Thursday, 23 April 2020

Shortage of subject matter.

It is now almost five weeks since I went any further than just walking round the block.   I did start my car the other day and sit in it with the engine running for a few minutes.   One side effect of this though is that it is harder to come up with subject matter for my daily post.   The weather, the garden, friends phone calls, television - then I begin to run out.   When I was on the farm there would always be something regardless of Covid 19 because, let's face it, farm life doesn't stop for anything - calves and lambs are still being born, jobs are still being carried out on the fields, animals are still getting sick and needing the vet.

So - what to write about.   Well I passed a pleasant half hour in the far distant past after lunch today.   My son brought me round some rhubarb from his garden and left it on my doorstep.   I intended to make a rhubarb crumble but never got round to it.   I had plenty of milk so I made a pint of custard and then gently stewed the rhubarb.   Rhubarb and custard for pud today and it was delicious.   And, as I was eating it I suddenly thought of rhubarb and custard lollipops - can you still get them?   If not - are you old enough to remember when you could get them?   Lolly on a stick - half red transparent very sweetened rhubarb taste and the other half creamy custard looking.   Mmmmm

And that brought to mind other sweets we used to dash to the sweet shop with our pocket money for.  There is an old-fashioned sweet shop in Hawes, a little town further up Wensleydale from us - and our newspaper shop stocks a couple of shelves of big jars of the old fashioned varieties.   My late father in law only ever went out on Friday mornings when he put on his best suit, polished his shoes and went in to the Auction Mart.   He always went into the Newsagents to pay the paper bill and to buy a pound of boiled sweets (a few from every jar!) - they would last him until the next Friday.   He would empty them into a tin in the cupboard behind his chair and if he liked you he might offer you one - a peppermint humbug, a gob stopper, a pin cushion.   Tooth-destroyers all.

Now most 'sweets' seem to be chocolate-coated and wrapped but non the less bad for your teeth I suppose.   But weren't those old sweets good (or is it just the memory) - coconut mushrooms, buttered brazils (my mother's favourite), Pontefract cakes (you can still get these).   Did you have a faourite?  If so, can you still get them these days or are you just left with the memory?

37 comments:

Debbie said...

Many many years ago my grandmother (who lived alone) complained of a really bad gastric upset that lasted for days. We couldn't pinpoint the cause at all and were concerned. We found out eventually that my uncle had given her a huge bag of "Pomfret"(aka Pontefract) cake mis-shapes from the factory shop and she'd eaten the lot in one day!

Granny Sue said...

I just looked on Amazon because the idea of lollipops flavored like that intrigued me. And yes, you can still get them! Although they are probably not as good as you remember. They also had rhubarb & custard boiled sweets. But just what is a boiled sweet? I've never heard of them here in the states? https://www.amazon.com/Original-Bonds-London-Rhubarb-Custard/dp/B07W6WRYT9/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=rhubarb+custard+lollipops&qid=1587668543&sr=8-1

Jennyff said...

Lemon sherbets and pear drops, both of which could make the roof of my mouth sore, if I ate too many. My dad ate glacier mints which I didn’t like much.

JayCee said...

We used to buy mixed loose sweets which were weighed out and came in paper bags. My favourites were milk bottles (no idea if these are still available), and the little chocolate discs covered in hundreds and thousands. Luckily for our teeth, these were only a rare treat.

Kathy said...

So enjoy reading your blog each day, like you I am in isolation and apart from my garden I have not a lot to talk about. But, keep writing your blog, even if it's just to tell us about your walk or something growing or visiting your garden. Please take care. Oh, sweets, yes, Coconut mushrooms come to mind, not sure if they are still available. Mum used to buy then occasionally, funds permitting, and it would be our Sunday afternoon treat shared with Dad. Great to have wonderful childhood memories.

Anonymous said...

Hi Weaver, my mum always had a paper packet of Callard and Bowsers Butterscotch, each piece was individually wrapped.
On very rare occasions we were allowed a piece.
Oh my goodness what a treat.
Love Jane

Sue said...

I used to adore Pontefract cakes.

Heather said...

There is an oldfashioned newsagent and tobacconist shop here which still sells sweets in jars. I was delighted to notice recently that they stocked my Grandfather's favourites - Pear Drops. I would cycle down to the village shop to get them for him and he would always offer me some, but would never accept any of my sweets, bless him. I recently succumbed to Raspberry and Coconut 'something or others' and they were delicious. I daren't buy any more!

Unknown said...

You can still buy rhubarb and custard sweets.
I hope you have no side effects from your rhubarb today. I have to be careful as they are a great laxative
Sylvia from Northern Ireland

Kelly said...

Our rhubarb is ready here in Oregon, USA. Last week I baked a little rhubarb cake and meant to make some rhubarb sauce to spoon over the top, only we ate it too quickly! I was looking at recipes just this morning and thought rhubarb custard sounds good... but we have no cream. The candy you mentioned is available on Amazon, but I can’t find lollipops, just hard candy. I ordered some... thanks for the idea.
Your blog is daily reading for me. Thank you very much for allowing us a glimpse into your world. xxx

Bonnie said...

Oh my goodness how the thought of these sweets from the past take me back! I don't remember some of those but they may not have been available here in the U.S. I remember others that you just don't see any longer. We do have a restaurant chain here (Cracker Barrel) that has a gift shop with many of the candies from the old days. It's always fun to see them. See, you came up with a really good subject for a post!

Bovey Belle said...

I loved the hard boiled sweet with a chocolate inner - it was a caramel colour and they also did a barley-twist shaped version. It's name is annoyingly on the tip of my tongue. Rhubarb and custard were nice too, and one shop had something called Gooseberry Balls, which no-one else has ever come across, but they were wicked on the teefs too! Not mad on Gobstoppers (no flavour), or anything aniseed (yuk), but I did love boiled sweets. Blackberries and raspberries were another one which springs to mind. There's a fabulous shop in Lyndhurst, in the New Forest in Hampshire, which sells all the old fashioned sweets . . .

the veg artist said...

Parma violets! I've just googled them to check the spelling - and they still make them. Now, I need some!!

SpikesBestMate said...

Our little corner shop used to sell 'Black Jacks', 4 for a penny. They were little liquorice toffees that turned your tongue black. We loved them. The shop also sold 'Penny Sherberts'- a tube of white sherbert powder with a liquorice straw to suck up the powder. Get it wrong and you'd sneeze your head off. If anyone caught me with a Penny Sherbert nowadays they would probably think I was snorting cocaine!

Chris said...

Chocolate coated sugary ginger. I think you can still get it. That was my fave!

Ellen D. said...

I love your post about the "old" days, altho, I have never heard of any of those treats. I remember we had candy cigarettes and little wax bottles filled with a sweet syrup! Or those little sugar dots on paper that you would peel off to eat. You can write lots of posts about your wonderful memories, Pat. I would love to hear more about where you grew up and what it was like. Who did you date and how did you decide to marry the men you did? I bet you have some terrific stories. I look forward to all of your posts! Thanks so much!

Karen Noonan said...

Hi Pat,
While on holiday in Yorkshire, my guide took me to Pately Bridge and The oldest lolly shop in the world.
It was a steep street, but when all this is over suggest a Sunday drive with your son and indulge yourself.
Being Australian I didn't know a lot of the lollies, but still found enough to tempt me.

Joanne Noragon said...

Licorice! Black licorice. It's not the same these days; too sweet.

Gail, northern California said...

What an excellent idea from Karen Noonan! You've earned it!

A lot of us are already making our lists of what we miss most and what is high on our list to do first. For me, it's a strawberry milkshake at a sweet little restaurant called The Loose Caboose.

As for favorite old-times sweet, it would have to be Sugar Daddy (hard caramel on a stick). They're still available but I wouldn't dare...too much very expensive dental work, especially crowns.

If you're at loose ends for subject matters, I would love to hear more about your childhood.

Cro Magnon said...

I remember Rhubarb and Custard sweets, but they weren't lollies. These days I treat myself with dried apricots.

Derek Faulkner said...

Aniseed balls, tiger nuts, fruit salads, love hearts. There was also something that was a favourite of mine - it looked like a stick of rawhide but as you chewed on it it became soft and sweet.
And the sweet, imitation cigarettes that you had in the corner of your mouth like an adult and hoped that one would tell you off for under-age smoking, at which point you would suck it into your mouth and chew it up.

Librarian said...

I recognise some of them but of course me having grown up in a different country and a few decades later, we had other favourites.
Maybe you know the "Oldest Sweets Shop" in England (one of several who claim the same!) in Pately Bridge; I liked the shop but did not buy all that much there, spoiled for choice, so difficult to decide on them!

Sue said...

I remember cocoanut kisses, milk bottles ( yes, you can still get them), dolly mixture, musk sticks, clinkers, jelly babies and peppermint leaves coated in sugar. There were different kinds of toffees - sadly I can’t remember them all, but there were some with soft centres. And the chocolate discs covered in hundreds and thousands were called freckles...
Thank you for the memories.

Sue in Suffolk said...

What lovely memories in all the comments.
There was a corner shop just over the road from our primary school and sometimes we would buy something. I liked Fruit Salads which were small chewy things individually wrapped and 4 for a penny. Or Space Ships which were made from that dissolving rice paper and filled with sherbet. Sherbet Fountains with hollow liquerice to suck the sherbet through

If we went to town we could go in a sweet shop and buy 2 ounces of something or a quarter (pound) if we were lucky. I remember something called Crispets which were coconutty chocolate and salted peanuts of course, which we weren't allowed to eat while walking about as they could get stuck in your throat and you would choke to death!!


thelma said...

Gosh all those sweets bring back memories. I remember my pocket money of half-a-crown being spent on sweets. Then going home, taking my library books to the bottom of the garden to the sand pit - sweets, books and flowers - perfect.

Anonymous said...
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Jules said...

I love to visit an old fashioned sweet shop, where you can ask for a quarter of instead of 115g. My favourites are liquorice torpedoes. X

Alphie Soup said...

A pound of boiled sweets each week! That's a lot of sugar to consume in a year.
I recall buttered Brazil's, they sometimes appeared around Christmas time down here as a seasonal treat. Just lovely, they were.
Alphie

Tom Stephenson said...

For the first four years of my life my father ran a sweet shop in Surrey. After we moved and he left the shop, we spent Summers in Brighton, with my aunt and uncle - who also ran a sweet shop. I developed an unhealthy preference for American Hard Gums.

Eleanor said...

Like your Mother, my favourites were Buttered Brazils. I also loved Old English flavoured Spangles, every one in the pack had a different flavour. We go to Hawes often to the caravan site and always make a beeline for that little sweet shop.

Derek Faulkner said...

Of course those were the days when you could enjoy eating things without government health warnings ringing in your ears, and as Pat has proved, people still lived to an old age.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I remember most of them courtesy of the occasional visits of my great-uncle George, known to all generations of our family as Sweet Uncle George because he always had a tin of sweets with him which he would give you "if you were good". Luckily the old gent had a fairly liberal attitude about what "being good" meant and you always got one or two however badly you behaved.

Fifitr said...

Goodness, this brings back memories. The sweets I always bought were sherbert pips or midget gems. I was allowed a quarter of sweets a week, which I bought on Tuesdays at the newsagent up the hill on the way to school. I would tuck the little white bag in the pockets of my wrap-round suede mini skirts and dip into it over many hours. Because they were so small they could be quietly sucked without anyone noticing and seemed to last for days. If I could have had all and any sweets it would have been different, but I was a frugal buyer even in those days and wanted value for money! My grandmother always had coconut mushrooms (expensive and gone in a flash) and my mother would only have dark walnut whips or Fry's mint cream bars, which she rationed one 'square' a night. Nowadays the only sweets I buy are Dutch salted licorice pieces for my husband. Anyone who thinks modern licorice is too sweet might prefer these.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you all so much - how I have enjoyed reading all your comments and remembering the sweets. Fry's cream chocolate bars are still available and still have that good minty cream inside (alright, I admit, I buy one sometimes). Coconut mushrooms - I adore. I could go on but instead I shall bask in all the lovely memories you have brought back to me.

CG said...

Oh, yes, aniseed balls! Somewhere in a small town in Norfolk last year, I found a shop that had big glass jars of all those sorts of sweets, including the aniseed balls. Besides Fry's chocolate cream bars which I also loved, weren't there also Fry's Five Boys choclate bars? It was always difficult to choose how to spend one's sweet ration coupons.

Anne Brew said...

As far as I can see you have a whole lifetime of experiences to draw on for your daily blog. I would hate for you to stop because there might not be anything current to report.
I grew up in Ireland so sweets were different but I do remember Spangles, not available in the Republic being brought back from visits to the North. xx

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