greenbottletree











{18/11/2012}   Sweeties

I have fond memories of Holly House Stores, known throughout Bearsted for its fine selection of penny sweets and jars of sweets.  Holly House Stores closed down while I was still a regular, which was very upsetting.  But in those days there were plenty of other sweet shops.  Nowadays, there is a resurgence of the old fashioned sweet shop and I do sometimes bravely ask for “a quarter” rather than “100 grams”, though it would appear that I can’t consume as many sweets as I once could for a paper bag of a quarter lasts quite a while longer these days.

There are some sweets I can’t bring myself to eat again, for example rainbow crystals (acidic sugar).  There are others, for example beer bottles, that are ruined slightly by my grown-up realisation that there are a lot of unnatural additives in them to get them tasting as they do, which is not at all like beer.  Yet there are some that don’t disappoint, for example rhubarb and custard, bon bons and pineapple cubes (they still lacerate the inside of your mouth with their square shape and hard sugar crystals).

But there is one sweet that holds a new kind of fascination for me, sherbet lemons.  I would occasionally see someone through work who I would always have a nice, light-hearted chat with.  She once told me that her way of remembering people is to associate them with different types of food and I, she told me, am a sherbet lemon.  I think I like being a sherbet lemon and they were one of my favourites as a child.  However, I rarely eat them now as they sting like fury if you have any kind of cut or sore in your mouth or on your lips.  She told me I am a sherbet lemon because I was usually smiley and sunny (she must have caught me on good days!).

As a result of being a sherbet lemon, I have often contemplated what sweets my friends would be.  I definitely know a Fire Ball, an aniseed ball, Dolly Mixtures, a barley twist (mmm, I haven’t tried them in my adult life, they might be nice), a pear drop and a liquorice and blackcurrant sweet.  I am enjoying thinking of friends and what sweets they might be!

Sweets to me are better than chocolate and a life without sweets would be very sad.  I have shared sweets with friends and even with people I don’t know on planes and trains.  I am also convinced you can tell a lot about a person by the way they consume hard boiled sweets.  I know people who crunch them immediately and those who keep them in their mouth for ages until all that is remaining is a miniscule shard of sweet.  As for me, I try to make them last as long as possible but I usually crunch them about half way through.  But sometimes I crunch immediately and sometimes I make it right to the final shard, a great achievement.

Whatever sweet you are, however you eat them, I am pretty sure that everyone has a childhood association with sweets.  Here are some more that come to mind: flying saucers, popping candy, cola cubes, sherbet pips, army and navy, milk bottles, aniseed twists, chocolate limes, midget gems, jelly tots, rainbow crystals, alphabet refresher type sweets …

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