Iceland, the shop, is another little island of Britishness in the midst of Spain. Apparently there are ten stores in Spain run as a franchise by Overseas supermarkets. Three of them are near to us here in Cartagena but the closest is the store at San Javier. Walking in there is like walking into the Iceland in Huntingdon. English is the language and even the products that are readily available in Spain come as their UK equivalents - Diet Coke not Coca Cola Light, Walkers crisps not Lays - even the meat is imported.
It's my birthday on Monday and the routine at work is to take along some goodies. I could just load up with Spanish pastries as most of my colleagues do but I think I have a responsibility to fly the flag. A couple of years ago, for instance, I made bread and butter pudding.
I thought Quality Street, the chocolates and toffees, would be good. Very British and no baking. When I was a boy Quality Street were made in the Rowntree's factory just opposite the railway station in Halifax. I went there on two school trips. I remember trying to eat my way through as much of their product as I could. Not only British then but Yorkshire. Alright, I know they're Swiss nowadays but we don't need to be a stickler for detail do we?
Iceland didn't have Quality Street but they did have Cadbury's Heroes. Not quite as much history as QS and now, thanks to Kraft, maybe more American than British but we've already decided against too much detail haven't we? Mint imperials, Love Hearts, blackcurrant and licorice toffee, fudge and (to show that I'm no Little Englander) Scottish shortbread completed ny haul for Monday.
Once we'd started we couldn't stop and the flat is now heaving with multipack tea bags, pork pies, instant porrage oats, brown sauce, Branston and various curry pastes.