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Pizza van's slice of the action just got bigger

By Ivan Little

It's the small world which is getting bigger. For Martin McCann and Ian Simms are expanding their mobile pizza business Piccolo Mondo at the Minnowburn, which has become a slice of heaven for walkers, bikers and joggers along the Lagan Towpath.

The two friends who make their pizzas in a wood-burning oven in the back of their distinctive old Citroen H-van are doubling the days they're open at the Minnowburn car park near Shaw's Bridge from two to four.

And there's no doubting the freshness of their pizza toppings as Ian and Martin grow their own vegetables in National Trust allotments just up the Edenderry Road.

And most of what they can't grow – like their flour, their yeast, their pepperoni and even their salt – they import from Italy to follow an original pizza recipe from Naples.

The two men came up with the idea for their Italian meals on wheels after their daughters met at a dance class in Belfast. And realising they had so much in common Martin and Ian hit on the Piccolo Mondo name because it means small world.

"The more beers we had, the more we liked the notion of setting up the business together, '' says Martin.

"I've had a fascination with making pizzas for years now since holidaying in Italy and Ian has long been a fan of old vintage vans.

"So Piccolo Mondo was the perfect combination and after six months of preparations we got the pizza van on the road. We also sell soup and we cater at private parties."

Initially they were only open at Minnowburn at weekends but now Martin and Ian are firing up their oven on Mondays and Wednesdays too when they hope their van will be a vehicle for success too.

Daddy Winker was ... a cattle man

Wow. That's what I call a response.

A fortnight ago, I wondered if anyone knew where Daddy Winker's Lane in the Cregagh area of Belfast got its unusual name.

And I was inundated with replies. Not all with the same explanation, it has to be said.

But the consensus is that Daddy Winker was actually Robert Wilson, a cattle dealer and butcher who lived in the 1880s in a house called Glenbanna on the Cregagh Road and apparently, children gave him his nickname because he had big bushy eyebrows and used to chase them away as they tried to nick his apples.

Hockey star's presidential coup

Another former ice hockey player with Northern Irish connections is making the headlines in Canada.

Just weeks after Lurgan-born star, Geraldine Heaney, was inducted into the country's hall of fame, Brendan Shanahan, whose mother Rosaleen was from Belfast, has become president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a club which promises much, apparently, but delivers little.

Brendan was one of Canada's finest ice hockey players and once talked about setting up an Ireland international team composed of the country's second generation Irishmen.

Poignant pink ribbon pays tribute

A tiny piece of pink went almost unnoticed in the explosion of Giro colour last weekend. Yet it was one of the most poignant and singularly appropriate gestures of the entire event.

A tiny pink ribbon had been tied on to the white 'ghost bike' which sits as a memorial to cyclist Michael Caulfield at the Ormeau Bridge in Belfast.

The father of four died after his bicycle was in a collision with a lorry there in April 2011, but he obviously hasn't been forgotten...

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