Quirky and funny stories in the Dunstable area

Metin Bas's new sweet shop really looks a treat
Metin Bas's new sweet shop really looks a treat

A new shop in Dunstable is sure to enjoy sweet success – in every sense.

For this newcomer to the town’s high street really is a proper sweet shop – complete with giant jars of goodies. Hooray!

Anyone who really knows me can tell you there are two things that really grab my attention – tea and sweeties.

So you can imagine my delight when I found Sweets & Treats, in High Street North.

There are about 150 different types of sweet sensations on the shelves. In other words, it’s “chock-full”...

I had a chat with the owner, Metin Bas, and he is very pleased that customers are telling him that they love the shop. What’s not to like?

Goodies include old-fashioned favourites like aniseed balls, bonbons, mint humbugs and pear drops, all weighed out and handed over in proper paper bags. Heaven.

Metin opened the shop just two weeks ago because he felt we needed a new sweet shop.

Mmm. That’s what I call a sweet deal!

Fifty years ago, Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night was packing ‘em in at the cinemas.

Now a tribute show, The Magic Of The Beatles, is heading for Dunstable on a tour to mark that anniversary. They’ll be at the Grove Theatre on March 15.

That brings back memories of the time that The Beatles themselves really were lined up to come to Dunstable.

Diane Ilka’s book The ‘Cali’ Album tells the tale.

The Beatles WERE booked to appear at Dunstable’s long-gone California Ballroom.

But sadly, the Fab Four never actually played there. Why?

Well, they’d been double-booked by Brian Epstein.

He then wanted the Cali to boost their fee from £60 to £250 for an appearance on another date. Cheeky.

Diane’s grandfather, Cali founder Edwin Green, protested. He was sent three other artists instead, for £60.

It’s hard to believe now but at one time, Dunstablians took it for granted that people would flock here from all over to see the hottest acts around.

Big names at the Cali included Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, The Bee Gees, Tom Jones – the list is endless.

Acts were often shrewdly booked to appear for affordable fees, before they hit the big-time. Lulu and the Luvvers were paid £225, The Who were given £400 and Status Quo came with a £150 price tag.

Some acts who appeared there have faded into oblivion now. But even among the youngsters, memories of the legend that was the Cali still live on...

February’s edition of Team Spirit, the Parish of Dunstable Church Magazine, includes a snippet about mottos and mantras.

The writer mentions a postcard which he and his late wife bought on honeymoon.

It’s a Mabel Lucie Attwell cartoon showing a boy and girl standing close together, making up with a few sweet words: “Let’s be nice likes we was before.”

The newly-weds realised that might be a useful mantra to help resolve any minor tiff that might (unthinkably) arise.

It came in handy on the odd occasion in 58 loving years. And the writer tells of how the postcard still stands on his dressing table. How lovely.

Hmm. Sending a few of those postcards to warring politicians and generals would get my stamp of approval...