Evidence that many of Fran's childhood memories are based around sugar

Well, this is all very strange, isn't it? I'm at home, in front of the fire, with no English students to teach because the government, aided and abetted by the Corona virus, has cancelled the GCSE examinations and where there is no examination there is no need for a private tutor.

Bye bye, bank balance! It was nice knowing you.

When news first broke about the Corona virus, the image that I had in my head was that of a man who drove a truck around the streets of Warwick when I was a child in the 1970s. He delivered bottles of fizzy pop made by Corona. He sold Dandelion and Burdock which tasted like a mixture of liquorice, aniseed and disinfectant, as well as a sickly-sweet concoction called Cream Soda which made your body 97% sugar for a while and corrupted all your decision-making processes.

Also for sale were lemonade, orangeade, cherryade and Band-Aid, although I may have remembered wrongly with that last one.






What I didn't know until ten minutes ago when I researched it was that the Corona brand began as an attempt by a Welsh company to mitigate the effects of drunkenness amongst Welsh miners. That attempt failed, something which could probably have been predicted, as no self-respecting Welsh miner is going to be lured away from a pint of bitter by a glass of orangeade the colour of severe jaundice or a self-tan that went sorely awry.

The innovative idea behind the Corona delivery, though, was that the drinks came in glass bottles and you were rewarded for returning those bottles with actual cash - a penny or so, probably - but enough to prove an incentive. I'd beg my grandparents to let me take out their Corona bottles then bomb off to the corner shop to buy as many flying saucers as I could. There's nothing so thrilling when you're 12 as having bits of rice paper clinging to your upper palate for half an hour.

Here's a link to the Corona story if you're interested in knowing more.

Do you remember flying saucers? If not, here's a picture.



Sorry. Not those ones. I know I was gobby as a child but not THAT gobby.

I mean these.


Ah, the memories. Flying saucers. Sherbet dabs. Black Jacks and Fruit Salads. Spangles. Space Dust.

And, oh my word, these! I'd forgotten people used to think this was ABSOLUTELY fine.


Fake fags! We thought we were Lauren Bacall, puffing away on street corners or outside the school gates like addicts.

At least those didn't have the nicotine. But sugar has a lot to answer for, too.  I spent so much time in the dentist's chair as a teenager that I felt disorientated when vertical.

I think they should bring the Corona man back. The van used to play a tune as it drove around the streets, like the ice cream man. A happy sound, full of promise.

Perhaps a name-change, though, in the current climate?



Comments

  1. Brilliant! My friend showed me photos of our local Tesco shelves late yesterday afternoon. So many were empty and the only thing left on a certain shelf were bottles of Corona! Apparently their sales have dropped world wide. I loved those sweet cigarettes. Really funny, retro post Mrs H. Just what we need - a reminder of how things were before the world went mad...

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    1. Thank you! You remember the fake fags too! We were so sophisticated, you and I. What happened? ;)

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  2. I remember all those sweets Fran and I think some old fashioned sweet shops still sell them. Sherbert dib-dabs, everlasting lollies, flying saucers, jublees, sweet cigarettes... it's a bit like Call the Midwife, in the way they bring back a whole world of nostalgia, an innocent, carefree world that was all in the eye of the beholder...

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    1. Yes, very Call the Midwife! I think the old-fashioned sweet shop in Warwick probably sells flying saucers. Might just pop in for a touch of nostalgia!

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  3. Anonymous19/3/20 11:41

    Thanks for your fun, happy-memory-provoking blog post Fran. Dandelion and Burdock was an acquired taste and I remember Cream Soda was a real treat. Joy x

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    1. Thank you, Joy! I seem to remember, also, thinking it was 'Dandelion Amburdock' for ages when a small child. Such a strange name, anyway. No wonder I got it wrong. And thank you for sharing my post on FB. Kind of you :)

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  4. My father ran a gas station at one time, so I had my share and maybe more of the junk food sold there. But one thing we didn't have and I dearly wanted was those candy cigarettes, because we didn't sell kid candy, only all-purpose things like chocolate bars and pop. So my cousin and I used to cut the pop straws up and make cigarettes out of those. I remember my older brother hunting for bottles in the swampy, grassy ditches on either side of our house, because of course people flung them out of their car windows in those days. I believe it was two cents a bottle at that time here for empties. He never got rich but I think he was able to pay for his own beginning cigarette addiction - the real ones, unfortunately.

    Wonderful post and thank you for the memories. Stay safe and well. This is a truly weird time, isn't it?

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    1. Great memories! I love your description of cutting up the straws. How desperate were we to look cool?!

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  5. I remember all those lolly types, my favourites were Black Jack which we knew as squares of licorice that left your tongue black for hours. We also collected empty bottles at the beach where we roamed from dawn to dusk all summer. Being a youngster I collected quite a few empties from teenage boys who were trying to impress their teenage girlfriends, we got sixpence per bottle, so cashing in three bottles meant a pasty and sauce for lunch, or a hotdog, or a paper wrapping of hot chips. No need to go home for lunch at all.

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    1. Your descriptions of food are so evocative, I'm drooling, but it's only 9.13 am and I've just had a Weetabix, so that's a bit greedy! 'Pasty and sauce' caught my eye particularly ... By 'sauce' is that a kind of gravy?

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  6. Great Fran. I was a child in the 50s - Corona pop used to be delivered by the milkman in Stafford, where I grew up. Interesting story about the beginnings of Corona - especially as I now live just over the border in Wales. By the way Dandelion and Burdock was MY favourite!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Jeanbythestream! I do hope that's your actual real birth certificate name ;) I know! What an interesting story! I love that kind of social history, and when it's your own history as well, all the better.

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  7. What a great blog Fran! Took me right back. Sweetie cigarettes were the bribe applied to stop us whining as we were dragged round the Freezer Centre on Epping High Street. Corona "have you passed your fizzical?" I remember well. I can see the bottles now. And I remember the stickers of the orange bubble with the smiley face doing various exercises. Great stuff!

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    1. We'll all be able to remember these details even when we can't remember where we put our teeth ;)

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