It’s a dentist’s now would you believe it? We used to buy our sweets there when we walked home from school. The Coniffs – I think that’s what they were called – they owned The Candy Box. He was a good bricklayer. He helped my dad build a new kitchen extension. To make way, they had to knock down the old brick outside toilet. At the end of the demolition, all that was left was the pan. Mum took a photo of dad in his work clothes, sitting out in the open in the garden on that toilet pan.
Anyway, The Candy Box was a sweet-tooth’s heaven.
Lucky Bags were my favourites. You never knew what you’d get in them. You’d usually find a couple of Mojos, Blackjacks, Fruit Salads and one of those powdery Flying Saucer things that sucked onto your tongue like an ulcer. The biggest surprise was opening up your Lucky Bag to find out what sort of plastic ‘novelty’ you’d had this time… a squeezy water pistol… a plastic paratrooper… magic 3D picture of Twiggy.
Even in those pre-Pick ‘n’ Mix days, we’d often buy sweets loose, by the quarter. This set in motion a waterfall of sweet peanuts, aniseed balls, Everton Mints, whatever. They were poured onto the Averys out of the glass jar before being slid off the tin bowl of the scales into a crisp paper bag. Mrs Coniff once gave us an empty Extra Strong Mints jar. We put tadpoles in it. They didn’t last long.
I could never have imagined, as I queued up for my Lucky Bag after school, that almost thirty years later The Candy Box in Chapel Street would be a dental surgery.