Saturday, May 18, 2024

The School Sweet Shop

April 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Bygones

Between the cross and the school an enterprising elderly lady had converted her front room into a sweet shop, the front window suitably altered to offer a display of sweets to tempt and tantalise the children on their way to school. It seemed there was always a group of children gazing and pondering what their penny or half-penny could purchase. There were big decisions to be made, gob stoppers in all the colours vied with liquorice in all its forms, bootlaces, thick blocks, or even a liquorice pipe complete with a topping of red hundreds and thousands on top of the bowl. Sweet cigarettes, peppermints, sherbet dabs or fountains, all competing with sticky toffee and boiled sweets in dozens of jars.

Once inside the shop, having had to wait your turn to get in, only four or five children at one time were allowed, the old lady, with her eye on the clock and listening for the school bell, would hurry her charges into making decisions, constantly saying “How much? Penny or half-penny? You can have some of dese or some of dose, or some broken bickies.”

Whatever happened to broken biscuits? These could be bought in most shops, boxes of them all mixed up and could be purchased quite cheaply. I wonder, are they now the ones securely wrapped in plastic, which after minutes of wrestling to open, are finally tipped into the biscuit bowl?

This old shop keeper was so careful with her weighing and measuring, she would often use a pair of snippers to cut a sweet in half to get it correct.

This old lady, despite everything, probably gave more pleasure to generations of children than anyone else in the village.

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