We are eking out our Christmas chocolates (not because we are saintly in our approach to all things confectionary but because Treats – butter, cheese, nice fat roasting chickens, good chocolates – are hard to come by in the Outpost); we’ve got to the Quality Street: saving the best till last.
Quality Streets elicit teeth achingly sweet memories of childhood: my favourite then was the flat golden wrapped toffee. My choice has matured to the big purple one with the nut in the middle.
After supper Hat makes her selection with infinite care.
”Can I have three?”
”No, you can have two”.
This just slows up her deliberations because I’ve limited her choice.
”Have this one”, I proffer …. ”and this one”. (They are the Chocolate Orange Creme and the Strawberry Delight: which husband and I hate and she loves; imperative to have a lover of the orange and strawberry chocolates in any family or you’ll have to share the Caramel Swirls and Vanilla Fudge).
Hat unwraps her chocolates and as I watch her smooth the colourful cellophane of each one to flatness on the dining table I am struck by another memory.
”I used to do that”, I tell her as I watch, ”when I was little. And then I used to make spectacles using the coloured paper as lenses”.
Hat smiles, ”did you mummy?”
”Yes, I did, look”. And I pick the red wrapper up and put it to an eye. My world has gone pink.
”Rose tinted spectacles”, I say.
Hat, who is experimenting with a blue and a yellow asks, ”what does that mean?”
People who look on the bright side of life are sometimes said to be wearing rose tinted spectacles.
”I’m going to make some glasses like that, Mum, I’m going to make some with …. ” and she thinks …. ”green on one side and orange on the other.”
I laugh again.
”And then, when we go to Arusha I’m going to go to Shoprite (the largest supermarket in town) wearing my glasses and I’m going to wave at all my friends” (and she gets up from the table and minces around it waving at unseen crowds like a red carpet treading celeb might).
”People will think you’ve gone potty living in the bush” I tell her, “wearing your home-made glasses with different coloured lenses!”.
“So what?” she retorts, ”I shall them I’m looking on the bright side”.
So what indeed. Perhaps I’ll make some for myself.