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Writing on Sunday Morning

There are two human creatures (in the sense that we create our attitudes and perspectives), those who are evening creatures who stay up into the wee hours and can happily stay in bed until noon if need be the next day, and then there is the morning creature, like myself who for some reason best left unexplained, forces himself up at 6.00 am each day, irrespective of what happened the night before, by setting the mobile alarm. It goes off at six, then I reset it if I am too tired for seven. Today I got up at seven. There was a frost on the lawn outside. I like to look at crystal clear frosts - but I am no fan of Jack Frost - except for the tv detective :-). I forgot to get milk to go with my muesli - so it was a case of improvising - creme fraiche. It tastes awful if you really want to know. At least I have the cheapest coffee known to mankind to wash it down. When I was a child I used to have porridge. I loved it because we could pour golden syrup on it, and I used to watch the syrup move into the centre - the taste of warm porridge on a biting cold morning was pure bliss. Of course it was Quaker Oats and the syrup was  Lyle's. Now wikipedia is very informative, as long as the entry was not written by a spook, on a whole range of matters. I would not have known when I was tucking into my porridge that Quaker Oats would buy Fisher-Price, finance children's movies and eventually merge with Pepsico. It is in other words a huge corporation. The golden syrup was the brand product of the Tate & Lyle group which had been formed in the 1920's after a merger. Here too, their operations and diversity are very broad. By the way the lion on the tin is dead! I never really paid attention to it, but it is a carcasse which a swarm of bees used as a hive and formed a comb of honey inside (from the Bible: Philistines). The story seems to me to be much older. I am sure it can be found in earlier religions. Anyway, can you imagine branding your product today with a dead horse or a dead monkey? It would not go down well - imagine all those kids needing counselling. Forget about the Rugrat being afraid of the Quaker Man - what about the dead lion! However, it is only fitting that the corporation Tate & Lyle have in a manner branched into the dead lion business, since Henry Tate one of the founders used his fortune to found the Tate Gallery - a spin-off which is the Tate Modern. Quite frightening to think what British kids were exposed to. On top of the dead lion. There were the infamous "golliwogs" which were blatantly racist. They were the mascots so to speak of the jam manufacturer Robertson's. Their marmalade was fantastic. But the golliwog which was based on the drawings in the books of Florence Kate Upton were symptomatic of the British imperialism and racism at its worst. Yet, as a child I was exposed daily to this racist ideology. I am sure it influenced my reactions to different ethnic groups - and to think they still sell this merchandise (not Robertson's as seeing reason and under pressure they removed their mascots).  When you start to ask questions about the daily things you used or consumed in your childhood - there is no end to the investigation, and you never know what will arise. Breakfast, as I can tell you, unless you are lactose intolerant which millions of people are, is not breakfast unless there is milk for the cereal and the tea. In Britain the milk used to be delivered to the doorstep. The pint bottles were glass and had foil tops which were as they are today colour coded according to fat content. I believe we mostly had silver top. I used to love pouring out the cream from the top, it was a milky nectar to the taste. Something quite extraordinary in Britain, aside from the number of affairs milkmen had on their rounds - a myth? - was the fact titmice (chickadees) had learnt how to steal milk.  http://www.birdminds.com/BlueTit.php