THEY'RE JUSTIFIED AND THEY'RE ANCIENT, AND THEY DRIVE AN ICE-CREAM VAN...
Some pictures of ice-cream vans from my personal Archive Collection:
One of my most favourite things to do when we lived in our old house down in Yeovil's answer to The Bronx, was when I heard an ice-cream van 'jingle' I would run out into the road and wave frantically, as if I was a desperate customer trying to flag it down. The vehicle would then stop, blocking the very narrow one-way, single-lane road, sometimes causing a minor traffic back-up. I'd approach smiling and, at the last moment, suddenly take a photograph of the van and its startled/bemused driver, and then run off...sometimes back into the house, slamming the door behind me; or sometimes off up the road, as if I was fleeing a crime-scene (not that unusual in that street, I have to say...).
My proudest moment was when an ice-cream van driver actually waved his fist at me, as if I was a naughty eight year-old child. It was a surreal, highly-charged Beano-esque moment, and exactly the response I'd (secretly) been hoping for.
The ice-cream vans in Yeovil all have slightly smutty-sounding Carry On style names like "Mr. Whippy", "Mr. Creamy" and (my favourite) "Creamy treats". (There is an ice-cream factory somewhere in Yeovil, but I've never figured out exactly where it is. My friend Circle worked there once. Cliche alert (Arooga! Arooga!): it was actually owned by an Italian family...no idea whether it still is...I must track it down one day and photograph it...)
I love the old vans best, with the Fifties style 'fins' on top; people go on about London Buses, Hackney Cabs, Red Phone Boxes, etc, as icons of (yawwwwn) 'Englishness', but the older vans are forgotten Space-Age design classics...Retro-Futuristic Ice-Cream Vans, anyone?
If you want to buy one, this looks like a good place to start.