Title: Pink Eskimos

Author: James Norcliffe

In: Sport 8: Autumn 1992

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1992, Wellington

Part of: Sport

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Sport 8: Autumn 1992

9. Dolly Mixtures

9. Dolly Mixtures

The stamp man has a white moustache and smells of pipe tobacco. He has albums of stamps. The albums have covers of maroon and deep navy blue. Dark bottle green. The stamps inside are old and small. Blue. Pink. Brown. Green. Brick red.

The stamps come from strange places like Moldo-Wallachia, jubaland, Griqualand West, Trengganui, and Benadir. The stamp man prefers the stamps of British Possessions with pictures of King George V and King George VI. He has collections devoted to British Possessions in Africa, British Possessions in America, British Possessions in Asia, British Possessions page 180 in Oceania, and British Possessions in Europe.

He likes Bruce and me to visit him and he shows us his stamps. He likes us to sit on his knees and although we feel a little foolish doing this as we are not little kids we go along with it for the Dolly Mixtures.

The Dolly Mixtures are kept in a bowl on his dresser. They are really tiny licorice allsorts. Miniature slices of marzipan separated by equally small slices of licorice. Black and pink and black and white and pink again. Or orange. Or green. Or yellow. They are sweet. Tiny and sweet.

I can peel the slices and eat each segment separately. The marzipan is a faint dissolve of crumbling sweetness and the licorice is a tiny chewy juiciness. Bruce, who bites his fingernails, cannot do this and must eat each Dolly Mixture entire. I find something a little gross in this.

We sit on the stamp man's knee, Bruce on one side, me on the other, and he fingers through the British Possessions and feeds us Dolly Mixtures. Tiny kings and tiny sweetmeats.