In conversation with La Grande Poobah the other day, I made the claim that I never eat chocolate except at Christmas. This is, in fact, largely true, although it would perhaps be more accurate to say that I never buy it, in much the same way as I never buy Hello!, but occasionally and reluctantly accept it if offered. I’ve always been fonder of a sausage roll or a cheese and onion pasty from that Scottish high street fatty-pastry stalwart, Greggs (the dough-faced assistants in the Greggs round the corner from the first office I ever worked in, in Queensferry Road in Edinburgh, once excommunicated one of my silly colleagues for asking for a cheese savoury in a funny voice, thus marking him out immediately as a) English and b), a deduction not unnecessarily unconnected in the dough-faced mind with a), a twat; this had the lifelong fatwa-style effect of disbarring him from ever being able to buy so much as an egg sandwich in there).
However, sitting at my desk on a somewhat jetlag-ridden afternoon, bathed in sunshine reflected from the Far East Finance Centre and eating a Lindt chocolate from a box I bought for the office at Heathrow airport and transported to Hong Kong, I mused that what I really, really liked to do as a student was buy a king-size Milky Bar and wolf it down with a cup of tea. The sickly sweet taste of the little white Lindt chocolate ball had sufficient Pavlovian impact on my memory that for a moment I was back there, at my desk in my flat in Glasgow, with the delightfully promising package of a whole slab of white chocolate goodness opened before me, forcing myself to focus on my ill-advised project of translating from German an article by Fritz Stark on ever-greater union amongst European states for my degree dissertation on European law, at a time before computers were taken for granted and no one could possibly dream of having one of their own (I cringe to remember that I wrote my first CV by hand). Not an altogether pleasant memory, to be sure, and one that will, mercifully, serve to keep me away from the rest of the chocolates.