Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cough Syrup


It started this week in the pub with a whisper in the ear. "Tomorrow morning, early. I'll call you". My pal was doing a bit of house clearance in his village. "There are things in sheds". He nodded at me knowingly and quickly changed the subject. First it was the big red Hacks tin. These days we'd expect it to be full of timeworn journalists, but at 1/5 a quarter this was the somewhat expensive 1950's cough remedy from Southport. I've always thought it wonderful, this tin; that old bloke about to expectorate into one of his wife's doyleys. But then the key got put into the lock of a forgotten door- Derek Mahon's Disused Shed in County Wexford coming to fungaloid life, I thought. Or maybe a 1952 dusty Bentley with just the tyres needing inflating and a jump start. But no. Better than that. Many, many years ago two boys had lived here, and they'd made things in the time-honoured way out of dustbin content. Two pairs of tin stilts, identified to their respective owners by distinct markings like military vehicles. You stood on the tins and pulled up the string (in this case baler twine) and walked about a few inches taller. Later you could thread a long stretch of finer string through a pair and make a garden telephone. Oh Lyle's Golden Syrup cans. Where will it end? Stilts, telephones, string dispensers, brush holders, spider catching units, a sentence in a John Cowper Powys novel.....

13 comments:

Thud said...

I seem to have never lived in a house without a tin of golden syrup lurking in the back of the cupboard/larder...I'm just going to check on my resident can now.

martin said...

You've sent me off on a wonderful reverie about treacle pudding. Does anybody make treacle pudding anymore? It was one of a variety of suet-based desserts. Great with large amounts of custard.

Sue said...

Can you imagine some of the objections if you tried to get clients to buy those pack designs today? Or comments from group discussions? Mr Not Terribly Aspirational and his Unhygienic Doyley might just about be accepted if we stuck a baseball cap on him (because that's what Silver Surfers or Grey Panthers or whatever wear these days.)

But trying to get something through involving biblical stories and the rotting carcasses of endangered species...no way!

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