As a child, like many of us, I loved my sweets. I was spoilt for choice when visiting the local sweet shop, keenly clutching a couple of pennies in my hand.
It’s true to say that my children grew up eating far fewer sweets than I ever did. A shift to healthier eating and more awareness of dental care means that we have tended to limit the amount of sweets eaten by our own children. Occasional sweets have always been a treat, but not to the extent that I can remember having them.
Saturdays in particular were always a big sweet day for me. I used to go to my local library to change my books (I was an avid reader even then) and then call in at the neighbouring Aladdin’s cave of a sweet shop. This trip in itself was a bit contradictory as I was always aware of the big sign in the library that read, “Sticky sweets are fun to eat, but please don’t eat them in the library!”
I always used to spend ages pondering my choice of sweets – there were just so many on offer. Jars of sherbet pips, Tom Thumb drops, aniseed twists, cola cubes, banana splits (which resembled lemon slices for some reason), apple tarts, rhubarb and custard – the list was endless. Then as if that wasn’t enough there were all the penny sweets, that you could mix and match into one big bag – flying saucers, chocolate tools, fruit salads, traffic light lollies, fizzy cubes and so on.
Finally, there were all the pre-wrapped bags and bars of goodies. One of the strangest of these was Spanish Gold, a ‘sweet tobacco’; goodness knows what the sugar content of that was alone. More commonly I opted for Spangles (particularly Old English or Fizzy Cola), Opal Mints, Treets or a Pink Panther strawberry candy bar.
Today I really don’t eat sweets, except for the odd TicTac or fruit sweet on a long journey, although I still adore chocolate, in all its forms. However, I still have fond memories of my visits to the local sweet shop.
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