We don't watch so much television chez nous - until recently we kept the telly on a trolley in the understairs cupboard - but we'll always switch on for Nigel Slater, and his 'Life is Sweets' documentary on BBC4 earlier this evening was no exception. Did you see it? I hope you did, it was an absolute joy.
I'm not as old as Slater but sweets and candy were as much a part of my childhood as they were of his. My father always smelt of mints - Polo, Trebor, Glacier, Imperial, Everton - he liked them all, and kept some in the glove compartment of his car and in his pockets ... a slightly fluffy mint would invariably be proffered to a crying child. My mother sucked Menthol and Eucalyptus, even when she didn't have a cold, and would buy a year's supply of Meltis Fruit Jellies every Christmas. Grandma Eva favoured Fry's Turkish Delight - "full of Eastern promise" - and her sister, my Great Aunt Edna, pear drops and aniseed balls. It was Eva and Edna who taught me how to make Scottish Tablet and Cinder Toffee, Bonfire Night favourites both.
As children our main source of sweets was the small village shop and the selection wasn't large. With our pocket money we'd buy Sherbet Fountains, tubes of Refreshers and Love Hearts and Toffos, liquorice laces and Catherine Wheels, bags of Midget Gems and Jelly Tots, and Milky Bars. There wasn't much else. But the very best sweet shop in the world was only a short walk down the hill from Grandma Eva's house in town and they stocked everything! You name it, one of the many jars on the floor to ceiling shelves probably contained it. It was possible to spend an entire afternoon choosing an ounce of this and an ounce of that, which is probably why my grandmother would limit us to the fifteen minutes it took her to pop to the butchers and back. And when she returned whatever else I'd picked there'd always be some Lemon Fizzers nestling in my paper bag. I stumbled across this vintage photo not so long ago and stowed it away to share one day ... see what's on the counter?
What are your memories of the sweets and candies you ate as a child? I'd love to know.