Saturday, 30 December 2017

Ice cream spiders

It's warm and sunny in Wellington today. Sure, there's wind - but that's to remind us of which city we live in. After a few wintry days inside, I decided to spend an hour wrangling the hebe bushes and deadheading the proteas that have been thriving since the early arrival of summer this year.

It was hot work and reminded me of summer days when the whole family got stuck into outdoor work at home. I don't remember having much success in Mum's garden but I do remember our reward if we helped: Dad would make us an ice cream spider - and there was nothing better in the middle of a hot afternoon when we'd been working hard.

Here's how it worked. We'd sit at the kitchen bench and watch Dad place one or two scoops of ice cream into a tall glass that was kept especially for this occasion (along with the extra tall teaspoons that could reach all the way to the bottom). He'd bring it over to us and pour Coke all the way to the top. Sometimes he plonked a straw in so we could sip up the last of the liquid at the bottom. There were no cherries, berries, cream, wafers, syrup or sprinkles in our spiders; simplicity was the key. You had to be alert, though; fizzy drink and ice cream could quickly overflow if you didn't catch it in time, which is why Dad assembled them right in front of us.

These days, I'm not much of an ice cream fan and haven't drunk fizzy drinks in more than 20 years, but nostalgia hit hard while I was gardening and I suddenly felt like a spider. I settled for a handful of ripe cherries and some leftover gingerbread instead.

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