I remember my first sweets. It was a Swizzels double lolly. One of those pink and yellowy-green slightly flattened balls of chalky loveliness which you could suck on for hours or crunch to dust in seconds. My dad kept them in an old margarine tub on a shelf I couldnít reach and each day when he came home from work, if Iíd been good, heíd reach-up, open the tub and one would be mine. Iíd sit on a wooden chair and polish it off. Then beg for another but he always said no.
I remember chocolate limes my gran used to bring every Wednesday when she travelled to our house on the bus, or the soft wine gums, chewy nuts or newberry fruits granddad would bring when he joined us after his shift at Massey Ferguson.
Recent research has found that people who enjoy sweets tend to be a lot... well, sweeter than other people. Tests in America, on groups over 1,000 miles apart, discovered that those of us with a sweet tooth are more agreeable and more likely to help someone in need than those who shun treats. Why it happens they have no idea.
I however, have a theory. Taste, like any other sense, is spark to memory. Looking at an old photo, hearing an old record or smelling a familiar smell can take us in an instant to a different time and place.
So sweets, especially the sweets of our childhood, are like little time capsules which explode on our tongue transporting us back to a time when summers lasted forever and all that really mattered was happening right now.
These days itís far too easy to take things way too seriously. Worrying about work, about shifting markets, pension age or just getting angry because of some inconsiderate sodís bad parking.
An old-school sweet is like a Ďtime outí from the hustle-bustle of modern life. Itís like a tiny dose of perspective. It takes us back for just an instant to a time when none of this mattered. And that perspective is what makes you a nicer person.
Thatís why the website www.aquarterof.co.uk/ is at the top of my favourites list. They have over 600 of the sweets we loved. From the 50s right up until today. They have original versions of old sweets, sugar free versions of many favourites and have even started making their own. Theyíre probably even more passionate about sweets than I am. And they deliver the next day.
I miss those days in the kitchen with my dad. When I was four I was able to climb up on the table and reach the box off the shelf for myself. I thought heíd be proud. But he wasnít. I didnít know what he was. Looking back, I think he was upset because Iíd broken the rules of the game and now it was over. That was the end of lollies after work.
Now, I have a box of them bought from www.aquarterof.co.uk/ I keep it on a shelf in the kitchen. And every now and again, if things are a little hectic, Iíll reach up for one and as soon as my tastebuds start to tingle... Iím right back in that kitchen of my childhood. And maybe, if my daughter has been good all day, I might just reach up and get her one as well.