Marino makes-a the best ice cream in Creetown

MARINO Sisi, owner of the Lido Cafe in Creetown, is still making traditional Italian ice-cream every day, even though he celebrates his 91st birthday tomorrow.

Marino, who stills works from 8.30am to 5pm, seven days a week, says the secret recipe he has been using was passed down to him from his father and is know only to him and his wife Betty.

Asked what will happened when he dies, Marino answers without hesitation: "The recipe will die with me.

"To make good Italian ice-cream is first to thing you need to have good milk and then the secret bit is the love that goes into making it."

Born in Anderson in Glasgow in 1919, Marino came to Creetown with his family in 1922 and is so steeped in the time honoured traditions of cafe culture jokes that he was "serving fish suppers when he was three years old!"

He certainly has no intention of retiring. "I'm no good at anything else!", he laughs.

The cafe is his life and he still enjoys meeting both the locals and the many tourists who make a special detour off the A75 especially for the ice-cream.

Many also stop there just to pass the time of day with this amazing character who looks and acts like a man half his age.

He loves the community spirit in Creetown and still sees a buzz in the cafe each year when the 'Ferrytoon' is invaded by devotees of the country music festival.

He loves music, especially jazz and sings every night to Betty in the style of his favourites crooners Dean Martin and Tony Bennett.

But he has fears for the future of small family businesses like the Lido.

He explains: "The supermarkets are killing places like this.

"We sell a bottle of orange squash for 1.19 but you can get it in the supermarkets for 50 pence."

Marino and Betty, who is still working alongside him at the age of 87, will be celebrating tomorrow with their family - son and daughter, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

No doubt, the "Godfather of Creetown" will also be making a birthday batch of his wonderful ice-cream - just as he has done every day, bar holidays, for the past 87 years.