Wednesday, 26 March 2008


I went home to Suffolk for Easter - a house full of my family and friends all holed up together with too much of everything but not quite enough sun.

I first had to do a job in Mayfair for the set of Spooks. I left the house on Easter morning with great fist size snowflakes crowning me and hot-footed it over to Berkeley Square. I love doing TV jobs because there's always loads of teckies on hand with well coiled cables and loads of extra power, all ready and rearing to go. Power - the bain of my choc-mobiling life...things could get pretty hairy on the big tour if Gennie from the Box doesn't cooperate.

The weather was grim - in a way it's better like this because it makes for even more of a treat when the twinkling lights and pink neon of Choc Star comes calling. I made some large fluffy Malteser muffins, chocolate and rum flourless squares and little bags of walnut fudge brownie bites. To drink it had to be the 'Floating Islands' hot chocolates - melted dark chocolate with steamed milk, cream and soft marshmallows bobbing around on top.

Very quickly it was all over and I was cruising through town to the M11. All went well. Jimmy charged down the motorway like a van with a mission. I smiled contentedly and sang along to an old reggae tape, thrilled to be out on the road and not even caring about the snow/sleat/hale/rain. No, things couldn't have been better as I came off a slip road and headed for the A143 to Diss...alarmingly though, as I attempted to change gears, I seemed to have lost the entire clutch pedal. Vanished! Stopping - right in the middle of the road - it appeared that the clutch cable had snapped and the pedal was all loose and completely unusable.

And my phone was about to run out of juice. And I was desperate for the loo. I rang the AA who told me they'd be very quick on account of my being alone and in the middle of the road. I waited for a bit then darted over to the bushes on the roundabout and returned feeling much better. I declined calls from my family wanting an update so as to save the juice. I poured myself cup after cup of hot chocolate and threw marshmallows idly into my mouth. I even got approached by a carload of girls who screeched to a halt and ran over raving about seeing me on telly. Two hours later matey rocks up and fixes the thing in minutes. The delay wasn't his fault so I furnished him with what was left of the hot chocolate (he couldn't believe his luck) and finally I continued on my way.

The rest of the weekend was heaven. Endless glasses of wine, walks in the snow and great greedy meals - only disturbed by the AA calling me to keep apologising for taking so frickin' long. I don't understand that. If they were really that sorry they would have offered me some kind of tangible consolation and I would have loved them forever.

And now here I am back in London with a mountain of to-do lists for the tour - only two weeks to go: AAAArghhhhhhhhh! I had a lovely chat with Dave from Book the Cook today - he says that the North East will be waiting for me with open arms. I have to say that that part of the country is showing me extra amounts of love and I can't wait to get up to the wilds of Northumbria.

Less forthcoming are Lancashire and Yorkshire. Now I really want to go to Blackpool and Wigan and Bradford...but have had no joy so far. If it comes to it I'm just going to pitch up there, park the van, head for the nearest pub and just wing it. Surely there'll be someone in any pub in the land who I can persuade to give me supper?!


David Hall said...

Hi Petra

Great story. We can't wait to meet you, really excited to hear all of your tales. I lived in Leeds for 14 years so might be able to get you in touch with people down there if you want.

Speak soon - and get that recipe over so I can do a feature on you!

Dave x

Anonymous said...

I bet that AA man was well chuffed! Looking forward to finding Choc Star in Lincolnshire soon!