Barkingside High Street has a new addition: Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe, ‘confectionary specialist’ est. 2004 but posing (badly, incomprehensibly) like it was 1874. The livery is nauseating and is flatly contradicted by the modern business and management talk on the website. Phoney and cynical. These are small transgressions though and I will be making regular selections from the boiled sweet jars.
More boiled sweets: I had family over and for dessert decided to follow an Iraqi recipe for pumpkin pudding. I made a light caramel and basically cooked some custard marrow in it along with a squash of indeterminate species (they cross fertilise at any opportunity), served up with (soya) yoghurt and mint to my disappointed parents, brother and cousins. My advice to you is don’t do that. It was grim. I couldn’t even stomach it when I was hungry the next day.
In other news there’s a lot of bad stuff going down. Iran is simmering, The Sun is bandwagoning against Labour with its own unique brand of self-righteous spite, they’re starving in East Africa, being beaten in Guinea (for which news media outlets seem to be relying on just one correspondent, Alhassan Sillah), the South Pacific earthquake makes insects of humans, and single issue academics unite to kill more fish.
The world is a bear pit, but it’s impossible to despair with confectionary tucked in your cheek viscously coating your analyses. Keep yourself in sweets, give to charity, make efforts for liberating and protective social change, hope for a peaceful death.
Update: I was at the bottom of the High Street on Saturday and it occurred to me to pay my first visit to the new shop and see if I could buy a sugar mouse. As I approached I could make out a seething mass of kids and bikes in the distance. What with the idea of a sugar rodent and the swarming children, I found myself thinking of lines from Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin:
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering.
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.
Suffice to say I could hardly get in the door, so the sugar mouse is on hold.