Sweets – oh, I love them. Don’t you?
I know it’s sensible and grown up and fashionable to be healthy, and I am, but I do have a thing for sweets. Even more than chocolate, which might surprise you – but then again sweets are my guilty secret.*
It started when I was a child, and my Dad had a sweet shop, which is where we grew up. Our kitchen connected to the back of the shop. Just run through the multicoloured fly tape door, and you were behind the wooden counter, polished at the front edge from generations of customers leaning there while they paid for their newspapers and milk. Behind you, rows and rows of jars of sweets, right up to the ceiling. A weighing scales with iron weights, paper bags hanging on a string loop, and a toffee hammer tied to the shelf with a long piece of twine.
What a great place to be a child. Like being in a storybook, we tumbled in and out of the shop all day long, getting in the way, reading the comics, eyeing up the sweets.
Can you imagine? Sweets all day long! At least, that’s what everyone thought. In reality, my Dad was fairly strict most of the time, and we only had an allotted amount of pocket money to spend each week: 10p! But above and beyond that, he was randomly over-the-top generous and hugely open handed, especially if you helped out a bit. Sweep the floor = a big ice-cream from the ice-cream machine, with a chocolate flake in it. Serve ice-creams on a Saturday morning to the local kids = a quarter pound of sherbet pips, and a handful of Mars Bar.**
So is it surprising that I love sweets? Probably not, though my eldest brother has left them behind. Not I – I like to have a few sweets in my pocket when I go out for a walk, headphones in, brain full of thoughts. A pocketful of sweets just makes everything nicer.
It’s always seemed important to me to have favourites, too. Everyone should have a favourite sweet – surely it’s part of learning about yourself. What do you like? My favourites have changed over the years, but there are two that have endured. Liquorice in any form, and most of all, fizzy cola bottles.
I still enjoy that sharp fizz and tingle on the tongue. Sour and sweet all at once.
Just one more.
*Not such a secret now. I’ll have to move my stash.
**Quite a skill. A bit like pulling a pint, I should think. You have to perfectly judge when to start twirling the cone, or the whole thing collapses. You need a steady hand 🙂