Wednesday, 19 April 2006

I love B&Bs!

Last week we hit the North to promote the new Topshop store in Manchester. Jimmy was like a foal let loose in the meadows, whinnying up the M1…or was it the M6? I have a terrible memory for roads and directions. Luckily I had good navigators and after several hours (quite slow lane-focussed) we arrived in Wilmslow where we were booked in to stay at Marigold House with Kate and Bernard. There was the darling Bernard all ready and waiting in the driveway, eager to get the van plugged in and us settled.

The place was immaculate. Gleaming and deeply domesticated. I was delighted to discover that Kate and Bernard’s neighbours might as well have been a Who’s Who of Weatherfield, past and present. There in the village shop as I assessed milk purchasing possibilities, were wall-to-wall signed photos gazing down at us: Jim McDonald, Steve McDonald (what’s happened to his hair?), Deniece and good old Ken Barlow. Back at the ranch Bernard poured us G&Ts and divulged tales of suburban intrigue amongst the locals. It felt safe and cosy and I was kind of relieved to be in a version of the countryside after so long in the city.

The job went really well with lots of Topshop customers thrilled to be being given free chocolate goodies. Elsewhere we traded our wares with builders for power and with the Manchester Eye workers for a ride on the wheel. I can’t believe how much the city seems to have changed…yet going for a spin round the old neighbourhood proved that some things never change. The city centre thrives whilst the surrounding areas sink into pot-holed decay.

It was great to have done the job and for everyone to have been happy with it. My first big out of town event - and here’s to many more.

After returning to London the following week was super-hectic. Lots of Easter chocolate fiends unleashing their desires at the van. Greenwich at the weekend was thronging with people and it was really good to discover quite a few making a special trip because of the piece written about Choc Star in the Metro on Wednesday. We scooped and shook ice cream until we were sold out of everything, then handed round the last few pieces of Millionaire’s shortbread, brownie shots and chocolate gingerbread men before heading home and diving into the bar round the corner for some heavy duty bourbon cocktails. Bliss.

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