When I saw these on sale outside a tiny shop in Frigiliana last week I was immediately transported to another time when MasterM and MissM were very small.
An elderly guest speaker at a school prize day talked to the children about the life before them, as most guest speakers do on those occasions, and he emphasised that life can be happy and sad, sour and sweet. The children were not listening because profound statements about adult life do not interest seven year olds. The speaker, who was a wise former headmaster, had anticipated this and, reaching into a bag, flourished a kumquat. "Look" he said "This is a kumquat, it is sour on the outside and sweet on the inside. If you are brave enough to bite through the sour skin you can taste the sweet juice and it will be all the sweeter because of the sour skin. There will be times in your life when you need to be brave so remember the lesson of the kumquat." And then he reached into the bag and taking handfuls of kumquats threw them into the audience and suddenly the children were scrabbling on the floor in their best Speech Day uniform, trying to collect the fruit and the parents and teachers were ducking to avoid being hit by flying citrus.
I told this story to the Young Academic and he was very amused. He had a better story, of course, about an academic who demonstrated a lecture about perception by hitting a bowl of trifle into the auditorium with a golf club. Apparently it was quite messy.