I saw this advert on the telly for Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. It said they were tasty, tasty, very very tasty, they’re very tasty, and the jingle that went with it stuck in my head. I hummed and sang it the rest of the morning.
At lunch dad told me to quit it. I think I’d sung it three or four times over the oxtail soup before he did. He said, is this going to be like the Club biscuit thing – if you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club – because if it is, I’m going to fine you.
I said, no, but he didn’t believe me. He said, are you sure? Mum’s got some empty jam jars. Five pence for every jingle you hum or sing? I was adamant, no, but when I was doing the dishes, it slipped out and dad held out his hand. I went to my piggy bank and handed it over with a sob.
Over the next few months he fined me again and again. I told him I couldn’t help it. They were too catchy – um bongo, um bongo, they drink it in the Congo – and I sang them without thinking until the jar was full.
I said, what are you going to do now? And dad said, wait and see, and gave me one of those cheeky smiles mum says I got from him.
The next day the jar was empty. I asked where they’d all gone, all my five pences, and dad stood up, went over to the cereal cupboard and pulled out a box of supermarket own brand Honey Nut Cornflakes.
I said, oh.
Dad said, you wanted Crunchy Nut?
I nodded like I knew I wasn’t supposed to.
Dad said, me too, but you now what mum’s like. Try telling her there’s a difference.