Back in the mists of time when life is far less complicated and far more innocent, there was a young boy muddling his way through his existence, doing his best to do what he could to survive. Part of that of course wa merrily taking on Strawberry Bon-Bons not understanding the hidden dangers. Yet this would materialise well into the future. For the meantime, this young boy coasted merrily along without a thought in the world as to the wonder that would change his world forever.
As we know rather than cups of tea or coffee, the real hot beverage of any benefit to humanity is the hot blackcurrant Ribena. Introduced to it way back when, I discovered it’s soothing and healing qualities and quickly became a fan of it. Indeed during my university days when I discovered the hassle a cup of tea involved – tea bags, sugar, milk – even hot water for crying out loud – I also found out that Ribena needed no such hassles. What a life-saver!
Yet even before the halcyon days of university where money was just the thing that you didn’t have enough of after you’d spent it all by the end of the semester, there was a great surprise in store. The Blackcurrant Ribena is only the Daddy of the chain. A chain I became very familiar with as that young boy muddling through life. For back even before university, whilst I went to school and took along me school lunch lovingly made by my beloved mother (who you know to be The Greatest Cook on this Earth), she decided to pack some drinks in there.
We never bought drinks to consume, and we never got into bottles, because we had the small-ish cartons that Ribena provided. For a long time I satisfied myself with the blackcurrant flavour, because I knew no better. Then it came …
Suitably enough with the fruit adorned on the cover instead of the blackcurrant. In glorious red rather than the violet of the blackcurrants there it stood in me lunch pack. A drink that would never let my drinking experience stay the same ever again.
There stood …
The Strawberry Ribena carton.
Of course there were other siblings in the mix, like sugar-free blackcurrant, the Apple flavour and even the crazy Apricot option, but once I sipped (ok sucked, it was through a straw after all) of the tongue elevating, taste glorifying mixture of that Strawberry carton I was elevated to atmospheres beyond our own. To call it delicious is an understatement so criminal, I’m surprised I’ve not been arrested even for typing the sentence in this paragraph. It was more than sumptuous, it was more than breathtaking, this was a taste surely of what heaven is like.
From then on I was always on the look-out for that there Strawberry Ribena. Whenever my dear mother got that nine-pack featuring the three flavours of Apricot, Daddy or Strawberry, you could put your last red penny on me doing whatever it took to lay my hands and taste-buds on it. My sister knows, for she would use this to manipulate me to conduct feats too gruesome to recount on a family blog. (Let me put it this way, it involved dirty dishes and cutlery along with a sponge, some soap, some warm to hot water and the rest is just too horrid to share in terms of what may be described as domestic hardship.)
Overcoming the cruelty, I still maintained my love for that carton – no need for diluting, for it was ready made, no need for fussing for the straw was already available. Just piercing through the silver foil and putting me lips on that straw could turn a dehydrated and deflating situation into the most refreshing and euphoric experience on earth. Doubts were cast away, fears were set aside, thirst was vanquished and I stood a brand new man ready to fight the good fight of a young boy’s existence. (This primarily consisted of ensuring I could get the Roy of the Rovers comic and sneak it to read during ‘prayer time’, and not let my Mum know just how overdue the library books were.)
Since those childhood days, the good people at Ribena have gone on to make a concentrated form of the strawberry drink after much campaigning from me. By much campaigning, I didn’t actually campaign – no pickets, or petitions or even polite pleas in their direction, but I’m sure they read my mind where I was campaigning furiously for this change to take place if they had Daddy, they could surely make room for their top commodity.
Yet for the glory of this concentrated for, it still cannot compete and compare with that ready-made carton experience. Naughty Ribena have tried to pull a fast one on me by having a Raspberry flavour as well in a similar carton. But I will not be duped. You cannot be deceived when it comes to knowing the taste of Strawberry. Once tasted it cannot be beaten for sheer taste. It could not be beated for that young boy way back then, and it cannot be beaten for this young man all those years later.
All hail the Strawberry Ribena carton!