Living without chocolate is merely existing (Plato*)

Living without chocolate is merely existing

Living without chocolate is merely existing - Credit: Archant

When you have to buy cocoa butter moisturiser to allay the symptoms of chocolate withdrawal, you know you’re an addict.

I haven’t been eating it (external use only), but rubbing it into my winter-dried calves.

The long, winter months have brought my lower legs out in dandruff. It is not a good look. When I take my tights off, it triggers a localised snow storm.

It didn’t used to be like this – apart from a ghastly period during my hormonally-cyclonic adolescence when I spent all my Saturdays in Boots the Chemist looking for blackhead removers, dandruff shampoos for oily hair, moustache lighteners and concealer sticks to cover volcanic eruptions of pus-filled spots. Yet, by and large, I have been lucky.

When Dame Edna Everage used to talk meaningfully of her juices drying out I had no idea what she was talking about, but I’m starting to get the picture. The natural resource of oils that kept my skin naturally glossy and beautiful is exhausted. I have run dry.


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My plumply pretty hands now have liver spots, the patches of darker pigment that do not come off with a pumice stone. I can see the subcutaneous network of veins and my skin seems thin; pinch it and it does not spring back into place but has a little think before settling back.

My feet, always a bit ugly, now deserve their own plinth in a science lab. Bunions, hairy big toes, prone to blisters and corns. These are Hammer horror feet.

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Add to this a strict adherence to a chocolate-free diet for Lent and you have created Frankenstein’s menopausal monster, soothed only by the plaintive strains of a violin... and moisturiser,

I am not helped by the fact my youngest child, my little boy, my baby, Mark, celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday. In man years, this makes him virtually a grown-up.

He and his wife, Cait are just back from a wedding in Las Vegas for which my six-month-old grandson, George, was dressed in an Elvis outfit. One day George will have to come to terms with that.

Meanwhile, my birthday chocolate stood, unlicked, uneaten. To fill the void, I have been eating jelly babies (except for the red ones) and liquorice allsorts (except for the round, pink and yellow coconut ones). But it’s not the same. So I have been trying to stave off the cravings through the liberal application of cocoa butter on to my dry areas.

“You smell fantastic,” said my husband, taking me lovingly into his arms and sniffing me.

He, too, gave up chocolate for Lent.

Yes, it’s been the longest six weeks of the year. Cold, windy and without chocolate... and that’s just me.

In the sitting room, on a snowy March Saturday evening, a couple of weekends back, I was sitting on the sofa watching Casualty (nothing on telly on Saturday night’s at the moment, is there?), I had my jeans and socks off and was smoothing on cocoa butter lotion when, inevitably, there was a knock at the front door. Instant terror. Did I invite someone to supper? Did I forget to put the handbrake on and the car has rolled out of the drive, over the road and demolished a wall?

“I’ll get it,” said my husband, jumping up.

“I’ve got no trousers on,” I said, panicking and putting both feet in one leg of my jeans.

I heard him say: “No, I’m afraid not... are you sure it was this address?”

By now I was decent and joined my husband at the front door. There in the snow, wearing no coats, sleeveless mini dresses, very high heels and, I’m guessing, no thermal vests, were three lovely young women. They were looking for Ollie’s party and thought it was at our address.

I saw the slight doubt in their expressions turn to absolute certainty that there was no party at this house. It wasn’t even faintly possible that the middle-aged couple looking at them from the doorway, were harbouring a secret party.

If I had been looking at him and me, I would have guessed (correctly) that the latest pop album in the CD collection was Abba Gold, that they have more classical albums than anything else, have tickets for Peter Grimes on the beach at Aldeburgh, and had been interrupted while sitting in front of the telly bemoaning the fact there was nothing good to watch on Saturday nights. I might also have noticed the woman’s flies were not done up.

NB. By the time you read this my self-inflicted Lenten vow will be over and I shall once more approximate to a normal human being.

* I lied, it wasn’t Plato

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