I have good news and bad news for Richard O’Connor. The bad news is that the box of chocolate bars which he gave me to distribute to my most influential colleagues is sitting, half eaten, in my kitchen cupboard. The good news is that he and his co-founders at Chocolate and Love have a new customer for life. Seriously, do yourself and your Christmas Stocking-filling friends a big favour and buy some Crushed Diamonds for your best friends tomorrow.
“Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings”. So said Euripides. (Incidentally, a friend of mine had a Greek dry cleaner called Euripides Eupayforthese). Someone who really does know a thing or two about the finer things in life is that Fleur Britten. She has just written A Hedonists Guide to London, a beautifully-bound tome which disguises its contents well. Fleur explains;
“Now that ‘tourist’ is a dirty word, no one wants to stand out as a newcomer. Unlike any other city guide, A Hedonist’s guide to London boasts a design that whispers discretion, not ‘TOURIST!’; no wonder it’s designed for visitors and residents alike.”
It’s good to see Fleur getting outdoors a bit. Her last book was dedicated to Couch-Surfing, something she describes as “free friendly, new way to travel”. For the uninitiated, couch-surfing is “a global community of over a million people in 232 countries that offers couches, beds and body-sized horizontal surfaces via the internet for fellow members to bunk down on for the night”. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? The best thing about this outlandish definition is that the National Geographic reckons that there are only 193 countries in the entire world. This means that couch-surfing COULD (but will not necessarily) lead to adventures in 39 countries which don’t even exist! Just imagine THAT. Neverland. Narnia. Middle Earth. Xanadou. Fantasia. Where will it all end?
It’s the place where Never Ending Story is set. Fantasia. Don’t pretend you knew that. And I won’t pretend that I knew, before checking Wikipedia, that the boy in the film was played by a little chap called Baret Oliver. He was.
Speaking of Never-Ending…this financial crisis is dragging on a bit isn’t it? Good news last week though. Apparently the economy grew during the last quarter. Stop nodding. Do you know what that means? Does anyone really, actually know what that means? Yes, I’m sure that the Clevor Trevors in the economics department know, but would you really want to turn out like one of them? The ‘economy grew’ is a clever phrase though, because it allows us to gaze at the thermostat and breathe a sigh of relief. It saves us some rather trickier questions about whether we’re any happier, better-off, safer as a result. Don’t worry about THAT. The economy GREW. And breathe.
Mintel reckons that sales of chocolate have grown by 9.2% over the past two years. We’re cheering ourselves up with a few chunks before bedtime. The research firm (which, incidentally, sounds like a sweet), predicts that the market for chocs will grow to a Willy Wonking £4.1bn by 2015. So you see the recession hasn’t been bad for everyone has it? I don’t feel so bad about Richard O’Connor after all.