car park where there was the inevitable ice cream van. It seemed to be Mr Whippies all round, with lots of syrup and sprinkles. These weren’t served up in cones though. They were in plastic cups and almost bigger than a child’s head. Inevitably, it seemed to me, two of the children either couldn’t finish them or decided after a couple of mouthfuls that they didn’t like the disgusting green goo that passed for syrup. So this meant we now had a couple of large, melting pots of ice cream to dispose of.
We looked around for some waste bins; absolutely none in sight. Then someone mentioned that there was one in the public toilets. So grumpa volunteered to get rid of them and, they were all too eagerly thrust into my outstretched hands; dripping profusely. My first obstacle was the toilet door, which had a lever handle. Quite tricky to manoeuvre while balancing a couple of melting ice creams. Once inside I quickly realised that there wasn’t a waste bin in here either. What was I to do? It was going to be even harder to get back out as I would have to find some way of pulling the inward opening door while balancing the ice creams. I wandered over to the one and only toilet, which luckily was unoccupied. I thought, what the hell, and tipped the contents of each beaker down the pan and flushed.
If some young inventor was looking for a new material for manufacturing buoyancy aids, they could do a lot worse than Mr Whippy ice cream. The damn stuff would not go down. I flushed and waited for the cistern to fill half a dozen times, but only succeeded in washing off the green goo and sprinkles. Both blobs of ice cream even retained a vague shape of the plastic cup they’d been served in. So that both of them looked like the floaters left by some poor soul with a dreadful dietary condition. I left them to melt a bit more and busied myself mopping up the trail of drips, that I’d left behind while wandering around in there looking for the nonexistent bin. I also decided to kill a bit more time washing out the plastic cups in the hand basin. Which just happened to have one of those push top taps that cut off automatically after one tenth of a second. What fun! Then there were the sprinkles….. which turned out not to be sprinkles at all, but bits of broken Oreo biscuit. Which were just that little too big to pass through the mesh of the outlet. Given that these were at the opposite end of the colour spectrum from the ice cream; I figured they would be just as startling to the next user as what was in the loo. So a few more pushes on the tap top with one hand and some dexterous manoeuvring of the bits of biscuit with the other, they were eventually persuaded to go down. Job done at the sink, I turned my attention back to the ice cream jobbies in the loo. They were still there, and looked to be in the same state that I’d left them. I pressed the handle just as there was a rattling from the door, which turned out to be the 6 year old grandson who had been dispatched by grandma to make sure grumpa hadn’t collapsed in there. Quite what a small boy was going to do if he found his grumpa collapsed in the gents hadn’t really been thought through. But he was the only other male in the group so he duly stepped up to the bat. I told him I wouldn’t be much longer and turned back to the recalcitrant confectionary, which now seemed to be bracing itself against the porcelain. “One last push”, I said to myself, and immediately thought that a rather unfortunate turn of phrase given the situation.
Feeling defeated, I comforted myself with the thought that it would probably have melted enough in a couple of days and made my way back to the car park. Where I discovered, as if to add insult to injury, the dribbles of ice cream down my trousers.