In My Day
the ramblings of Hubert James

In my day it was about this time of year during the school holidays that our attention turned to ice cream and sweets. I know I’ve chatted before about this but I was reminded recently about Nougat.


I think that’s how you spell it, but it’s certainly not how you say it. This strange spelling should have been a warning to us all. Nougat first came to town with the travelling fair that visited on Bank Holidays. You know, up by the cricket ground.


Anyway besides the obligatory goldfish and candy floss, you could pick up a bar of this sweet chewy stuff. It was white or pink and came with nuts and cherries stuck in it and quite often left with teeth stuck in it.

It had an almost indestructible ability to survive a good sucking. I always thought I was going to enjoy it more than I did.


Apparently, it had been around for centuries on the continent and in the middle east. My mate Larry reckoned it came from Arabia. He saw himself as an expert in these matters because he had a long-haired cat called Sandy that he insisted came from Persia. She certainly behaved like a princess. Swanning about with her nose and her tail in the air.

Larry’s Mum spoilt her rotten and Larry got quite jealous.


One day when we were at a loose end, as we often were in the holidays, Larry fed her some nougat. Remember this is back in the day when you were allowed to do stuff and nobody would start a campaign to stop you. Nowadays the cats’ rights would be protected by a court in the Hague.


Anyway, Sandy liked nougat. Couldn’t get enough of it. Now those of you familiar with a cat’s teeth will realise that they are not made for chewing chewy sweets. Once she got her teeth into the stuff she had to form gymnastics to get them out again. Hilarious. It kept us and her entertained for hours.


It happened that the ET got hold of the story of Sandy and the nougat and for twenty minutes she became front-page news. She was featured on the wireless when Down Your Way came to Burton and they were short of interesting things to say about the place.


Celebrities visited the town hoping to get a sight of her. Well, one celebrity did. The great much-missed comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor turned up one day when he was doing his show at the Royal. We happened to be in the pocket park feeding Sandy a variety of confectionery when he stopped his car wound down the window and called out, “Pardon me, boy. Is that the cat who chewed the nougat?”