Earlier in the week my daughter bought me some Flying Saucers - which are sweets made of rice paper with sherbert in the middle. I hadn't had these for years and years; not since the days when my sister and I would trot off down the road and spend our sweet money at Tarry's. Tarry's was a tiny shop which sold absolutely everything, but the best thing as far as we were concerned was the wooden compartmentalized tray which held the penny sweets (and I'm talking 1d here, not 1p!) Mrs Tarry was the most remarkably patient woman, and would let you stand there for ages while you mulled over the delights of Fruit Salads, Black Jacks or milk bottles. We always hoped the shop would be empty when we went, as then we might be allowed into the kitchen behind to inspect the terrapins. Now you don't get that in Tesco.
A lot of the penny sweets seemed to feature liquorice, which I was never particularly keen on, apart from Sherbert Fountains, which can still be got today, and which I like to indulge in every now and then. The great disappointment with these was that the liqourice was never quite long enough to get to the bottom of the tube, meaning if you were messy and not that well co-ordinated (which would be me) that when you tipped the tube up to get the last of the sherbert disaster would follow. Another sweet that caused me a lot of grief at the time was Flakes, which under my inexpert munching would disintegrate into a thousand chocolatey particles, all equally determined to leap over the side of the wrapper. I am pleased to tell you I have got better at Flakes over the years, but think the adverts show Flakes eaten in the bath not because it is such a sensuous experience: it is the only way you can keep the blessed things under control.
I had some of my best sweet experiences in Tarry's, but there are so many things that have vanished now: to quote dear Cadbury's corporate speak:
"Consumer preferences change from time to time and as a major manufacturer it is
important that Cadbury maintain a wide range of products that are in line with
changing consumer demands."
There were large jars of what we in Northants called kayli, which was red sherbert which was quite incredibly vicious, toffee nuts, and little sherberty pips that came in red and yellow, and which you had to eat fast or they would pick up moisture from the air and stick together in an impentrable mass. And Amazin' Raisin Bars. I absolutely loved these but they have vanished without trace, victim of the corporate executioner.
Blimey. Have just googled Kayli to see if I could find any and IT IS A GIRL'S NAME now. Good grief. I wonder if there's any in Northants? Can't believe anyone here would call a child after a sweet, but then you never know. But I have just found this excellent site; I'd forgotten about Treets, and Spangles, and Texans. Really it's a miracle I have any teeth left at all.