Zipping round my local Co-op the other day, I spotted this week's Special Offer: one those BIG TINS of Quality Street at a pre-Christmas knock-down price of £3.00... I stopped in my tracks as a mass of memories came flooding back...
Now, I hate to speak ill of the dead, but my paternal grandmother was not the most generous of souls. Every Christmas she would buy a tin of Quality Street Toffees and after Christmas lunch and after the Queen's speech and after she and Grandfather had had their nap, but before tea, there was always the Ceremony of the Toffees...
The tin would be brought out, opened and passed around --- ONCE and ONCE ONLY! Then the lid went back on went and the tin went back into the cupboard!
I suppose the rest of the contents must have been consumed by someone - my grandmother, perhaps - at some time or other in the following twelve months or maybe it was always the same tin, but I honestly only ever remember seeing it on the afternoon of December 25th!
As a result, I would plan - in the months leading up to Christmas - which of the Quality Street assortment I would go for, so as not to dither on the day and inadvertently end up with the thin, gold-coloured, stick-like variety which may have been cracknell. Instead, I'd hope to grab one of the green chocolatey triangles or, better still, the purple nutty one!
Anyway, one Christmas, an elderly neighbour gave me my very own tin of Quality Street and, although I haven't seen it in years, I stumbled across the very one - or, at least, a near relative - the other day while poking around in The Tin Shop.
Fortunately, however, I was too late to buy it --- nostalgia can make one so very careless with the pennies!
Anyway, it was probably one of the first decorated tins I ever owned and - if the web-sites I've been browsing on are anything to go by - would have been worth hanging onto! Also sadly gone (or rusting away somewhere in the attic) are several other tins including one featuring Larry the Lamb and Denis the Dachshund...
Although I've always loved (and half-heartedly collected) decorated tins, I make no secret of the fact that my real weakness is shaped decorated tins which are, without question, the best of the lot!
A couple of Christmasses ago, our friend Mandy gave us this Hershy's van full of their famously yummy chocolate 'kisses' which, as any American refugee in the UK will know, are normally pretty much impossible to find in Britain.
The 'kisses', of course, have long ago been lip-smackingly dealt with, but the van remains - waiting for news of fresh deliveries to arrive on our shore: at which point the driver (who, at the moment, looks as if he's taking a nap) will whiz off with all speed and pick up a new supply!