Thursday, 19 December 2013
Ted Hughes: Half Man, Half Biscuit
Among many other brands (I never met a biscuit I didn't like - unless it was those little pink wafers, about which Slater was, I thought, over-generous), I was partial to the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer (though the Tunnock's Tea Cake was no competition for the magnificent Munchmallow). Tunnock's is a Scottish firm, and at the University of St Andrews some bright sparks set up, in 1981, a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Appreciation Society - a typical piece of laboured undergraduate wackiness. Amazingly, it is still going strong, and duly featured in Slater's programme. In its early days, the society used to send out Caramel Wafers to the great and good, inviting them to autograph and return the wrappers. Among those who did - three times, on three wrappers - was the craggy Yorkshire poet Ted Hughes, who not only signed his name but scrawled a few lines of verse. Here they are - the Ted Hughes Tunnock's Trilogy:
1. To have swallowed a Crocodile
Would make anybody smile.
But to swallow a Caramel Wafer
2. St Columbus [?Columba] ate a heifer
then wrote a psalm on the hide
So I ate a Caramel Wafer
and rhymed on the wrapper's inside.
3.Where the Devil can't get
He sends the Old Woman.
Perhaps that last couplet strayed from somewhere else...