Childhood, ah, such a bewildering time to be alive. For one, you have no responsibility and so much potential. You have no money but everything you actually need is provided to you for free. If you want to spend the entire weekend sat with your face in the television with a mouth full of marshmallows then you can, or at least until one or more of your parents objects to this. The point is that, as everyone is aware, life is so very different as a child.
I could bore you to tears with stories of my time as a tiny Ian. You may or may not have heard them already and the ones you haven’t heard are just as tedious. Believe me, I am doing you a favour by keeping my mouth shut. I haven’t quite reached the age of telling every single person I meet in the street (not that they would given how bovona has given everyone carte blanche to ignore you even if you have a leg hanging off or knife at your throat) of the time I found £1.10 in the front garden in the snow and became so excited you would have thought I had discovered the Turin Shroud hanging off the bin.
Do you remember those… things that you used to make? I want to remember the name and I don’t want to have to Google it like everything else. The power of words (Words!) don’t fail me now. You folded it up and asked someone to say a number. Then you would use your hands to move it the appropriate number of times and ask for another number, repeat, and then open one of the panels to reveal some mystifying piece of knowledge. It looked a little like this:
No, I haven’t lost my mind and made one I did something much more reasonable; I found one on the floor and brought it home. A scruff I may be and nothing more because there is no other way of finishing that sentence. I wanted to remember a time that was much more innocent, of whistle pops and candy whistles, running around the park until your lungs bled with Tizer (you know, before they changed the formula and made it taste like a shark’s coldsore). I am not clever enough to make a fully functioning version of this, nor an interactive snazzy one on a computer. I do want you to know this though:
If you pick 0 or 1: You are a banana If you pick 2 or 3: I am in love with you If you pick 4 or 5: You are in love with me If you pick 6 or 7:
I said I’d bring you good news in these dark times and I jolly well will. The “jolly good” series continues with a tale of more free food.
It wasn’t a good easter for supermarkets and other food retailers. Near where I work, the food hall of a big department store remained open throughout the present mess, because it sold essential groceries, but as it wasn’t being visited by tourists and families any more, and as its customers were mainly just trying to buy food to help them survive, they didn’t sell all the chocolate they’d ordered in.
Now, if you go there, they are literally giving away chocolate at the exit, in an effort to shift it before it goes off.
Today, one of my colleagues headed out from work, explained that my department are all still working in central London, and that we’d be happy to help out with their problem. The food hall’s delighted manager couldn’t load him up with free chocolates fast enough.
We now have this.
The “this” in question is, at a rough estimate, more than 500 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, plus a random assortment of whatever other Easter eggs and other things were lying around the storeroom.
I have eaten several Creme Eggs today, and I feel a bit sick. But in a good way.
In these trying times, we’re all hearing more than enough that worries, frightens or discombobulates us. To ease your worries, calm your nerves and recombobulate your addled mind, I’ve decided to make a regular habit of posting good news.
Here’s the first hit of happy headlines. Strap in.
I was in Greggs this morning to get some breakfast, having spent the night away from home. After I placed my order, the barista (being from London I assume the people behind the counter are baristas, like in Cafe Nero) asked me “do you like gingerbread?”
That’s not a difficult question. “I do”, I replied.
He put a gingerbread man in a little bag and put it on the counter with my order. “Here you go,” he said. “That’s free.”
When I asked about this gingerbread generosity, he explained that head office had – for no reason he could see – sent him about 200 extra gingerbread men and he’d never be able to sell them all. So he was just handing them out to anyone who wanted one.
Admittedly my free gingerbread man has distressingly fat legs, and has been given icing and smarties in a particularly slapdash way, almost as though the person adding his buttons had 200 of them to do and thought they might all end up in the bin, but all in all this is an absolute win. Hurrah!