Here’s an immutable law of business life.
It doesn’t matter where your office is, you very quickly become bored sick with whatever’s available for lunch.
If it’s within walking distance, you’ve eaten it: you’re fed up with it: you want something new.
Your office could be next door to La Gavroche and before long you’d be thinking, “Hell’s bells, Michel, not La Piece de Boeuf Grillee Echalote et Sauce au Vin Rouge again. Hasn’t Monica picked up any new ideas on Masterchef?”
So when a leading supermarket opened a “local” (translation: “small”) in the town centre, I fell on it with glee.
Yeah! Whoop! A sandwich I hadn’t eaten before.
Two days later I’d decided the sandwiches were high on price and low on filling.
But still, it was handy. Dog food, cat food and – most importantly – essential supplies when I was collecting Ben from school.
As every parent knows, it’s illegal to collect your child from school without food.
Delay handing over the grub by even a couple of minutes and social services will quite rightly be knocking on your door.
I’m a dutiful father and of late chocolate milk has been high on my son’s agenda…
…Which means I’ve been staring at the banana milk which is right next door.
And on Friday the inevitable happened.
What’s going on? I’m mature. I’m sophisticated. I drink wine. Eat the right cheese with it. What am I doing drinking banana milk?
To be blunt – shouldn’t I have grown out of banana milk by now?
And then I started thinking. It didn’t stop at banana milk. What had I done the other night? Gone to the corner shop to get some sweets, ready for the film we were going to watch.
What did I buy because I really, really like them?
“Dad, don’t you think you’re a bit old to eat your children’s Jelly Babies?”
“He only pretends to buy them for us.”
“I like Jelly Babies. You eat the wine gums…”
“Dad, we all hate wine gums.”
Clearly my children are right. I am too old for Jelly Babies. Then again, I ate a packet of Love Hearts the other day. (It was work. Honestly. I’ll explain next week.)
What else? Sugar. How have I lived so long and not managed to give up sugar?
Ever since we went to Rotterdam I’ve been an object of ridicule in my own home.
“Oh, look. Dad’s having his kindertee. Do you want your drinking cup, dad?”
Here are my boys already taking their coffee black-no-sugar and here’s me unable to face the first cup of tea of the day without a spoonful of refined poison.
Then I go to see a client and someone has to be ordered to the cornershop so they can offer me a drink.
“Sugar?” Shakes head doubtfully. “Can’t remember the last person who took sugar…”
Seconds – there’s another one. Look, mate, as your waistband all too plainly testifies, you do not need that spare dumpling.
Too late. Eaten it. With gravy. Delicious.
One more for luck. Peanut butter. Regular readers know that peanut butter and Shreddies were the essential fuel of Tom’s teenage years.
But not long now and he’s going to come home and wonder why it’s still in the cupboard.
Because your Dad’s addicted to it, that’s why.
Oh damn it, you may as well have the full confession. I sometimes have a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Washed down with banana milk?