Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Sweety Shop . . .

If you were my dentist, you would know exactly what sort of childhood I had, as I have umpteen fillings and the two teeth I chomped sweeties most with are No Longer There! Boiled sweets were my downfall . . . I might have gone for chocolate, but the only chocolate bars I remember were Peppermint Creams (which I didn't really like) or the little bars of 5 boys chocolate. When I got to Secondary school, I used to walk to school and save my bus money for sweets. Ooh, that sweet-shop, I can still remember jar after jar of sweets against the wall. They were nearly all 6d a quarter. That would be 2 1/2 pence in new money. My favourite sweets were kola cubes, or toffee crunch, or blackberries and raspberries, or rhubarb and custard or . . . We never bought Quality Street - they were 2/6d (12 1/2p) per quarter. I never liked the strong-tasting things - aniseed balls (ugh), clove balls (double UGH), Coltsfoot rock, Fox's glacier mints. Even polos were too strong. Sugared Almonds were favoured by a couple of my friends, but I never bought those. Guaranteed to remove dodgy fillings were the assorted toffees (mint ones were best).

In the flat trays at the front of the counter were the 4 a penny type sweets (and yes, I am old enough to remember spending a farthing). You could choose from Black Jacks or Fruit Mix and then the sort of thing which usually turns up in packets in supermarkets today - the fried eggs, jelly rings, and assorted jelly shapes. Then there were bananas, shrimps, false teeth, bright red jelly lips, packets of pretend cigarettes, Spanish Gold which was meant to look like tobacco, jelly babies, Bassetts Allsorts, lollies on sticks, Fizzer bars, and packeted sweets like Lovehearts, Refreshers, Opal Fruits, Fruit Gums, Fruit Pastilles. You could buy gobstoppers, which lasted all day if the teacher didn't catch you, barley twist and choc stix which were like toffee crunch only in a barley twist shape. You could have multi-coloured fingers if you chose to buy lemonade powder which came in a plain variety or rainbow-hued. There were Sherbert Fountains with a liquorice "straw", and Sherbert Dabs which had a toffee on a stick which you sucked and then put back into the sherbert. There were Bootlaces - long thin strings of liquorice in strawberry or black. There were Lucky Bags or Jamboree Bags which had an assortment of sweets in them, but you never knew what until you opened them.

On hot summer days we would go down in our lunch hour and buy frozen Jubbly drinks, which were an almost triangular shape and lasted ages, though it paid not to suck all the flavour out so you were just left with a lump of ice!

The one sweet I remember - though from another shop - that no-one I have ever mentioned them to has ever heard of were Gooseberry Balls. They smelt ghastly, but tasted wonderful. Did they sell them in your sweety shop?

Today's photo is from Ross-on-Wye - OK, you've noticed it's a pub and not a sweety shop, but it's a lovely building all the same.

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