Something Sweet

For some reason I have had this song going through my head all day:

The opening lines made me think of the various treats I would buy myself with my pocket money.  Despite all of the efforts that my parents would make to get me to purchase something healthy, they failed on almost every occasion. There was one time when I bought a very large orange and tried to juice it, but that is the only time I can remember giving in. Apart from anything else, the highly disappointing juice-t0-size ratio put me off ever doing it again.

Sweets and crisps (or, if you prefer, candy and chips) were the only thing to buy. And what a variety there was. I remember when Space Invaders first came onto the market, and Snaps, the cheapest crisp on the market. And the arrival of ‘Salt’n’Shake’ crisps, a retro move in the Seventies, looking back at the days when crisp packets came with the plain crisps and a paper twist containing salt, so that you could add your own according to your taste. Opening the little blue packet in the new one, pouring it into the bag and then holding the top tight whilst you shook might have reduced half of the crisps to crumbs, but it also put the fun into eating unhealthily.

Then there were the sweets. In fairness, I have to say that my parents had very few rules about which we could and could not buy. There was, after a while, a ban on what were then marketed as sweet cigarettes and sweet tobacco, but apart from that we were free to buy whatever we could get someone to sell to us, and that included sweets (and, on one occasion, a miniature of Bell’s Whiskey, but that isn’t nearly as interesting a story as it sounds).

The good thing about this policy was that I quickly found out what I did and did not like. Turkish Delight was too sweet and smelled of rosewater. Fry’s Creme things were just horrible. And I hated the way that Flying Saucers went all papery on your tongue.

Some things were too expensive to buy regularly. A Bluebird Toffee bar would last for ages, sometimes days of sitting on a saucer in the kitchen being nibbled at, but cost almost all of your money. Highland Toffee bars lasted hardly any time once they softened up even though they were almost as expensive, and life was all about instant gratification in those days. In fact, even a sherbet fountain was a bit of a luxury (although it did give me a life long love of liquorice).

The thing I remember most, though, is the same thing that everyone of my generation remembers fondly – the great ‘lost’ sweet that was the Texan bar. Promoted by a cartoon cowboy who was continually able to talk his way out of trouble by insisting that no-one do anything until he finished his Texan bar (which usually resulted in everyone else falling asleep) it really did live up to it’s promise. They took ages to eat.

Apparently we don’t have them any more because the miners’ strike of the 1980s led to the factory being closed. So that is another thing to blame Arthur Scargill for. But here is the most famous of the ads

Go on, remind me of some other historic treats that I have missed


About Richard

Just your less-than-average married father of one
This entry was posted in General Stuff, Happy Things and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Something Sweet

  1. Marc says:

    When they re-released Texan bars in 2005 for a limited period my wife bought me a case of the things. She didn’t steal all that many either. Best present ever.

  2. Karen Patterson says:

    Spangles! And Pacers!

    On the day you bought the orange, I bought a pencil – we must have had a lecture on being healthy or something. And I do remember persuading the shop lady to sell us the whisky too 🙂

    • theskiver says:

      I even remember how much the whiskey was. You could get a lot for 49p in those days; nowadays you wouldn’t even get a Texan bar for that (theoretically speaking)

  3. 5currantbuns says:

    Ah yes Pacers…and Trebor mints which were Robert backwards…highland toffee bars were an addiction at 5p each… what I remember more is the cost of things and how much you could get for your money…”Salmonds” or “Grinolds” no one could agree on its name was the shop around from the school where they would sell you “10ps worth of” whatever..sherbet pips, cola cubes, pinaple chunks ,Torpedoes…there is a lovely old fashioned sweet shop in Leicester that gives me and Tim a “fix” of our childhood

    Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Shrimps…all of which are still available at our local post office

    • theskiver says:

      We didn’t have sweetshops like that when I was a kid, though. The best place to go for shrimps etc now are branches of Julian Graves, because they also do all kinds of healthy things by the 100g, too, so you feel virtuous going in there even though you are buying teeth-rotting stuff

  4. I used to buy a quarter of wine gums from a shop near my school for 4p (16p per pound) and savour every last one, always eating them in the same colour order.

    I’m on metformin now…

  5. Hazel says:

    now you can only eat a fry’s turkish delight a) with a hot cup of tea and b) with somesort of galaxy chocolate to follow. I do this religiously when I know it is going to be a bad day. The lady in the Co-Op can now tell before speaking to me that it is a bad day. I also know that a turkish delight will still be in the cupboard at home for when I want it – no one else in our house likes them, although the dogs might give it a go, if they knew where it was.

    I used to love Cabanas, chocolate filled with coconut and cherries and moon dust. I think you can still get moon dust. For some reason I also liked the little prawns and bananas that were a penny each. I wonder why I would ever consider a prawn as a sweet and I have never liked bananas!

    Oh and Mars bars taste infinitely better sliced very thinly and Double deckers must be eaten crispy bit first!

    • Richard says:

      I vaguely remember Cabanas, but I don’t like coconut that much.

      The bananas and particularly the prawns are still a favourite of mine – again, Julian Graves is the place to go

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