Nothing will fill the Bloo Sweet Tulip hole in our heart.
God knows we’ve tried to fill it. Gels, Bleaches disinfectants and methamphetamines we have all tried. Tried and – it has to be said – failed.
So with the arrival of the latest Sainsbury’s shop which was thrillingly documented previously, a new hope emerges.
Bloo Flowers ‘Pink Water’ Cistern Blocks.
Immediately upon on unpacking the shop and fingering (lol) the blocks, we began to pang for the Sweet Tulip of old. Already, we suspected, the hole would persist.
It’s not the cistern block’s fault as such. Its just that they have really strong evocations for us. As a youth, Bleach and Tonic dwelt in the fields of Hampshire. We ran wild in the golden sunset of the South Downs, playing with sticks and stones and cider and a girl called Stephanie, as we aged both more quickly and more slowly than we would have liked to. War and smoke, pimples and sun dappled skin. Nettles and the tang of strongbow. Sighs and birdsong, a rustle. A look and a sharp bitterness.
Our idyls were periodically interrupted by holidays and these holidays were always, always visiting relatives ‘oop north’ (as they don’t say).
We travelled up the M6 lolling on the back seat of the Mini Metro, pining for the countryside until we arrived, frozen and scared in the north. And in the north – cowering from our scary hard cousins – the first thing we always did, as a consequence of our father’s refusal to stop at a service station (‘they just want your money’), was to unleash a torrent of hot southern urine into the cold cistern of a northern toilet
How cold and common these toilets looked. So unlike our own avacado coloured unit with mat and soft carpet back home. These ones looked like school toilets, grim and judgemental, with a cistern mounted ominously above our head and a chain like a hangman’s noose requiring real, real strength to pull.
As we flushed, and dawdled, prolonging things needlessly in order to avoid small talk with our scary cousins and aunties, we watched the toilet water turn cartoon blue. For years this baffled us. For a while, we thought that perhaps the north really was as different as the rumours from down south had suggested.
Then, years later, when we met a girl from the north she explained about cistern blocks.
Immediately, we were intrigued. This sounded to us, then, as the answer to our nascent cleaning needs. One block, pop it in the cistern and it cleans without you doing anything.
Alas life is not that neat. They don’t really work. They really don’t.
So, after a couple of failed experiments years ago, we abandoned them. Until this week, when the desperation of grief caused us to order some, just because they had ‘bloo’ on the packet.
Mrs Gin fumed when she saw them in the bag. She rattled like a stuck kettle.
‘I’m not having them in my toilet’ she said
‘They’re common’ she said.
She said some other stuff, too, which we don’t need to go into here.
‘Pink water pah’ she said as a parting shot. Then she made a quite good medical joke, albeit a very crude one
So, at this point, the review peters out. The bloo sit enigmatic on my desk impervious to the glares of Mrs Gin. I am absolutely forbidden to put them in the toilet. Instead, they sit on my desk and act as kind of ersatz air freshners.
They don’t smell like Sweet Tulip. They smell, bizarrely, a bit like the memory cider. I haven’t told Mrs Gin that, though.
I sit at my desk and I think.
Have a lovely weekend