Because I never went sweet shopping on my own, any that I normally ate were an adult’s choice. Those that were passed around at school were such things as – ooh, I think I’ll make a list.
Parma violets. Strangely flavoured with the scent of violets, a small, convex disc. They came in small tubes.
Love Hearts. Also in a tube, a bit bigger discs in pastel colours and tasting of sherbet, each one had a little motto written in a heart shape.
Spangles. Sadly, these are no longer made. Square this time, in a tube, little boiled sweets, fruit-flavoured. The tubes contained several different flavours usually, but I think there were individual ones too. If they got damp or too hot, they stuck together.
Refreshers. Sherbet discs, the size of Love Hearts but concave.
Hundreds and Thousands. Nowadays, you’d call them sprinkles and put them on cupcakes. You got those weighed out by the quarter from a big jar.
Sherbet Pips/Fruit pips.
Sherbet Lemons. Boiled sweets, quite sharp and acidic with a centre of fizzy sherbet.
Chocolate covered raisins or peanuts.
Various chews. When my children were – well, children, they were penny chews but, as Sandy said yesterday, Black Jacks used to be 4 for a penny, and the pennies were pre-decimal ones too. You’d have had 48 for a shilling in the early 60s, but that would equal 5 penny chews.
Oh, there are so many! I’ll move on to those my mother sometimes okayed, or that came in selection boxes that I might be given for Christmas
Sherbet Fountain. Now, that was one that was fully authorised. Indeed, for a while it was a Saturday treat – no idea if my father ate one but the rest of us did. A cardboard tube with a yellow wrapper, it was filled with powdered sherbet and you sucked it up through a hollow liquorice tube. If the tube got clogged, you could blow or suck through the other end, but then it got clogged again because it was damp. You can still get them, I see, but they’ve put a plastic cover over the liquorice stick.
Liquorice sticks. Hard and chewy – exactly the same now as they ever were – well, they were last time I bought them, which was a couple of years ago.
One of the few sweets that were weighed out at the sweetshop and I was bought sometimes was Aniseed Balls. I loved them – but, of the ‘like it or hate it’ sort of taste, I usually am in the first category. A small, hard ball, aniseed flavoured and very hard. You sucked the sweet for a long time until you got near the middle, then you bit it in half and there was an anise seed to nibble. You can still buy them, but they don’t have the seed any more, chiz chiz.
Polo Mints. Well, the mint with a hole. I seem to remember they were a ha’penny cheaper than other similar tubes? Tuppence ha’penny instead of thruppence, am I right?
Fruit Gums and Fruit Pastilles. Again, my mother quite liked those and they did have fruit in them, so she reckoned they were the best of a bad bunch. Fruit pastilles are still delicious, but they’ve ruined the tubes of fruit gums by making them much softer. The originals still come in small boxes though, each flavour having a different shape. They do actually taste of the individual fruit.
There were various chocolate bars, of course. I remember you could still, back in the early ’60s, buy a Cadbury’s chocolate bar for 1d – a penny, that is, which is just under half today’s penny. It was very small, obviously. I loved nuts and anything hard and crunchy and was particularly fond of Fruit and Nut chocolate – still am, though I haven’t eaten any for several years.
Mars Bars, Milky Way – messy child that I was, I’d nibble the chocolate off first and then eat the middle, Crunchie, Marathon (now Snickers and not really approved of because peanuts were considered a bit Transatlantic and therefore not quite the thing). Cadbury’s Flake – yum. Maltesers.
Walnut Whips – now, they’re still about but they’re a travesty. It’s a cone of milk chocolate, piped so it swirls, with a filling of – oh goodness, how would you describe the filling? A whipped coffee cream, very light. It had half a walnut on top of the chocolate. But the thing is, until about forty years ago, there was another walnut half on the chocolate base, half embedded, with the coffee cream on top of it. And you ate the first nut, then gradually nibbled away at the substantial chocolate cone, licking away the filling, until you were down to the chocolate base. Then you worked away with your front teeth at the nut and finally ate the base. It lasted ages. Then they saved money by leaving out the second walnut and half the point was lost.
Smarties have been spoiled now. The colours have changed – maybe they don’t have artificial colouring in now? But they’re paler and dreary and the texture has changed in an odd way. Or maybe I’ve grown out of Smarties.
Of course, I wasn’t allowed bubble gum and chewing gum was pretty dodgy too. I finally learned to blow bubble gum when my children were old enough to teach me.
Sweets I didn’t like. Not a big fan of Bounty bars. Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar – dark chocolate filled with white fondant icing. I disliked them enough not to bother eating them. Anything with a gooey filling – still don’t like them, they’re known as ‘slimes’ in our house. When we have a box of chocolates, the coffee, orange and strawberry slimes are always left at the end. Of course, if it’s lovely real fruit purée in the filling it’s a different matter. I hated Edinburgh Rock, which is tooth-hurtingly sweet.
Oh, back to those I liked … Butterscotch and any sort of toffee.
I’ll have to finish this another time, I’ve got to go out now. The Cyder Club Wassailing, with a barn dance and hog roast and at least, as I’m the driver nowadays at night, I’ll have every excuse not to rot my innards with too much mulled home-made cider.