In Search of Families In Search of Adventure
A Family on a Bike Tour: New Zealand, Samoa, USA and Canada 2004/2005

Breaking the rules

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From:       Stuart
Subject:   Breaking the rules
  Date:         28 December 2004
     Orari, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand


I've never been one to give the kids sweets; never seen the point. They rot their teeth, fuel a sugar filled craziness, and lead to constant pestering for more. We have a general 'no sweets' rule for the kids at home, except at Christmas and Easter when others push them into their hands.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to sweets and chocolates, in fact I rather love them. It runs in the family. My Dad has a sweet tooth and it's a gene I'm sure he passed to me. I can still recall the excitement of Sunday afternoons when Dad proposed a visit to Mr Dela Mura's sweety shop. Back then most shops were closed on Sundays but not Mr Dela Mura. He was a local Asian pioneer of seven day opening and we were grateful. His shop was another country to me, different to the 'normal' shops Mum took me to; slightly shabby, confusing and disorganised, a pungent spicy aroma hanging in the air, and a background siren of Indian music. Mr Dela Mura himself was dark skinned with a thick Indian accent and a brilliant white toothed smile. He served sweets from glass jars, pouring them with a clatter onto his scales, slipping them with a rustle into white paper bags, placing them gently on the counter where they were snatched away by over eager hands. I loved my visits to this foreign place and the rewards that came from it, but while I'm happy to take my kids travelling I've done my best to deny them sweet pleasures. Until we reached Arrowtown.

Peering into The Remarkable Sweet Shop in Arrowtown

"Look Dad, a sweety shop," said Matthew honking his spiderman horn to attract my attention. He pointed excitedly at a small shop on Arrowtown's main drag, his eye drawn to its' pretty white wooden windows lined with jars parading a colourful festival of sweeties. This beautiful sight really was 'The Remarkable Sweety Shop' the sign announced. The boys were transfixed. I was torn. I wanted to take the boys in but knew there was no way out without a pocketful of sweeties and a broken rule. We parked the bikes and two wide eyed boys raced to push their noses against the windows. Stepping inside, shiny wooden shelves were lined with sweet memories; giant glass jars with big plastic screw lids stacked neatly from floor to ceiling, each containing a different delight - humbugs, wine gums, pear drops, toffees, butterscotch, fudge, and chocolate limes. Lower down, liquorice torpedos, sherbet fizz, candy necklaces and pick 'n mix set out in boxes that just invited little fingers to pick them up and take them home.

What, fill this basket? Really Dad?

A happy half hour later we left that beautiful place, wearing smiles, clutching a paper bag each and chewing on candy bracelets. That morning as we cycled away the boys were the quietest and most compliant they've ever been in their buggies. As I sucked on a spicey apple drop, I was left wondering whether home rule could ever be restored or whether the road required different rules.

A broken rule and happy faces



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