The Sharp End: My day with the ice man

Scoop! Our man in the van Rhymer Rigby learns to churn a mean single cone...

Ice-cream vans tend to be independently owned and I hadn't the foggiest about how to get in touch with an ice-cream vendor, other than flagging one down in the street. But every industry has its trade body and ice-cream is no exception, so I got on the blower to the Ice Cream Alliance and they helpfully provided me with a few numbers. I plumped for Steven's Ice Cream Van in Deal, Kent more or less at random.

Confusingly, Steven's Ice Cream van is run by a man called Melvin Nobbs. Melvin had bought the van second-hand from the eponymous Steven, and the re-sprayers wanted an inordinate sum to re-do the signage. So Steven's it stayed.

Inside it was bijou but impressively kitted out: hot and cold running water, a machine that churned the ice-cream, fridges for drinks and ice-lollies, and racks holding sweets and crisps - all suffused with a delightfully nostalgic sweetshop smell. It was also absolutely spotless: you could have eaten your '99' off the floor.

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