Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published March 30th 2015
Because Buying Sweets Should be Magical
Today I think children a robbed from receiving magical memories of going into a sweetshop. Buying sweets isn't the same as it used to be. Now kids get them from the supermarket, and there is little excitement in that.
Admittedly I am too young to be talking about the olden days, but when I was a child, I had a newsagents that gave the same magical experience. Every Friday after school, my dad would take me to pick up by week's subscription of a %%Where's Wally?%% magazine along with my allowance of sugary treats. We were on such close terms with the shopkeeper, I used to call him 'Uncle'.
I'd look at the glorious one penny sweets behind the glass counter, and ask him for a scoop of this, a scoop of that, and a scoop of another. My paper bag would be filled to bursting with fried eggs, fizzy cola bottles, gummy rings, and necklace candies. I would then have a separate bag for all the hard boiled sweets in the jars on the shelves.
Hardys Original Sweetshop, 52 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0BB
That is the magic of a sweetshop. But these wonderful places hyper induced sugar rushes are a dying breed. Fortunately there are still a few around. Hardys Orignal Sweetshop is one of them. They have branches across and outside London, but the one I discovered is located in Charing Cross, and very popular with tourists.
I didn't bother to count, but behind the counter the shelves must have been stacked with about a hundred jars of traditional hard boiled sweets, with favourites such as sherbet lemons, rhubarb & custard, chocolate limes, aniseed balls, humbugs, and more.
Below the counter were the obligatory gummy sweets, which the shop assistant will scoop up for you. If you prefer to do your own scooping, then the jelly beans are around the corner.
I've tried chocolate bars from these types of stores before, and to be honest, they are pretty waxy and poor in taste. So why do we keep buying them? It's the presentation. What child would be able to resist a Stardust bar?
The reason I went in was to restock on my depleted jar of lolly pops, and I was spoilt for choice on the number of flavours. So spoilt that I got all sixteen varieties (I stock up like a squirrel with its nuts). Flavours included marshmallow, apple, traffic light, tutti frutti, Iron Bru, and more.
Other treats included chocolate coated fruit and nuts, marzipan, and strangely enough, tea. I know it sounds rather odd, so I am not entirely sure if perhaps that was just a retro style tin they used to disguise biscuits etc. If it really was tea, maybe they were thinking of the parents, while the children get what they want.
Sweets are of course advised in moderation, but sometimes when you come across a place as nostalgic as this, you can't help but blow caution to the wind.