Nostalgia by Robert Heaven

WITH the steady decline in the number of shops in town, I’ve noticed that coffee shops seem to be replacing many.

There used to be a time in Ciren when there were very few places to get a cup of coffee, other than at the Mad Hatter or Castle Grill at one end of the town and Anne’s Pantry in the Market Place or the Blue Door down Dyer Street.

Coffee made at home in the 1960’s was usually “instant” from a jar of fine “dust”.

It got better as time went on, but many people back then preferred to drink “Camp” coffee, a drink which despite its name, has hardly any actual coffee in it.

Camp is a concentrated coffee-flavoured syrup, made from water, sugar, four percent coffee essence and 26 percent chicory essence.

It’s a caffeine free drink which made it a popular bedtime drink when made with hot milk.

Hot milk drinks at bedtime were common at one time and there were a number of different brands on offer for this including Horlics and BournVita, which was a malt and chocolate drink developed in the 1920s as a health drink by Cadbury’s.

Camp “coffee” (now discontinued) was first produced in 1876 and had a label which many readers of a certain age will remember: classical in tone and drawing on the romance of the British Empire - it included a drawing of a Gordon Highlander and a Sikh soldier sitting outside a tent with a flag bearing the slogan “ Ready Aye Ready”.

Despite the popularity of ersatz coffee in my childhood, I also remember going to my aunt’s house at Purton for high-tea and there drinking coffee produced from a chromium plated percolator.

It gurgled away on the cooker spraying boiled coffee into a glass bulb on the top of the device.

It was a thing of beauty - and a mystery to me how the thing worked!