Hokey Pokey and…Mrs Ever-Ready

My father worked for multi-national companies and as a consequence was frequently away on overseas business trips.  Sometimes my mother was able to travel with him so we would be left in the care of hired help.  I don’t know where mum got them from, probably out of the paper, but they were all odd and a few of them are not easily forgotten.

One of the hired help was Mrs Reddy but we called her ‘Ever-Ready’ after the battery.  She came when I was about eight and Em would have been a year younger.  I think she minded us for three weeks but it seemed like three months.  She was an old crabby woman who was convinced we were plotting and scheming behind her back and lying awake at night thinking up acts of naughtiness.  She was also lazy and while we were happy to make our beds and hang up our bath towels and put our clothes away, she expected a more significant contribution.

Hokey Pokey (Honeycomb)

One night after dinner when Em and I were dressed in our nighties and about to go to bed, she came into the TV room and told us we had to go and wash the kitchen floor.  She marched us into the kitchen and left us there closing the door behind her as she headed towards our seats in front of the TV.

The kitchen was quite a large room with a dining area attached.  It had been recently renovated and was up-to-the-minute with tiny chocolate brown tiles on the walls, bright orange laminex bench tops, dark brown cupboards and a very modern contraption called a dishwasher.  The floor was covered in textured chocolate brown and orange lino.

Em and I stood there looking at the floor and wondering how you would clean it.  I knew you had to put the dark-stained timber bar stools upside down on the orange bench so we did that and then we knew nothing more except that water was involved.  We went into the laundry and filled two large buckets with water, then came back into the kitchen and asked each other what we should be doing with the water.

Em had no idea but I was sure I knew.  I said, ‘I think you just pour it all over the floor then wipe it with some cloths or something’.  So we upturned the buckets and the kitchen floor turned into a shallow pond.  Our floor length nighties were getting wet so we took them off leaving ourselves stark naked.  We found some cleaning cloths then got down on the floor and started slipping and sliding all over the place.  It was like being in an enormous pool and we were adding more water and laughing and giggling and having the time of our lives until water started flowing into the TV room.  That’s when all the fun ended.

Mrs Ever-Ready marched into the kitchen and was horrified at the nudity and the underwater kitchen.  ‘What have you done?’  she screamed, ‘Get you clothes back on’.  We were stunned.  She assumed what we had done was entirely premeditated  and she took a wooden spoon out of the drawer and smacked us and sent us to bed.  We were quite confused as we were sure we were doing a good job with the cleaning but perhaps we used a bit too much water and surely it was better to wash the floor in the nude than get our nighties wet.

It was a relief when our parents returned and she was shown the door.

I didn’t know how to wash a floor but I did know how to make hokey pokey.  This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.  It’s incredibly easy to make, only requires three ingredients, can be made inexpensively and in a flash.  It’s excellent served with ice cream, fruit or with coffee after at a dinner party.  Best made in non-humid conditions!

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey – Honeycomb!

Serves:  Many

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  ‘Cheap as Chips’

Hokey Pokey

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tbspns golden syrup
  • 2 tspns baking soda

In a large saucepan over medium heat combine sugar and golden syrup.  Stir constantly and bring to the boil.  When the mixture boils reduce heat to minimum and simmer for five minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and add baking soda.  Stir vigorously (the mixture will rise) then pour into a greased loaf tin.  Allow to cool and set, then chop into bite sized pieces.

Want to keep in touch?  Let’s be friends on Facie!




  1. The image of two little naked sisters slip sliding their way around the kitchen is great fun. Sorry it didn’t end so well for you, Charlie. The stuff people did o kids ‘back in the day’… x

  2. She sounds like a real monster! Hokey Pokey looks very intriguing and what a funny name 🙂

  3. How can she yell at you like that if she was working for you?
    What does hokey pokey taste like? Cookies or sweet bread….it looks fascinating!

  4. so simple to prepare the hohey pokey? Nice one!

    Latest: Anything IS Food!

  5. Interesting approach by Mrs. Reddy. ,,, and hokey pokey? Brittle like?

  6. Well Charlie, that was almost too funny to read!
    I’m talking of course about not just the nudity and good old Ever Ready but in particular the kitchen renovation. If it wasn’t orange and brown it would have been lime and brown. Don’t even mention the textured lino. I can feel it on my tootsies as I type. I am hoping that – besides a new fandangled ‘breakfast bar’ you also had a ‘rea’l bar to go with the dark stained bar stools. I’m picturing Pimms on a glass shelf up behind and some coloured venetian style beer glasses (rimmed with gold) and a crystal decanter or 2 .
    Hokey Pokey was a favourite from my childhood as my mum inherited the Edmonds Cookery Book from somewhere… The whole frothy witchy cauldren aspect never fails to fascinate me. I shall be using your very friendly recipe anon.

  7. I’ve seen Nigella Lawson make a version of this that she pours on a Silpat, bakes and then smashes to bits. This looks like a tasty version as well!

  8. I hope that the old cranky-pants was never invited back. I can totally see me and my sisters doing what you and your sister did. Never heard of Hokey Pokey, but it looks and sounds great.

  9. This is hilarious…two mischievous little girls.

  10. Wait…that’s NOT how you wash the floor??

    I’ve never heard of a hokey pokey before but it seems so simple, I MUST have it tonight!

  11. I’ve never heard of this before, so thank you for introducing me to something new and tasty looking! Such an easy recipe, too. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m having a great giveaway today with four potential prize winners, so you should enter!

  12. Oh Gosh she sounds like the Cinderella’s stepmother or some wicked witch! Oh I’m so worried to whom I can rely when it comes to this matter.
    I’ve never seen this recipe before, it looks so easy that it’s exciting!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. This story set up quite a visual of two little girls naked and sloshing about, making the best of a bad situation, as kids always seem to do. Fun now to read, less fun probably for you when you were smacked!

    My grandfather used to by Lyle’s Golden Syrup by the case. Oh, what I would give for just one container! It’s not available here in San Miguel, but if it were, hokey pokey would be on the table today.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh Victoria, that is such a shame you can’t buy golden syrup in San Miguel. It’s an ingredient I make sure I always have in my pantry as I use it all the time. How frustrating for you. I’m not sure what a good substitute would be. Have a lovely weekend xx

  14. What’s golden syrup? Maple syrup? Corn syrup? I’m always learning new names for things from other parts of the world.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Posy, the other name for golden syrup is light treacle. It is different to maple syrup and corn syrup. It is made from the refining of sugar. I hope you’re able to buy it in the USA. xx

  15. Wow, that is again an incredibly story. My Mom hired a Hungarian woman to look after us (very young) one day (just during the day) and she happened to come home early. The old bag was taking a bath while my brother and I ran around the flat. Weirdos are everywhere…the woman called my Mom looking for a reference…she said, You’re kidding, right?
    I love the recipe, Charlie, they call it Sponge Candy in Canada…one of my absolute favourites when I was a kid.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I can’t believe she was taking a bath while on duty! And then she called for a reference? What a scandal xx

  16. O-M-G – thanks for sharing! Reminds me of the scene in the movie Ms Doubtfire of her interviewing nannies – ha! Have a Great Weekend:)

  17. Wow. Bet that witch was drunk (I meant to say something else than witch, but I guess that’s not very foodblogger like, is it?). How can she demand from children to clean the kitchen floor? Especially so late at night. Hope she got what she deserved.

    The name hokey pokey is new to me. I only know it as honeycomb (toffee) and remember it very well chocolate covered as “Crunchie” bars – the most amazing British chocolate bar EVUR! 😉


    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Tobias, yes, the Crunchie bar is my favourite chocolate bar. Here we also have a violet crumble bar that is made from honeycomb as well. Of course hokey pokey ice cream was my favourite ice cream when I was growing up. All those wonderful bits of honeycomb in every mouthful! xx

  18. I just can not believe she smacked you. I’m happy she got shown the door. And I thought the hokey pokey was a dance and not a dish LOL. I was totally confused lol. But these look so darn delicious

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi, it’s not a dish, it’s a sweet/candy. It seems from the comments that you don’t have it in the USA. It’s known as either hokey pokey or honeycomb and here you can buy it in ice cream or in a chocolate bar. It’s very sweet and very crunchie.

  19. I can’t believe she did that.

    This dessert is new to me. Always thought that Hokey Pokey was a song.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Biana, Hokey Pokey is a song but also a name the name given for this sweet/candy by New Zealanders. In Australia we call it honeycomb. It’s sold here as a chocolate bar called Violet Crumble or Crunchie. In NZ it’s made into a very popular ice cream called Hokey Pokey ice cream. I’m not sure if you have it in the USA.

  20. From the sound of it, I doubt whether that woman was ever called back to a home. She just doesn’t seem particularly well-suited for being a nanny. Hokey pokey is completely new to me, although I’ve heard of sponge candy. I do have a jar of Golden Syrup so I may give my friends a treat some day soon. Thanks, Charlie Louie!

  21. I thought that yours plan was perfectly sensible! Who wants to sleep in soggy nighties? Cranky old Biddy, how dare she smack you!
    We had lovely creamy Lino until a small fire, when it was replaced with trendy bright orange new textured Lino- maybe our parents got it at the same store 🙂
    I love your hokey pokey, its so much nicer with golden syrup than with real honey too, yumm!

  22. My friend and I did a similar thing ones. We were having a bath and sliding from one end of the bath to the other. The water was splashing everywhere and then someone got the brilliant idea of soaping up the floor. We’d sit facing the door and push off all the way over to the other side. It was soo much fun but my friend’s mother wasn’t too happy!

    Isn’t hokey pokey the best thing. So simple to make but it looks so fancy!

  23. I love hokey pokey or honey comb. I only had them in crunchy bar, I need to make my own soon.
    Strange behaviour by Mrs. Reddy. I wonder if she cleaned up the kitchen floor herself, nude:)

  24. See… something containing syrup wouldn’t be considered cheap for me… I can only find it in certain places and at a very expensive price!!! Still the recipe looks good enough to give it a try!!

    By the way, that woman seems horrible…

  25. Now that recipe I can do! Regretfully, there was no door between our kitchen and living room when we were kids or we too would have gotten away with a LOT more than we did. Kudos to you and your sis for making a good effort. This made me laugh.

  26. I loved your story today! Imagine her face when she saw you two!! Hilarious! Love this recipe.. anything so yummy with only three ingredients?? Sold!!

  27. That is such a great story, I can totally picture it. What a strange old woman, did you both get to humiliate her on her way out the door? I hope so. 🙂
    Great recipe, love maple syrup too.

  28. Hokey pokey sounds much more fun than being with Ever-Reddy! What a story.

  29. The idea of an underwater kitchen appeals to me greatly but I am sorry you had someone there to spoil the fun! What a horrid woman.

    This hokey pokey looks amazing and I love the sort ingredient list. I will be trying it this Easter I think!

  30. Oooo. good! I’ve been meaning to try making honeycomb. 🙂

  31. Oh dear, I remember when the wooden spoon was so common! I don’t know if they’re even allowed to show them these days but they certainly were when I was little!

  32. What a horrible woman, I hope your parents didn’t hire her again!

  33. So THAT’s how you make hokey pokey!

  34. I would have been on your side!Was a fun little story to read and now I want to try Hokey Pokeys. Can I make those with different flavoures too?

  35. Ohhh i had a similar experience! My parents went to the US with my 3 sisters and because I was only 3 years old they decided to leave me with a lady and she looked after me for 3 weeks too! I still remember she wasn’t mean or anything but she wasn’t a very friendly or caring lol

    Gosh this Ms Reddy seems so scary… i can’t believe she hit you with a wooden spoon that’s so mean! it’s so silly how she would assume that you would know how to clean the floor…sighhh hope she never came back 🙂

  36. Oh where did your parents find these crazy people. I can only imagine the fun you must have been having slipping and sliding around that kitchen

Speak Your Mind