Jul 16: A Trip to the Beach
If anyone has any alternative titles, that 'Doug's Oracle Blog' is looking increasingly fraudulent!
My (sshhh, whisper it) real family are in Sunny Spain. As I'd decided to rent a bigger car that could take all of their luggage to Glasgow Airport, I bowed to the pressure at home and agreed to take my other family for a Sunday trip to the beach.
There was a short debate about two issues.
1) Madeleine is quite happy to relate to all family members when we're at home. Unfortunately she works at the car rental agency that we rented the car from and was somewhat less keen on her work colleagues seeing the boys when we returned the car. But that's where a Hotsos Symposium bag comes in handy.
2) Who would be going? A recent head-count reached 23, so the family's becoming a bit too big for everyone to come along.
Fortunately, Bill wanted to stay in and watch the cricket, Flatcat felt it would be too hot for him and The Rabbit wanted to keep up his drum practice. He changed his mind in the end, but we managed to whittle it down to manageable numbers.
We decided to drive along the coast. We're pretty lucky in Edinburgh, like most areas of Britain, in never being too far from the sea. As a kid, most of our holidays consisted of renting a flat above a pub or a shop for a week in one of North Berwick, Gullane or Dunbar so it always evokes happy memories for me. First up was Gullane, but we were a bit late heading out and the weather is beautiful this weekend so we couldn't even get up the road to the beach. Gullane is just a little village but the beach there is one of the best. Some of you will know it better as the home of Muirfield. I suppose the whole area is a golfer's paradise, but that's not my cup of tea.
Rather than sitting in a traffic jam for the beach, we decided to press on to North Berwick because that's a bigger town. The sight of the Bass Rock always fills me with child-like wonder, probably because I know an ice cream is likely to feature in my immediate future, but also because it's such a bizarre sight, stuck in the middle of the bay, white with birds (and droppings).
On arrival we switched into full-on British child mode. We hit the chip shop straight away for fish and chips which we eat sitting in the sun near a war memorial, as wasps chased us around. Then we headed to the harbour.
I was hopeful I could get you a nice picture of the Bass Rock, but in his defence, he's not a professional model. I think his ear was blowing around in the breeze. By this stage Madeleine was walking a good 10 yards away from me at any moment in time, acting as though she didn't know me for some reason.
Next up were '99 cones. They had several ice-cream flavours but vanilla is the only sensible option with a Flake. I reminded Mads that it's compulsory to push your Flake right down into the ice cream so that you can hide it and add to the enjoyment as it's revealed.
We walked along the beach for a bit and then, with Mads well and truly blushing and on the verge of breaking off our engagement, I took one last group photo to remember our day. They were fascinated by the sand worm holes.
Back row (L-R) - Brian, Derek Junior, The Bear with no nameFront row - The Rabbit, Polly Piggy (obscured), Frank, Tiggs
A wonderful time was had by all. Perhaps the only slight dampener was that we visited a sweet shop selling all manner of old sweets to increase the nostalgia and Mads felt compelled to buy some Strawberry Bon Bons. Imagine her disgust to find when she bit into her first one that, rather than being filled with toffee, it had some ridiculous white, modern chewy substance in it. Okay, so we need to buy 100 grams rather than 'a quarter of', but there's no need to resort to toffee-substitute. I'd rather hoped that this blog might be a pleasant reminder of Blighty for some ex-pat bloggers (you know who you are) and then travesty invades.
She still ate them, obviously
While Douglas lies sleeping, recovering from several nights of geek revelry, we'd like to take this opportunity to reveal the truth about that man's morals and reliability. (N.B. The Dog can use the laptop and is familiar with Serendipity's user interfa
Tracked: Jun 02, 02:25
I've never had a Strawberry Bon Bon which had toffee in the middle before. I grew up in Edinburgh and we religiously visited the sweet shop in Roseburn on a Saturday morning to get a quarter bag of sweets and the Strawberry Bon Bons were a favorite of mine. I actually liked the chewy strawberry stuff in the middle, however, I'm intrigued about these toffee centred ones. The lemon ones were good too, oh, and the sherbet straws. They don't make them as good as they used to. Sigh...
Me and Madeleine are both 100% convinced that the Bon Bons we had as kids had toffee centres, even the strawberry ones. Having said that, we both did a lot of our growing up in England, so the chewy strawberry stuff must be a Scottish thing, and not one of the better ones.
Unless of course an English person would like to contradict this?
Maybe it's an age thing, but I'm pretty sure you're about the same age as Mads.
Personally, I preferred the plain Toffee Bon Bons anyway, but I'd eat most flavours at a push.
Mads swears that the Strawberry Bon Bons she used to eat while growing up in Bridge of Allan had the correct toffee filling.
If it wasn't for the fact I saw the things for myself today, I'd think you were making this all up just to be contentious!
Doug, your blog is getting more and more like Michael Bentine's Pottytime every day. I trust all of the family/cast will be making an appearance at the UKOUG in November?
Well, Flatcat and Tiggs were part of one of my PX presentations (2004, I think?) but they didn't go down to well, so they tend to keep a low profile these days.
The Dog might come along because there are several potential speakers he's always wanted to meet.
Never mind that, though ... Strawberry Bon Bons - toffee-centred, or not?
I can't believe that the Bon Bon has been corrupted. As soon as you turn your back the country starts letting its standards slip. tut.
Oh, Sponge. Now you're back I suppose I should mention this
And, what's more, they're predicting 35 or 36 degrees Celsius in London tomorrow. What on earth is going on?
I now declare the weather officially unpleasant. Can we have some rain please? (By Thursday, they predict)
OK, it's one of those infrequent hot days in Bonnie Scotland. I'm very much enjoying the weather while it lasts without going to Africa and am going to visit the beach with my kids tomorrow
What about the bon bons. Toffee centred or not! I am frustratingly curious!
So, toffee or chewy strawberry? and even then what's in the middle of your lemon bon bons?
The general consensus when I ask around is that toffee-substitute is not standard Bon Bon filling at all, but something added in recent times.
"Sharps of York" , regarded by many as the Bon Bon supplier of choice, lists all varieties (including Lomon and Strawberry) as "quality gorgeous %s flavoured dusting over a TOFFEE centre."
However, I think the confusion is that there are two types of Bon Bons, namely "Toffee Bon Bons" and "French Bon Bons". I think it's the French type which have the non-toffee centre which Thomas is referring to.
See http://www.sugarboy.co.uk/acatalog/Bonbons.html for example.
That's marvellous Simon. Thank you.
I think we can consider the matter put to rest now and laugh at Mr. Presslie's tough childhood. French Bon Bons, indeed!! Who would have thought of such a thing?!?!
I take it that since you are at a conference on November 14th you will not be in sunny Shetland to celebrate your sister's 50th birthday!!!!!!!!
The bon-bons had toffee in them but i have to disagree about the strawberry ones being best - I am with Dad on this one, the white ones are the best.
You take it correctly. I probably wouldn't get any more time off work in any case ...
i'm trying to find the strawberry bon bons with STRAWBERRY CHEWY stuff in the middle. i used to but them in school from french class. i do not know the name of them, if u could please help!
See below ...
There's a good chance you'll never read this post but just wanted to say I totally sympathise with your bonbons experience. I bought some delicious toffee-centred bonbons from Hope and Greenwood in Covent Garden and hoped to repeat the experience at Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweete Shoppe in Soho, which is nearer to my workplace. I was horrified to find gooey "strawberry chew" in place of the toffee. I've always loved the combination of sweet strawberry icing sugar with rich toffee. Boo hiss. Guess I'll be making the longer trek to H+G from now on!