Sherbet fountain

One of the last conversations I had with my mum was about Barratt sherbet fountains.

My mum used to eat these things whenever she had heart burn, or some such ailment. She reckoned they were somehow medicinal.

But for some strange reason sherbet fountains disappeared. In fact almost all sherbet products seem to have been lost from the shops, though you do sometimes see flying saucers about (I mean the sweets not the UFOs).

I reminded my mum that in the past she had consumed quite a large quantity of these things and used to swear they did her good.

'Yes', she remembered, 'I'll have to get some the next time I go to the supermarket'.

'You will be lucky,' I replied. 'They seem to have disappeared'.

Yesterday I was in Barrow on Furness and happened to see some of the familiar old sweet in a supermarket. Too late for my mum. She had died, though not, I think, as a result of a lack of sherbet.

I bought some tubes and they looked the same; but there was something different about them. It was almost impossible to open them.

Whereas once the liquorice had poked out of the end, now it is all sealed up. It occurred to me that it is no longer regarded as safe to have naked liquorice. It has to be covered (a) in case some terrorist plants dangerous substances in the packet (b) to stop the spread of germs which might leap from dirty hands to unsold dib dab lying in the shop.

What a world we live in that naked liquorice is no longer permissible! When did this happen to us?