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29 December 2016 / leggypeggy

A little levity in a sad week

fairy floss, cotton candy

So what do you call this sweet sugary treat?

Geez, this has been a rough week with too many tragic deaths. In just a few days, we’ve said sad farewells to George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. They’ve all been a big part of my life.

This year has been cruel. Some of you will have lost a special person in 2016 or perhaps a loved one’s life is still touch-and-go. They may not be famous, but their loss can be no less devastating. I send my condolences.

We can only hope that 2017 will be kinder to all of us. The other day, our local newspaper, The Canberra Times, had an appropriate editorial cartoon that summed up the year. It showed Santa and the Grim Reaper in the locker room. Santa is saying something along the lines of ‘You’ve had a busy year. Plan on taking any time off?’

With all this sadness, I thought a little levity might be in order before we say good riddance to 2016.

In India, it is common to see street vendors selling cotton candy or fairy floss—the name depends on where you live in the English-speaking world.

But I was delighted to learn that this sugary sweet has more interesting names in other cultures. In French, it’s called Father’s Beard. India goes one better and calls it Old Lady’s Hair. If you’ve seen a recent photo of me, you’ll agree the Indian name is the most accurate.

Do you know yet another clever name for this treat?


Leave a Comment
  1. Vicki / Dec 29 2016 10:27 pm

    Nope. Fairy floss works for me.

    Actually since the humidity that’s currently hanging over Melbourne got to my hair yesterday morning, it’s been looking like the Fairy Floss maker’s reject bin 🙂 Sounds like yours was included too??

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:01 pm

      Oh yeah, I’m sure my hair is in the reject bin, which is where it belongs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jeanleesworld / Dec 29 2016 10:50 pm

    Thanks for the smile, Peggy. 🙂 I can’t imagine asking to eat Old Lady’s Hair…actually, I can’t eat cotton candy, either. I blame the circus. Took a trip to the circus when I was 8, ate cotton candy aaaaall day. I still cannot stand the stuff. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:00 pm

      Can’t say I’m a fan of this stuff either, but I look forward to hearing the various names.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Whitechapel Whelk / Dec 29 2016 10:52 pm

    In London, we call it “overly-priced sticky stuff that gets stuck on your face and inside your nostrils if you eat it too voraciously”
    Catchy or what? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maylynno / Dec 29 2016 10:56 pm

    In Arabic it means “girls’ curling job”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 10:59 pm

      Thanks so much for that. I lived in the Middle East for many years and never saw or heard about this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • maylynno / Dec 29 2016 11:06 pm

        Literally it sounds like this in arabic: “ghazel el banat”
        Ghazel: curling, knitting… something in between
        El: the
        Banat: girls

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:36 pm

        Thanks, perfect explanation.


  5. GP Cox / Dec 29 2016 11:06 pm

    I know what you mean. I grew up with Debbie being the “girl-next-door”; was introduced to Carrie when my son got hooked on “Star Wars” and gladly listened to George on the radio. They’ll be missed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:14 pm

      All too sad for me this week.

      Liked by 3 people

      • GP Cox / Dec 29 2016 11:15 pm

        Keep that chin up, Peggy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:39 pm

        Mostly my heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones who aren’t famous. In the big picture, they are just as important as the VIPs. Bless them all.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. ~ Dawn-Marie ~ / Dec 29 2016 11:14 pm

    In Scotland we call it candy floss 🙂

    Such a sad week, I also grew up listening and watching George, Carrie and Debbie … may they all rest peacefully.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. beetleypete / Dec 29 2016 11:24 pm

    We always called it Candy Floss in London. It was only ever for sale at funfairs when I was still young enough to want to eat it.

    My aunt died this morning, aged 93. She wasn’t famous, but she meant the world to me.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2016 11:42 pm

      Oh dear, Pete, I am so very sorry for your loss. Fame, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with how much a person will be missed. I hope you have lots of wonderful memories of your aunt to keep you going.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Malou / Dec 29 2016 11:50 pm

    In Flanders: “Sugar spider”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Malou / Dec 30 2016 12:04 am

    My guitarist will be in good company, wherever he might be… : Rick Parfitt (Status Quo) Leonard Cohen, Prince, Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane) Glenn Frey (The Eagles) David Bowie, George Michael… Indeed a dreadful year!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:25 am

      Yes Malou, your guitarist is in very good company. It’s a rotten way to bring together a band. Hoping 2017 is kinder to us all.


      • Malou / Dec 30 2016 7:58 am

        almost 9 months …

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 9:40 am

        A very long nine months. Sending hugs to you.


  10. Mike Senczyszak / Dec 30 2016 1:33 am

    Boring old ‘candy floss’ in Canada, although I hear the patent is held by a world wide conglomerate of Dental Surgeons.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lorriedeck / Dec 30 2016 1:41 am

    mmmm. I LOVE cotton candy, especially if it is pink. I wish street vendors sold it here; I’d buy it a lot!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Derrick / Dec 30 2016 1:53 am

    I havent had candy floss for years, 50-55 years at least

    But I know they have got a lot smaller, or maybe I have got bigger

    I’d like to see that picture of Santa and the Grim reaper

    (Apparently a bloke got arrested for dressing up like a Grim Reaper and staring into an old peoples home, must have scared the daylights out of them)

    Yup it has been a pretty dire year, a lot have shuffled off lately, but because of the time we were born, its going to happen even more (Baby Boomers)

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:29 am

      The editorial cartoon appeared a couple of days ago and isn’t online yet. I’ll send you a link when it’s there. P.S. I think the candy floss got smaller.


      • Derrick / Dec 30 2016 10:53 am

        Its coming up to two years now when I died of Cerebral Malaria, once in Ghana, then back in the UK, Northwick Park hospital, when I was picked up by the ambulance they thought it was Ebola (it was rife all through Africa at the time)

        The Haz Mat team turned up in yellow suits, my wife was sent to one hospital, I was sent to another (I never knew any of this, its just what my wife told me)

        The whole street turned out to watch

        During the night, at sometime I collapsed in the toilet, she heard me, couldn’t move me, she couldn’t revive me, I had stopped breathing, she called the ambulance, they were there in minutes

        I was revived, sort of, enough to get me into the ambulance

        The next time my wife met up and saw me was in Northwick Park hospital, in IC, all piped up with tubes and wires

        I was in there for 2 weeks, when I woke up I didn’t know who I was, who my kids were or who my wife was (you don’t know how scarey that is not to know who you are, where you are or who these strangers are or how you got here)

        Its been 2 years (nearly) my life has changed, I don’t worry about anything any more, I know things will happen I cant control, I look out of the window, if its raining, if its sunny, too me its another day, I have made it through another night, so anything outside is a bonus

        I have been asked what it was like, I don’t know, everything was dark for a very long time, I never saw any bright lights or heard any voices, I never saw any bearded figures, I never saw angels, I didn’t have any out of body experiences, I never heard harps or trumpets, I don’t even remember waking up, I just woke up

        I ask others, what do you say to someone who saved your life (the doctors and nurses) no one can give me an answer, one tiny nurse did though when I asked her, she said “A thank you is nice, but chocolate is better”

        That has always stuck in my mind

        I still have to go for check ups, scans, blood tests, lung tests, MRI, I forget things, songs bring memories back for me

        I think the only people I have to thank are the doctors, nurses and their skills, and my wife, no mystical figures


      • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 11:01 am

        Oh Derrick, I remember what a horrible run you had—not that you remember any of it. Thank goodness you pulled through, especially because it was touch-and-go for such a long time. But then you’re a tough nut and such an amazing travelling companion. Please pass on our thanks to the doctors, nurses and Anne. And throw in a bit of chocolate. 🙂


      • Derrick / Dec 30 2016 12:23 pm

        I dropped of a box of sweets/chocolate whenever I go there for my check ups

        Yes it was touch or go with me, but the amazing thing was, when I had sort of recovered I was asked if I was going to complete my trip, of curse I did, my Africa trip took nearly a year to complete instead of the 8 month’s it should have

        But this year, it has been terrible seeing all these people, stars/singers/writers who were part of my life passing on,

        I don’t think they minded passing on, I think they were more worried about the people they were leaving behind (I know I would be worried how my wife would cope, being on her own, no one to turn to)

        You aint so bad to travel with yourself, we gotta do it again sometime 🙂


      • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 4:48 pm

        We always knew you were going to complete your trip. It’s one of those things that once started, you have to keep going.

        And I agree. Those left behind suffer the greatest loss. Such emptiness.

        We’ll have to think up some travel plans. 🙂


  13. Rashminotes / Dec 30 2016 2:05 am

    Very true Peggy; I lost my aunt on 20-Dec. She was the eldest in the family. Hope for the best in 2017.
    Wish your family and you a great 2017!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:32 am

      Oh dear, so sorry for your loss. I hope she was able to go peacefully. Wishing your family a happier 2017.


  14. spearfruit / Dec 30 2016 2:22 am

    Thank you Peggy for this post, you bring a smile to my face. I look forward to 2017, I think there are brighter days ahead. Happy day to you my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:33 am

      You are most welcome, Terry. I hope your 2017 is filled with joy and good health.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. susan@onesmallwalk / Dec 30 2016 2:58 am

    Have you ever had to make the stuff? It’s a dreadful flies-around-and-sticks-to everything horror.
    Also – love your expression ‘good riddance to 2016’ – perfect. ~Susan

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:37 am

      Oh gosh, your comment about having ‘to make the stuff’ made me laugh. I can imagine the mess and the flies. Ugh. And yes, it will be good riddance to 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. weggieboy / Dec 30 2016 6:27 am

    I nearly died from end term kidney failure last January, a terrible start to 2016, and my brother died December 19th, a perfectly miserable cap on a crap year that saw Donald Trump elected president of the US with nearly 3,000,000 fewer votes than Hillary Clinton because of a quirky constitutional process people like only when their choice wins by it when their choice got fewer votes than the people cast for….yeah, a crap year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:40 am

      I knew about your rough ride this year. I was so concerned when your blog went silent for many months at the beginning of the year, and then read that your brother died just over a week ago. As for the US election, that was another death this year—the death of democracy. A crap year indeed!


  17. Phyllis / Dec 30 2016 6:29 am

    Yes, not a good year for Baby Boomers. We are at the age of losing loved ones and our actors/singers of our youth are about 10 years older. The Queen was too sick to go to church on Xmas so wondering about her too. Bob lost his brother this month; I lost my best friend in June; and was home in October for mom’s memorial. I like to think they are all transformed into a glorious state that I will have to experience myself to believe! We only have today and that is why I live my life spontaneously, enjoying my life of friends, family, travel, music, and food! Hair bedamned!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 7:45 am

      So sorry to hear about Bob’s brother and your friend. As you say, we are at that age of losing those dear to us. But I fully endorse your spontaneous approach to life. Hair be damned is right!


  18. Alison and Don / Dec 30 2016 10:24 am

    Good ol’ Canberra Times! And I like the alternate fairy floss names. On a personal note I’ve lost a nephew and a long-time friend in 2016. For many reasons it’s a year to bid good riddance. Numerologically it’s a 9 year – endings. Next year is a 1 – new beginnings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 10:41 am

      So sorry to hear of your losses, Alison. This year has had way too many endings. Bring on the new beginnings.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. BoomingOn / Dec 30 2016 11:10 am

    haha. I’m not sure the term ‘old lady’s hair’ is particularly appetising!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 4:43 pm

      Not appetising, but certainly descriptive. Excuse me while I go comb my fairy floss. haha


  20. maureenrose7 / Dec 30 2016 2:26 pm

    oh it is one of my favorites and I call it ‘ aliddle piece of heaven’ my daughter has to keep an eye on me I’m somewhat of an addict haha! I love that it is called fairy floss! Great post Peg much needed indeed thank you for this! XO!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 4:45 pm

      How great that you have your own name for this treat. Glad you liked the post. I thought we were all in need of a boost.

      Liked by 1 person

      • maureenrose7 / Dec 30 2016 8:00 pm

        And what a sweet boost it is! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Sascha Darlington / Dec 30 2016 4:55 pm

    Thank you, Peggy, for such a thoughtful post. One loss in March started me as a blogger in April. There were three others for people close to me.
    David Bowie. Alan Rickman. They started the year and to have it finished with Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is just numbing. I thought the year should have ended yesterday. Let’s just start afresh and hope for the best. Not for a couple of days yet, but let’s cross our fingers that no more beloveds are lost.
    Take care and best wishes for the New Year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 10:41 pm

      You are most welcome. I just thought we needed to end the year with a bit of brightness and a hope for a better 2017. Seems like all of us lost someone we looked up to in 2016—whether famous or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Green Global Trek / Dec 30 2016 6:46 pm

    We never know what life holds. Thanks for a little cheer which reminded me of a childhood memory. As children, our parents would never let us buy cotton candy at the zoo because they said it had too much sugar. For years I watched with envy as others consumed. Then one day finally as a teenager I got to try it! And boy was I disappointed… they were right… too much sugar! But sometimes we have to find these things out for ourselves.

    Have a very happy 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2016 10:44 pm

      So interesting that you should mention the sugar content. One of our daughters said today that a normal ‘balloon’ of cotton candy/fairy floss has about two teaspoons of sugar. That’s about one-fifth of the sugar in a normal bottle of soft drink. I was surprised.


  23. mistermuse / Dec 31 2016 3:47 am

    How about this treat name: TUTU DELICIOUS (or is that name just too too cute)? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. sidilbradipo1 / Dec 31 2016 6:50 am

    – 1 day to 2017 😆
    Hoping it will be much-much better!
    Happy New Year ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Curious to the Max / Dec 31 2016 7:35 am

    Leggy P., Can’t say I agree with you if Old Lady’s Hair is the name most accurate – in none of the pictures I’ve seen is your hair neon pink . . . maybe I need to refresh my browser . . . ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 31 2016 8:15 am

      Oh you got me, Judith. But I was referring to texture, not colour (although I have seen plenty of yellowish-white Old Lady’s Hair). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Curt Mekemson / Dec 31 2016 12:01 pm

    I’d go fairy floss my teeth, Peggy, but I am not sure its a good idea. 🙂 As for Carrie, Princess Leia will live forever! The force be with her. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 31 2016 9:24 pm

      Thanks Curt, I think the force will always be with Carrie. Hope 2017 is good for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Sunny Lanning / Dec 31 2016 1:31 pm

    I grew up calling them candy clouds, and I found out much later that my dad made it up the day he bought me my first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 31 2016 9:44 pm

      Oh wow, that is so cool that your dad made up his own name for this treat. And such a clever name, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Sheryl / Dec 31 2016 2:25 pm

    Until I read this post I never realized that cotton candy (by whatever name) is popular in many different countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 31 2016 9:25 pm

      I wasn’t surprised, especially after I learned that a big balloon of cotton candy has only two or three teaspoons of sugar. That’s impressive.


  29. dianaashworth / Jan 1 2017 4:18 am

    Best wishes for 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. lmo58 / Jan 1 2017 10:22 am

    Thank you Peggy for your very touching tribute to those we have lost and to those who have lost loved ones. As you know, I’m losing Mum bit by bit. I don’t know which is worse. May 2017 be better for everyone! And I have always called it fairy floss. I don’t like it though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jan 1 2017 10:35 am

      My dad was killed in a car accident in the 1967—there one minute and gone the next. Many years later my stepdad died of cancer over about a year. My mother always said it was worse to watch someone die over time and feel so helpless. Hope 2017 is kind to you.


  31. lmo58 / Jan 1 2017 12:07 pm

    Thank you Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. experienceofthinking / Jan 1 2017 10:48 pm

    Have a happy Sunday of the new year. Ciao.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. sepultura13 / Jan 2 2017 4:15 pm

    I haven’t had “sugar webs” (what I called it as a kid) in ages! Pink, blue, or purple…I love the stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Elouise / Jan 3 2017 11:36 am

    So how am I to know about your recent hair without a recent photo thereof? 😱😰😮🤔😳😉

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Elouise / Jan 3 2017 11:38 am

    You can delete this one! 😊


  36. Elouise / Jan 3 2017 11:38 am

    Oops…see below 😊


  37. milliethom / Jan 4 2017 12:46 am

    It’s been a sad year all round, with the deaths of so many ‘celebrities’, many of whom were very well-loved. It all seemed to kick off with David Bowie last January. But three in one week was a real blow. We call the sweet stuff candy floss in most parts of England, and I’ve never liked it, even as a child. I’ve never seen any shaped like the one in your photo, though – or one as big! Old ladies’ hair might suit me, too, but my hair’s dead straight. A perm would probably do the job… Nah, I’ll give it a miss. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jan 4 2017 9:44 am

      Yes, a sad year filled with losses of all kinds.

      As for Old Lady’s Hair, mine is frizzy, curly and fuzzy at the same time. Perfect description even if I don’t care for the stuff either. 🙂


  38. The Year I Touched My Toes / Jan 4 2017 1:50 pm

    Soooo…’ve gone pink? Or perhaps a splash of pink? I know some fun pink-heads. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jan 4 2017 6:48 pm

      I’m almost always in the pink, but wearing black and tan camping clothes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Holistic Wayfarer / Jan 8 2017 9:29 am

    Beard I can do but hair…egh.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder / Jan 10 2017 8:08 am

    😀 😀 yes, mostly we call it candy floss but Old Lady’s hair is also common…

    Liked by 1 person

  41. macalder02 / Jan 18 2017 12:09 am

    Your story is enviable. One would like to be immersed in your stories. You do it exceptionally divine.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Rekha / Mar 27 2017 5:56 pm

    Old lady’s hair or as it is called in hindi – buddi ka Baal. Buddi is old lady and Baal is hair. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2017 6:11 pm

      It is such a wonderful name for it. Thank you for adding it in Hindi.


      • Rekha / Mar 27 2017 6:13 pm

        You’re welcome 🙂
        Actually, there is another sweet called soan papdi. The ones that melt in the mouth, they are also known as buddi ka Baal. I think, in general, any melt in mouth, sugary stuff (like cotton candy) is called buddi ka Baal. But a funny name isn’t it. Cotton candy and an old lady’s hair has nothing in common 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2017 10:15 pm

        Oh, I see a kind of similarity. Old ladies’ hair can be thin and wispy like cotton candy. Thanks for telling me about soan papdi. I’ll have to try it next time I’m in India.


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