Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Not such a blast from the past...

Tuesday, 20 December 2005
This is not going to be a sentimental look at my childhood where I wallow in the memories of endless summer days etc. I did have a great childhood, I grew up in the country so climbing trees, riding bikes and generally exploring my surroundings was the order of the day but I don't feel the need to wax lyrical about those times.

However, there are things from my childhood that I do miss. Not just the life of no responsibilities and the fact that I could get much, much further on my bike than my parents seemed to realise. But also certain books that I loved yet can't find copies of to buy for Lia, places that are no longer the same, TV shows that I loved with presenters that you could respect and look up to rather than ones that try too hard to be your mate.

Just as an aside (and apologies to overseas readers who know nothing of what I speak) I was prompted by seeing Johnny Ball in the audience of Strictly Come Dancing to tell DF that if Johnny Ball, John Noakes and John Craven were gathered on TV to announce the end of the world my generation would totally believe them. No ifs, no buts, those were men that represented truth and, although they were grown ups, were totally on our side.

I don't watch much children's TV at the moment (bound to change as Lia gets older) but the presenters are absolutely dire and I dread the day Lia wants to watch Dick and Dom...

Anyway, that's slightly off my topic for the day. What I really wanted to talk about was sweets. Certain sweets that I loved in childhood that you can't get any more. Yes they brought back Spangles (although you don't see them that much any more) but for me there were certain gaps that just couldn't be filled.

And one in particular. Texan bars. I remember these as being rectangular with a thick, chewy candy covered in chocolate. The candy was quite orange and the toughest thing that you could ever put in your mouth. Not only that, when you did manage to suck it enough that it got softer it didn't break, it just stretched and stretched and stretched. I loved Texan bars and I also loved the competitions I had with my brother as to who could make one last the longest (very sticky results!)

So imagine my total and utter delight when I was looking for the address of a particular website selling old fashioned sweets to send to someone - A Quarter Of... - and discovering that TEXAN BARS ARE BACK!!!

Okay, you can only order them in fives but that's great cos I'll be chewing well into 2006 so I make my order and spend a couple of days stalking the postman until they arrive and finally, yesterday, they were in my hot little hands.

First disappointment, they're the wrong shape and they're half the size of the originals if that. But at least the packaging is as I remember and, lets face it, everything is smaller these days to what it was when we were little.

So I unwrapped and took a tentative bite (my teeth are not as sturdy as they were!) and bit right through! Okay I had to chew and chew and chew but the taste just wasn't right.

So there's two choices here, one my memory is not up to the task or two, they're not the same as before. I'd have to say that I think my memory is just fine and, given the rules about additives and the like these days, the recipe has changed but maybe I'm wrong and I've been romanticising this sweet for 20 years and can't really remember what it tasted like.

The real point to all this though is that, whatever the reason, I've been disappointed and I wish I'd never found them and so could have spent the rest of my life remembering them the way they were.

Still, I suppose I could always just prove I'm getting older by starting to moan about how they just don't make things how they used to...



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