The sweet smell of success on a convenient stop at Harthill services - Susan Morrison

Harthill service station on the M8, pulled in for some ridiculously priced petrol and a visit to the ladies loo, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Spotlessly clean and, unless I am mistaken, the hint of Sicilian Lemon in the air.
Harthill Services. Picture: John DevlinHarthill Services. Picture: John Devlin
Harthill Services. Picture: John Devlin

These things matter. If you have the misfortune to be caught short in our city centre, avoid the loos in the Waverley Market. They charge 30p for what feels like an immersive sewer experience.

Filthy, cold and a couple of tins of Ocean Breeze wouldn’t come amiss. Nice touch to bring all the senses into play by assaulting the ears with disco bangers at ear-popping volumes. An apology is due to Sir Elton John and Kiki Dee.

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Having enjoyed the facilities at Harthill, I thought I’d treat myself to some sweeties. I am fond of a boiling while driving. Well, it stops me from singing along to Meatloaf.

Sherbet lemons are a particular favourite. It’s a total rush when you sook the white powder through the casing onto your tongue. Like cocaine, but considerably cheaper and much safer when driving, I imagine.

Polos are good, too. Who doesn’t enjoy the frosty mintiness of a big breath in through the mint with the hole?

When we were kids every journey had its boiled sweetie supply. There was a belief that it eased travel sickness, and since my wee brother, AKA The Pest, upchucked at the mere sight of Morris Minor we rarely left the house without the rattle and rustle of a bag of barley sugars.

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Believe it or not, our great grannies might have been right. There is a soothing effect from boiled sweets that can ease motion sickness and other forms of nausea.

A couple of years ago I had chemotherapy and the woman next to me swore by pear drops, which smelled lovely and actually did seem to help.

Where have all the forecourt boilings gone? The shelves groan under the weight of wine gums, jelly babies and fruit pastilles. These are not adequate replacements.

There’s no comfort to be had from sooking foamy caterpillars, sheep or even pink pigs called Percy. These are gummy sweeties for people who don’t want to work for their sugar hit.

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These flibbertigibbet creations of maltodextrin, fructose and pectin are the kiddie corner of the sweetie world.

These are sweets for those who fear losing their molars, and like so much of the modern world, they aren’t even designed to last.

The great thing about a boiled sweetie is you can leave it in a car, in a tin if you’ve feeling a bit middle-class, and if you reach for that comforting Soor Ploom three years later, it will still be there and still be edible.

Can you say that of Percy Pig and his siblings? No, you cannot.

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We are fortunate here in Leith. We have a magnificent real sweetie shop called Canderson’s. It's at the Foot o’ the Walk. Sells sweeties in jars.

It's like walking into the past, a feeling we all got this week when D Cameron popped up again, and if anything makes you reach for a steadying cinnamon ball, it's the sight of the Humming PM striding about Downing Street like a back-from-the-dead malfunctioning Terminator. Certainly made me feel nauseous.

Bring back the boilings, I say. We might need them.

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