Saturday 8 April 2017



Tasty, but not the eggs I am looking for...

No, the title isn’t some kind of lame Mr Burns impression or pun. It wasn’t even intended to reflect that it’s Easter, or be a nod to Lent. It was prompted by thinking about some really rather lovely tuck shop sweets that I used to buy when I was in the Cub Scouts. I know that when you are hovering around double digits in age, it’s quite easy to be impressed by anything, even reaching double digits in age. After Cubs, I used to buy about 20 pence worth of tuck shop bounty. That’s probably confusing as I’m not sure they sold Bounty, let alone one for that price. 20 pence used to buy me ten jelly fried eggs, a 5p Highland Toffee bar, and probably the last 5p went on something frivolous like fizzy cola bottle jellies. I'll take each in turn, as I did back then actually:

Jelly fried eggs : I’m not sure if this is what they were really called. I know we called them fried eggs, but to someone ignorant of sweet-based lingo, they might think we had a genuine fried egg placed in our eager palms, ready to suck at the yoke before someone offered us an ill-timed high five. These jelly fried eggs were lovely. The whites were soft and pleasant to chew, the yolks chewier and tasted different enough to approximate the difference found between real egg yolks and whites. I miss those jelly fried eggs, because the ones you can by today are utter trash. They are either so hard that they feel like the thing the dentist puts in your mouth to take an impression, or they are so bland that you might as well suck at the breeze as a van drives past, you’d get more flavour (and probably a lung problem too before long).

Highland Toffee bar : For 5p, this was the investment, or long term purchase. This flat bar that was so very attached to its wrapper, once opened, would last you the walk home, and then some. It was a sheet of toffee basically, thin and bendy. Some serious web searching just now (in expression, if not time spent) didn't really throw up anything that looked like the bar I used to buy. The ones on the image search either look too long, too skinny or too new. Or old (just to cover all bases). I must make the effort to try a new one at some point, although I will brace myself for the disappointment that I can predict looming over the horizon.

Finally, we get to the fizzy cola jellies (or even the non-fizzy ones, depending on what was left): Modern day equivalents certainly seem acceptable when compared to the memory of the ones of my youth. Naturally you can get the really cheap and nasty ones that taste like bleach, or the amazing ones that actually taste of actual cola. Of course, you also get the fifty shades of cola in-between. It’s nice that some things don’t seem to change too much, although tell that to someone who grew up with cola cubes and I’m sure they’ll chase you on their penny farthing like the cheeky git you are.

So while you are scoffing your chocolate and sweets this Easter, pause and wonder what delights you might never have tried and that are probably now lost to us, unless someone had the forsight to place some in a time capsule somewhere. I truly believe that the first time traveller will be someone tired of their chocolate bars growing smaller and their jelly sweets tasting like pre-chewed gum. Okay, I don’t truly believe that, but it made me giggle.