It was the best ice cream I have ever had. A hearty scoop of honeycomb on top of a big ball of triple chocolate in a waffle cone. The consistency and flavor were unparalleled, the deliciousness only magnified by years of eating Soviet imitation ice cream.
It was one of the rare times that I decided to eat ice cream slowly, to passionately enjoy every lick with equal and measured time. Without warning, the beloved dairy treat was taken out of my hand, and I was left with nothing but the bitter taste of the hatred of seagulls.
Davinia and I had taken the weekend to explore Cornwall, the part of England that stretches to the southwest tip of Great Britain. We had hoped to do some coastal camping, but heavy rains at the first village we visited, St. Agnes, drove us to find indoor recreation and a hostel for the evening.
The next morning, we broke up the drive to St. Ives with one of the most beautiful trail runs I have been on yet, high on the coastal cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean with plentiful amounts of oxygen blowing in from the sea. After the run, we arrived in St. Ives, where we explored the crowded beaches and attempted stand-up paddle boarding.
We meandered the cobblestone streets, checked out the Tate St. Ives, and even had some fish tacos for dinner. It was a fantastic day, and the only thing that could have made it better would be some ice cream. When we first arrived in St. Ives, we had walked by a shop on the harbor called “The Moomaid of Zennor,” which stuck in my mind throughout the day like a unique bovine siren call.
We both ordered double scoops of perfection, which I proposed we should enjoy while watching the sunset from the steps of the harbor, just outside the shop’s doors. Much like a person on drugs, my mind was consumed by the frozen dairy treat. I could only make barely understandable comments about how fantastic the dessert was in between licks, oblivious to the world around me, losing track of time and space as I became one with the food. Little did I know evil forces were spying from above on my every bite, every movement, and calculating their attack.
Davinia and I sat, with only inches between us, her laughing at the pleasure I was deriving from the ice cream that was increasing melting away my ability to communicate, when the unexpected happened very quickly.
There was a flash of something suddenly too close in my peripheral vision, like when someone is suddenly standing behind you but you didn’t hear them sneak up. I flinched as a white feathered wing brushed my face and something knocked the ice cream out of my hand. I instinctively shouted out of shock and confusion, as if some just punched me in the face. The flash ended with the criminal on the ground, only a couple of meters away, with my once perfect ice cream in its beak.
I jumped off of the step we were sitting on and kicked at the bird, who dropped my cone and flew off. I picked up the cone in shock, the bird had hardly done anything to it than stick its nasty beak into the cream and broken most of the cone’s shell, but it was more than enough to contaminate the ice cream beyond consumption. I put the dessert in the bin and slumped back on the step next to Davinia. This ice cream was not cheap enough to simply walk in for another scoop, so I just sat forlorn as Davinia finished her unadulterated dessert.
This entire event was witnessed by another couple sitting near us, who provided sympathy, but were probably pretty confused why the guy next to them just screamed an F bomb pretty loud and then kicked a bird. I didn’t care, though. In my heartbroken state I only found a deep, deep hatred of seagulls, which may never be avenged.
Not five minutes later, a man was walking in front of us, also enjoying a hearty dollop of goodness from the Moomaid of Zennor. He strolled slowly near a Jeep, where, on the roof, we watched a seagull eye the man’s cone, wait until the man was just past the vehicle, and swoop in over his shoulder and take the ice cream out of his hand too. He looked in shock as the gull swallowed his double scoop whole, and then the man looked at us to affirm that someone else had seen what had just happened. We confirmed that the same had happened to us, and that, despite the perfection of the ice cream, perhaps the shop should warn people that the seagulls of St. Ives are clearly ice cream junkies, ready to lie, cheat, and steal to get their next fix.
If you think like a British person, then you might be thinking “the town council should do something!” Well, they tried several things, and, as the Telegraph can tell you, the state has ultimately admitted defeat in the war on the ice cream thieves of St. Ives.
There is simply no way to defeat them, they are simply too powerful. Be warned.