Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A Sticky End

The search is over. No more will I be seen on my hands and knees rummaging at the back of shelves in Sainsburys. No more will supermarket assistants quicken their steps to the rest room when they see me approaching with my notebook in my hand. It's all Tate & Lyle's fault, deciding to taunt me with seven different designs of a gold can to celebrate their anniversary. Why couldn't I just be content with one or two? Why did I have to collect big tins as well as small? Oh no, I was seen everywhere from Tesco's in Devizes to Asda in Wisbech, reaching into dim recesses to turn cans round to see if there was a small tin with 'Fantastic in Flapjacks' on it, or a big tin with 'Happy Birthday Lyle's'. But one tin avoided my obsessive searches. Nowhere (and I do mean nowhere) could I find 'Pour it on Porridge' in the big 907g can. It became the Holy Grail, the tin that I became convinced would be found in a shaft of sunlight on a pedestal of rock at the back of a cave in Borneo. In desperation I started a dialogue with bewildered customer care girls at Tate & Lyle's, more used to dealing with housewives whose treacle tarts hadn't turned-out treacly enough. Eventually my badgering resulted in a very kind note from 'technical'. Apparently they could only fit six separate designs for the big can on one printing sheet. So a large 'Pour it on Porridge' doesn't exist. (I bet they made just one though. I would have.) I pass all this on in case it helps some other poor deluded soul who is still out there getting his hands sticky in Somerfields in Salford or Waitrose in Warminster. Right. Anyone got a recipe for an acre of flapjack?

12 comments:

Diplomat said...

The ambulance is on its way.

Peter Ashley said...

Will it be a 1957 Daimler with a bell and a red cross on the side? I do hope so. And a nurse with a blue cloak with a scarlet lining and her watch upside down and.....

Jon Dudley said...

And Kenneth Williams fussing along beside her. Cries of "Nurse!, I said slip of his spectacles" etc. Mr Mosley could probably find a use for the contents of your tins...come to think of it....(calls stridently)...Camilla!

A F-A said...

Given that it comes from cane sugar, there should be a Mosley one: "Terrific on Tarts" perhaps....

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

For one ghastly second there I thought you were going to say that Tate and Lyle were "going plastic".

Camilla Jessop said...

I think the marketers must have been tempted to go for a squeezy, plastic dispenser, Mr Wheeler - like Marmite (regrettably) has. Today's young people don't learn the etiquette for handle sticky liquids without getting them all over their fingers. At my boarding school, we had lessons on the best way to spread syrup on our crumpets.

Peter Ashley said...

From next month Heinz are dropping the "baked" from "Heinz Baked Beans" on the tin label. Their communications department has just come out with the line that everyone knows their baked. So guess who's just run down to the shops to make sure I get an original for the archive. Yes, Diplo, I really do need halp.

Jon Dudley said...

Does that make them haz beanz?

Dave Lovely said...

"Rather unusually, the Tate & Lyle factory still produces Golden Syrup. The image on the tin of a dead lion surrounded by bees refers to a Biblical riddle: 'out of the strong came forth sweetness'. The factory was mostly rebuilt in the 1950s, after Tate and Lyle had narrowly escaped nationalisation. The company were enthusiastic anti-nationalisation campaigners, and in the late 1940s all packets of sugar featured 'Mr Cube', a talking sugarlump who cautioned about the dangers of socialism."

This is from a post I've just read here, which also has details, and a photograph, of a (now defunct) Tate Institute, a social centre for workers at the nearby factory...sweetness, it seems, comes forth from a most unprepossessing place.

KSV Woolfoot said...

I think I am only one degree of separation from your blog...Maybe two - can't think right now exactly how I hopscotched to land here but I am so glad that I did. I read a bunch of your posts tonight and enjoyed and admired them. I have an interest in England that is hard to explain or comprehend - reincarnation? Can't say, but I must be a perfect audience member for you. I'll be back. Thanks and congratulations.

Peter Ashley said...

Mr.Woolfox, thankyou very much. I have just looked at your 'Last House' blog and now know how I'm going to spend the rest of the day instead of working. I was staggered to see the Gladys Peto stuff, I have her Children's Book', but have never seen anything else. The fact that she'd done an Ovaltine ad. has made me have to go and lie down. Sorry everyone else, but do take a look at http://lasthouse.blogspot.com/

KSV Woolfoot said...

I just popped back round and read your nice comment on my comment. Kids and I got a chuckle out of my being identified as "Mr. Woolfox." I wish I had thought of that. (It's actually "Woolfoot" because, living in VT, I have wool socks on six months of the year, but don't worry about it). If you made it over to my blog then you saw the link, I hope, to the great Gladys Peto blog by Jeanette Payne.