If you’re within a million miles of the twitterverse, you’ll know that I moved house recently. My experience of this was precisely as you would expect: full of ups and downs (mostly downs) and boxes and hunky kiwi mover men and not knowing where anything is etc etc YAWN…
We’ve moved into a real live proper house, with a front door and a ground floor and a GARDEN, and it took a lot to achieve this. From the very beginning our vendors were what you might describe as ‘tricky’. The story was convoluted and confused (coming, as it did, through estate agents) but the general consensus was that the house was being sold by a brother and sister, who were selling up after the death of their father. The house had been in the same family for over 30 years and they were finding it hard to let go, to the extent that asking price offers were being accepted and then refused…this had been going on for months, and even the estate agents were exasperated.
When we offered on the house, it soon became clear that we had a rival with deep pockets. She bid against us and we were asked to counter-offer. I refused to make any counter-offer until I had met the vendors and amazingly, they agreed to have us round, so we trundled in, Me, the Husband, the baby and the Dog….we sat on the floor (there was no furniture) and explained that we had no counter-offer, that all we could do was look them in the eyes and ask them please to choose us…..and you know what?…they did.
It was in this spirit (it’s MEANT TO BE!) that we moved in a few weeks back, to find everything absolutely pristine…totally and utterly devoid of any human sign..they had cleared everything expertly. My mother, expertly, found the kettle, and put it on, and we all sat down for an instant. Suddenly, and without warning, I found myself drawn to a particular cupboard…and t’was there I found the biscuits.
Oh the JOY…if you could only have BEEN there dear reader! There were three tins in total, obviously categorised. The first was filled with what we might call ‘plain biscuits’ – rich tea and gingernuts mainly…then the second, with oaty things like hobnobs, and plain-but-rich yummies like custard creams…then finally, the sugar-rich, chocolate and candy-coated tin with things like penguins and jaffa cakes. Here I found the prize of prizes…a biscuit I had never seen before…THE PARTY RING.
When I first saw it, I thought ‘okay, so it looks cool, but it probably tastes foul, so I emptied out the contents of the packet made them part of my ‘feel-at-home’ dresser to counteract the hideousness of the magnolia-covered house we had just moved into. They stayed there, looking pretty, but untouched for three days, before hunger took over, and we began to eat the party rings. They were undeniably yummy – crunchy and sweet and more-ish. I began to resent my parents for never having exposed me to such deliciousness (whilst simultaneously whisking them away from my 9 month-old baby)..and they were finished far too soon (mostly by the husband). Party rings are part of my weekly shop now. I have found them at the co-op, but sadly not at Ocado (bloody snobs).
That’s not all…..ten days after we moved in, there was a knock at the door. It was the previous owner, coming to collect her ‘mail’. The poor girl would not set foot over the threshold…she explained how hard it was for her to come back and I, desperately keen to make her feel better, told her how incredibly heart-warming it was for us to have found the biscuits she so kindly left for us on moving day. She bristled slightly, and said that she had never meant to leave the biscuits…that she had got to her new house only to discover the LACK of fabulous biscuitry and had a funny turn as a result. I offered to give her back the tins, but she declined…I think it might have been the lack of party rings what did it.
Sorry vendors, but your party rings gave us great joy…if you need more, then just jolly well call us and we’ll be happy to supply them! – I can’t understand how my mother managed to hide party rings from us when we were little – very bloody craftily I think! – but I’m here today to champion them as my lost childhood emblems and as something that everyone should try again, even if only to decorate their table.
by Laetitia Maklouf