Saturday 6 February 2010

Fairy is celebrating 50 years of suds and sparkling dishes !

When I think back to my earliest memories of childhood, I can vividly remember the sights, sounds and smells of playing in my nan's back garden. Racing around in my purple pedal car with red go-faster stripes down the side, bouncing on the plastic horse that was attached to a metal frame by four squeaky, rusty springs, pushing cars through the sand pit and making mud pies, bouncing around on my bright orange Space Hopper with its goofy face ... And every time I glanced up at the house, my nan would be there at the kitchen sink, washing up or emptying the teapot or peeling potatoes or handwashing clothes, her smiling face (or not quite so smiling if she was telling me to make sure there was no cat poo in the sandpit or to keep away from her prized peony !) framed by the kitchen window and peeking out between the box of Tide washing powder and the bottle of Fairy Liquid permanently sitting on the windowsill !

I also remember being really proud of learning my first joke that actually made the grown-ups laugh - and when writing this blog post, I was amazed to see I can still remember it now ! Are you sitting comfortably, this is a long one ?! London's top restaurant was looking for a new head chef and the last few competitors were preparing to battle it out in the final. First up was Gervais, a bit of a wimp but a very nice guy, who had produced a gorgeously light cheese souffle, wowed the judges with his beef Wellington and was now prepapring to show them what he could do with seafood. As this was a top restaurant using only the finest ingedients, fresh fish meant they were plucked straight from the aquarium and donked on the head just before being prepared. As he looked at the poor rainbow trout flopping helplessly on his chopping board, Gervais raised his knife and heard a little voice saying "please don't kill me". Thinking the pressure had finally got to him and he was imagining things, he raised his knife again and clearly heard, "it's me, the fish you just pulled out of the tank, please let me live". Throwing down his knife and screaming, Gervais ran away from the competition, vowing he'd retrain as a hairdresser and never harm a little living, breathing creature ever again. Scoffing at his rival's weakness, the burly German entrant, Hans, took his place and with no qualms, smacked the trout on the head and set to gutting it while it was still flapping about. With the fish safely in the oven, he headed back to the fish tank to find his final ingredient. "Vere ees eet ? I need my calamaris. Ah, here eet ees" and he plucked out a small, sickly-looking baby squid that was cowering in the corner of the aquarium, unsuccessfully trying to hide under a rock. As he placed it on the chopping board, Hans looked in surprise at the squid as it started talking to him. "Please don't kill me, I'm only a baby." He scoffed and replied "I am not a vimp, I do not care". But the squid continued, "Look at me, I'm not very well, I'm all green around the gills. If you cook me I bet I'll poison the judges then you won't win." This argument convinced Hans who threw him back in the fish tank and decided to cook mussels in white wine instead. So the moral of the story is - While Hans can do fishes, he's as soft as Gervais with the wild green fairly sick squid !
I can hear you groaning from here !

But it's not just jokes about Fairy Liquid that can provide hours (well, minutes anyway !) of entertainment. I remember using them frequently in messy play - although nobody called it messy play back then, it was arts and crafts ! Wearing one of my dad's old work shirts on backwards to keep my clothes clean, I'd make all sorts of constructions out of various cereal boxes, egg boxes and plastic bottles. This was the only way packaging got recycled back then ! I remember making a fantastic princess castle with a family-sized box of cornflakes and four Fairy Liquid bottles as turrets that I'm sure must have been pinched and copied as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle at EuroDisney ! I'm not quite sure why but I also remember painting a Fairy bottle yellow and sticking on black cardboard wheels to make a Bananamobile ! My cousin absolutely blew me away by sticking together four Fairy bottles to make a Lilo I could use to float my Barbie dolls around the paddling pool too - now that was really impressive because I'd never thought about them floating before ! And we used to have fantastic water fights in the garden too on hot summer's days, with empty Fairy bottles as the weapon of choice. There was a huge drought in 1976 when I was coming up to five, so I was only allowed to play in the paddling pool that summer if I used up every last drop of water by sucking it up in an empty Fairy bottle and using it to water the plants in the garden !

When I think back to those early childhood memories, it's impressive to see how much fun we had with very few toys. It's all electronic gadgets and games consoles these days. Well, the kids' holidays are about to kick off so I've decided we'll spend a whole day doing "arts and crafts" and seeing what we can make with the contents of the recycling bin ! I wonder if you can still recycle it once it's all been painted, glued and glittered to death ?!

If you want a blast from the past, check out these vintage Fairy Liquid TV adverts on Youtube : Alternatively, get down to your local supermarket because they've brought back the iconic white bottle for a limited time to mark the 50th anniversary !

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