Taking the biscuit


You never see broken biscuits anymore!

There is nothing better than a box (preferably a large tin) of M&S chocolate biscuits. However, growing up in the 50s and 60s, such opulence was found only in the houses of film stars and sultans of Brunei.

On Balham High Road there was a grocer (Battershill’s) where my mum and my nan would buy their groceries. As a treat, they’d occasionally purchase a packet of broken biscuits.  These weren’t packets of proper biscuits which some maniac had attacked with a mallet; these were an assortment of reject biscuits all thrown together into one bag.  I can still smell them – bit like Virol and banana-flavoured penicillin – these things, like a top song (or an awful song like Mother of Mine by Neil Reid), stick in your sense memory.

The problem with these biscuits, by default, was that there was a more-than-average amount of crumbs in the bag. A consequence of eating said biscuits was that, whilst watching Alexandra Bastedo in The Champions, you’d get enough crumbs over your lap and that week’s Beano to make a base for a cheesecake.

Is there honey still for tea? No, but I’ve got half a bourbon!

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