Being in someone’s else’s house when they are not there (and you’re not a burglar) is a contemplative experience, like walking round a film set. It may be people that make a home, but an empty home, that once held people, still holds something. I’m in my mother’s house and she’s not here, because she’s away and even though I’ve been here a hundred times since I left home, this time it feels different. I fill the sink with cups that I only wash on a need-to-use basis, and I eat chicken fillets and berries, like a forager with access to a deli counter. I live like this for days. I visit the dentist and then my old friend, Andrea, picks me up and feeds me pizza and the most glorious five-ingredient (chocolate, eggs, sugar, butter and flour) Claudia Roden torta di cioccolato from Roden’s The Food of Italy, which I urge you to buy and try.
The next day I add peanuts to my diet. I’ll head to Selfridges, I think, this will bolster me. Downstairs in the vast chocolate room I notice Bare Bones is now sold here and I spy huge La Molina milk gianduja bars (which are the very best) with hazelnuts or salted almonds, they are reduced from £18.99 to £4.99. It would be rude not to.
But back home I can’t bear to open it as it’s a bar for company and instead spend 75p on a one-person Waitrose 49% Dominican Republic mini bar (one of the best chocolates available in a super market) which is really, all I need.