A longitudinal study
The 2023 first ice cream van sighting is anomalous in at least two ways. It involved not one but two ice creams vans in the same location at the same time. Logged at 16:41 on 21th March, the vans, Tony’s Ices and Mr Whippy, were parked up on the side of the Forest Road. Neither van was playing a chime (although from past recordings we know Tony’s Ices plays Yankee Doodle Dandy) nor were they engaged in the business of actually selling ice creams. Instead, there appeared to be some kind of ice cream man conflab going on the Tony’s Ices cab.
This marks the fourth Tony’s Ices observation in the past five years. Anecdotal evidence indicates this is also a repeat Mr Whippy observation, but the recording protocol previously employed means the study does not hold firm documentary evidence.
2023’s observation brings Thursday up to the weekday norm, leaving Wednesday as the least likely day to first see an ice cream van. The 16:41 is entirely consistent with expected 16:00-17:15 window.
This year’s expected arrival date was 9th March +5/-2 days, so the actual date falls a good 7 days outside that envelope. Clearly, arrival envelopes are a candidate for further study.
The full ice cream van data is available as a spreadsheet.
Notwithstanding the notes above, we project that next year’s first ice cream van should appear on or around the afternoon of 15th March 2024, with an envelope of +6/-5 days.