Friday, 19 July 2013

I scream The other day I readily paid a fiver for a couple of ice creams from a van outside a park. Summer came so late that it must have been a hard year for the vendors, and I don’t begrudge them trying to make a living while they can, and I don’t get the sense that huge profits are being creamed-off by some exploitative monopolising entrepreneur. Plus they have to put up with playing those jingles as they drive round. Last year, after several years of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic (no thanks) we got a new and more tolerable jingle from our local vans. I read recently – thanks to this entertaining article by Laura Barton - that the vendors are now allowed to play the jingle for longer. Defra have 'relaxed' (that should read 'changed') the regulations so that ‘chimes can play for up to 12 seconds rather than four; and once every two minutes, instead of three. Vans may also now chime while stationary.’ Whether or not the original conditions were ever policed reliably, for people who work nights in built up areas, and for others for other reasons, trying to sleep with windows necessarily open on hot afternoons or evenings, this could drive them screaming bonkers. I'm not too bothered with the argument about contributing to childhood obesity - there are other fish to fry as far as that debate is concerned - but this new regulation doesn’t sound like good news to me. Of course we all have to remember that people who have their curtains drawn in the day-time are assumed to be "sleeping off a life on benefits" and not deemed worthy of sympathy. Must be joined-up government then.

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