Maungawera Lodge near beautiful Lake Wanaka Central Otago with the historic Clutha River nearby, caters for large and small groups with luxury boutique accommodation. There are many attractions nearby including four major ski areas, Mount Aspiring National Park, all with great scenery and good hunting and fishing

Veronique's favourite ice cream flavour

"What flavour ice cream do you want please?" asked the young girl with the scoop in her tired hand.

It had been a hot day in Wanaka, many ice creams had been rolled, and Veronique and myself had succumbed, like many, to the urge for something cool and sweet by the Lake. An excuse to relax in the shade and watch the world go by.

Veronique replied "Vanilla" and I was reminded that I knew this preference was with us both almost like a bond, and that in the past many ice cream "scoopers" had commented, even asked in a questioning way, "why?", given the huge choice of the likes of Rum and Raisin and even sweet yogurt.

Why, indeed I commented to Veronique a little later, and started musing:

I was just a little boy, and grew up in those times with parents who had not yet got a car. Nor indeed even a washing machine. We walked everywhere my mum and I. Dad had a bike, so that was the other experience.

For many of these years I was a very sickly and ill child. A constant source of worry to my doting parents. Mum would walk me to the doctors often. Dr. Fitzgerald, who in my teenage years, became something of a mentor [he'd had quite a hand in my achieving excellent health]. But in my young days he had a dark and foreboding waiting room. My mum and I often opted to wait outside on the "overflow" bench under a spreading magnolia tree.

That tree and the visit to the ice cream shop 10 mins walk away afterwards, were the only highlights of my early days of Dr. visits.

..... the ice cream shop had melted chocolate always on hand as an option. The ice cream would be rolled in the cone, and then gently dipped for a delicious chocolate outer coating.

One fateful day, a sunny one, I had my ice cream reward in my right hand. My left hand was held by my mother. We both had long coats on. We were walking south along Thames St. towards the Public Gardens. We often went home this way. I think my mum liked to enjoy the prolific flowers under the ancient trees, and I loved the fountain featuring Peter Pan and Wendy, and the ducks. Mum would always have some stale bread, and caution me to keep away from the edge of the pond, as the ducks and myself would reach a frenzy of "feeding" excitement.

I'd licked the outer chocolate coat from the ice cream. I was eager, and savouring the next beginning, the Vanilla base. There was a plopping sound, a splatter, and within seconds I knew a seagull had deposited right on my ice cream!

.... and that must be why, to this day, apart from the familiar taste, never changed, of the Vanilla, that I like my ice creams a comfortable "plain". Too many of the modern flavours must just trigger the memory of Vanilla with guano topping!

Cheated......! Even to this day, by the memory.

I've asked Veronique why she requested me to write this story up for her web site:

"I think this story reflects so well what life
experience is, as a human being, whatever our age"

She has not yet revealed why she likes Vanilla!

My son Dougal aged 12, on reading the above, stated, "what were the odds....... but, I had a seagull drop a chip on me once!"

Maybe life is evolving!

Donald Lousley 13 Nov. 2005