It feels like January has disappeared in the blink of an eye and that, at last, the real chill of winter has descended upon the UK, settling itself around London’s shoulders and shrouding parts more northern with snow and ice. Since my return from Down Under on the 7th, I have been bundled up like a veritable pass-the-parcel prize, the clear skies making the morning air sharp and bracing on my nose and ears.
And yet despite the layer of frost over the back garden each morning, the green stalks poking out of the soil herald the coming of daffodils and I am also convinced that my morning commute is becoming a shade lighter. This may be a sign of Spring or foolish optimism or both.
In any case, since my last post my sister has graced Gidday HQ with a little visit.
(Yes I know I only saw Lil Chicky over Christmas but she was in The Netherlands for work and one of the founding principles of expat life is ‘never waste an opportunity to hug your loved ones’. More on this sibling hugg-ery in a later post.)
So I picked her up from the airport and left her in Gidday HQ’s second bedroom to get settled in for her four day sojourn. Wandering back in a few minutes later to assess the coffee situation (essential to Lil Chicky’s status of well-being and general happiness), she asked me to pick up her jacket off the bed.
That’s right. 4kgs of gastronomic nostalgia! There were (clockwise from top left) Chicken Twisties, Burger Rings (
snacking on scoffing these as I type), Cheezels, lamingtons (in the plastic container), licorice bullets (soft licorice covered in either dark or milk chocolate), Caramello Koalas and a whole heap of my favourite chocolate bars, Violet Crumble.
You may well laugh but while Aussie vittels like Milo and Vegemite are pretty easy to come by in the UK, these are things that I have not been able to find over here, particularly since the demise of The Australia Shop. It is a complete joy to have a little stash of these for home as well as enough to take into work to Aussie-fy my colleagues. Let me tell you, the few bags of koalas and bullets I brought back with me earlier in January went down a treat in the office with one lady describing the bullets as a ‘taste sensation’.
But there always comes the moment when the last one is gone and I wonder how long it will be before my next nostalgic face-stuffing and while that might be a week or so away at the moment, the thought of a Violet-Crumble-less future makes me a little despondent.
But last night, after a bit of wine and a good meal, some English friends of mine and I discovered the Kingdom of Sweets…and these…
…as well as these.
There were also English retro sweets like Parma Violets, White Mice and Love Hearts…
…as well as the biggest bottle of Hersheys syrup I have ever seen.
85 Oxford Street has just become my new favourite place in London. Although I read that Nestle deleted Violet Crumble from their range in 2010 and that more recently, a descendant of the original inventor Abel Hoadley has been chasing the recipe and naming rights. Go Bryan (Hoadley) I say. It would be a tragic thing to be missing this chocolate-y honeycomb moment of joy from my nostalgic nose-bag.
So January may have passed in the blink of an eye but things are definitely looking up.
Best I get myself back to the pool so this sweet life doesn’t migrate on a permanent basis to my sweet a**!