Nearly 200-years ago, Victor Frankenstein was in his German laboratory creating life; fifty-years ago, I was in the kitchen of my Nan’s Balham flat hoping to create something more powerful than Anthrax.
I never owned a “My First Chemistry Set”, so my science knowledge was purely self-taught.
I would be allowed to use anything spare in my Nan’s kitchen, as I created my “experiment”. Having been given an old milk bottle and after I’d half-filled it with water, I’d add some Bird’s Custard and some pre-Boer war curry powder, and then venture next door to the secret supply of 19th Century medicines, hidden behind my Nan’s cistern.
After several spoonsful of sulphur, there was Andrew’s Liver Salts to be included – gave my concoction some added fizz as my Nan tended to not have much Moët lying around; Timothy White’s Lavatory Cleanser – safety first was always a priority, and a sprinkling of Instant Robin Starch – give it a bit of body – not unlike Victor Frankenstein.
However, the piece de resistance was Senakot – as if the other combined ingredients weren’t going to make you regular enough!
Once my experiment was complete, I needed a willing patient. My great Aunt lived next door and, because she smoked forty Embassy before she’d had breakfast, had precious little sense of smell. She was a good sport and pretended to drink some of it; my punishment was to count her Embassy tokens later that week.
With 99.9% of my efforts still intact, we would sell it, in Balham Market, as a deterrent for foxes; something to ward off vampires or a carpet cleaner if you didn’t like your existing carpet.