I could not read. My Toy Story tin box was full of laminated orange words that were easy-peasy to learn and write out: bag, hit, cat, toy. But then there were the harder words that didn’t look how they sounded: because, pencil, beautiful. And then there were words that you still wouldn’t be able to spell until your late teens when someone wrote a song about them: bananas (see Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’). And then something happened.
BAM! It was like each word had joined hands with the next and had begun to sing! Finally they were singing a song that I could understand and sing along to! I COULD READ.
I was five years old. I could now decipher those cryptic symbols that had previously perplexed me and it was glorious. Stories were unlocked, people and animals were released from the pages into my imagination! I had left behind the dull days of ‘word learning’- at least for a while – and I had moved on to my first reading book within a term of starting primary school: ‘Roger Red Hat’. My mum, attempting to encourage educational success through bribery, rewarded my reading break-through with a trip to Cadbury World. All of a sudden I was Charlie- was reading my golden ticket to the chocolate factory? With rewards this sweet I was willing to read anything and everything.
It was a bad day for chocolate all round. The two reasons for this were: a.) the weather was hot and b.) chocolate melts. The smell of chocolate greeted us at the car park and led us to the main doors where we were given a shiny shopping trolly and a mini Dairy Milk for the journey around the factory. For every double door we passed through- have a free chocolate bar! For every time we inhaled the scent of cocoa and milk- have a free chocolate bar! Each time we tur- HAVE MORE CHOCOLATE! I’m not sure if the trolleys were to hold the copious amounts of chocolate bars or if they were being used as mobility chairs for fat and bloated children with suspicious looking sugary brown beards.
We left with a trolley full of free Cadburys chocolate bars however, it took us until about a week later to begin eating them. They were put fridge as soon as we got home so they could be re-set into the new shapes they had acquired after melting in the car on the journey home.
Recently the Cadbury company, founded by John Cadbury in 1824, was taken over by American owners Kraft Foods (remember Kraft cheese slices? Or perhaps Oreos?). Despite a change in ownership, Cadburys chocolate still remains a British national treasure. I chose to write this piece after reading a travel book which said that Cadburys chocolate tastes different all around the world. For example, Cadbury India would taste different to Cadbury Egypt. According to popular talk, there is no chocolate that compares to the milky taste of the Cadburys found in England and therefore I felt it appropriate to write a short farewell here almost as if I were tilting my hat in salute to a great general.
A fond memory of chocolate, but more specifically Cadburys chocolate. To the sugary medicine that puts us in a better mood and rewards us whether we’ve done well or not-FAREWELL!