Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ambushed! The Wizard's Unofficial Chocolate and Books Blog Hop Challenge

Yesterday, while I was vainly chasing £15m on the Scoop 6, Terry Tyler wrote a blog post about chocolate and books after being tagged by top UK romanticist chickliterati, Tara Ford.

Tara's Chocolate and Book Challenge

Terry Tyler's Post about Chocolate and Books

While I wasn't explicitly tagged into it, I decided that these are two of my favourite subjects so I have AMBUSHED the challenge.

...being a Wizard, like
Infinite Bounties of the Earth

Chocolate has always been a part of my life and a positive one too - but as you all know, it has a sting in the tail.

While I smoked - up to fifty a day, and I still miss it seven years on - I could eat as much chocolate as I could handle, but after I packed it in, I carried on eating like I did before - with the consequences you would expect.

I've lost much of the weight since then, but in 2007 I put on four stones (that's 56lbs to American readers).

The flab enhancing culprits? Double Deckers, Mars Bars, Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut, Dairy Milk and some of the chocolate I am going to showcase here -particularly Bountys. 

Bountys - a taste of paradise. 

I could stick my head in an upturned bucket full of unwrapped Bountys and munch for hours.

Chocolate and I go back a LONG way...

I come from a "blended" family, at least at weekends, and one of the strange cousins to visit during my childhood, and who I never saw again, was a soldier who was serving in Northern Ireland. 

He visited one day, in his dress uniform, and out of the blue he escorted me, and my younger brother, to the newsagent around the corner. I was ten and he was six. 

"Do you like chocolate?" He asked. 
We nodded simultaneously. 
"Have what you want. Let's have a feast." He said, reaching for a Mars bar.

I'll tell you how long ago this was - the newsagent was grumpy, white and old, wearing one of those atrophied beige wool cardigans with a belt, his copper coloured fingers, like pale sausages, topped with horny, greying fingernails, holding a half smoked Rothmans.

Mind you, the old git cheered up when the three of us filled every pocket we had with chocolate bars, which we ate one after the other while watching Stoke Versus Birmingham City (featuring the great Bob Hatton) on Star Soccer. 

The chocolate horde included Nutty Bars, which, if you remember, looked like a particularly healthy stool after its emitter had spent the previous evening feasting on peanuts. 

My hard working dad was fast asleep in his vest on the sofa, as my stepmum cooked Sunday dinner tutting loudly every time we unwrapped another bar.

Anthony, my military distant cousin, bought one of these.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk

which is a classic bar, almost ubiquitous. If you really must eat chocolate and you can't make your mind up, this is the go-to bar. And Anthony didn't bother with the fun size version either - he went straight for the kill with the proper family sized bar. Oh yes...a lesson learned.

Student Days

My first proper girlfriend - i.e, one of the ones where rings were involved - was a big chocoholic and many a night was spent munching chocolate in our Plymouth bedsit watching a tiny black and white portable TV, with flickering, unstable images. 

I once informed her that the visual noise you can see on an untuned TV originates at the beginning of time and comes from the Big Bang itself, but she just nodded and passed me one of my favourite chocolate confections, perhaps to shut me up. It worked.

Creme eggs. OMG, to quote a random eighteen year old

Julie was the only girl I have ever been involved with who enjoyed chocolate and cakes to this extent, and neither have I since had a military benefactor who has treated me to a chocolate feast, so chocolate has ended up being a solitary pleasure, often while reading. 

I don't watch TV, except boxed sets - currently Breaking Bad -  and horse/greyhound racing, so I read prodigiously, while eating chocolate. 

Like everyone else, it seems, I am currently reading

which is a dream of a book, a modern retelling of the rascally boor Henry VIII and the passage of his six marriages. Its a belter, accessibly written and clever. I had a session with Annette and the gang the other night and nibbled at one of these delights while I did so.

Ladies, if you live near a Waitrose,
clear the shelves. This is da bomb. Tip courtesy of
my tops friend, Clive La Court
Accompaniment to the chocolate feast

I've read so many decent books lately including:

Crime fiction based in Kent.
Well written, clever and full of tension.

The aftermath of the Allied destruction of
Dresden must be read. Headsplitting.

Great fun novella about flying snakes
from Antipodean thriller writer
AKA Rebecca Raisin
One of the best graphic novels
I have read in years.

Interesting and thought provoking "faction" about one
woman's fight with multiple sclerosis

that I am surprised, with all the parallel chocolate eating, to have maintained my weight at its present level. 

Simultaneously a jest and serious as the night...

My good friend, children's author Ngaire Elder, bought me a gift recently and I am reading a chapter a week. It's Infinite Jest by the genius David Foster Wallace (RIP) which is a modern day Ulysses, an unread classic which would grace any self respecting bookshelf.

It weighs about 3lbs so I will be reading this slow and gentle and when it comes to slow and gentle, every woman knows there is only one chocolate bar that can do the trick and that's the garden of earthly delight which is the Fry's Chocolate Cream! Luxury!

If anyone wants to join in with the Chocolate and Books Blog Hop, then leave a comment below. 

Or just ambush it, like I did!  

Love you all. Wiz xx


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Dexter Fletcher, star of "The Rachel Papers", "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and top rated BBC hotel drama "Babylon"


  1. Great blog post Wiz - so pleased that you ambushed it. Love the choices in chocolate but as you know, I am extremely passionate about Bountys, thus you have left me with no option but to rush out to the local shop to get one. Surely that's the only way to read the rest of your blog!

    1. I hope you bought two, Tara. LOVE Bountys (or as that Bounties? - definitely not Bounty's hahahahahahaha). Thanks for letting me ambush your challenge, Tara. :D Hope you managed to read to the Fry's Chocoloate Cream stage...

  2. Hahahahahahahha, what a fun post. And you know, for me chocolate is not a biggie. So if I am tagged in your unofficial choci blog hop I will have to search high and low for my choci inspiring treats. Books are not a problem .. in fact I could eat one right now! n x

    1. I cannot wait to read your blog hop post, N. I remember your licorice and whisky one - that was a hoot. You'll do this justice I know. I've got a hint for you...TERRY'S CHOCOLATE ORANGE! :D Laters, Mxx

  3. Mark, if you were in poking distance I would hit you with my spurtle! Stop stealing my ideas!!! I am wagging my finger at you! n x hahahahahahahaha

    1. Hahahaahha...what's a spurtle, N :-) ( I sense a blog post coming on :D)

  4. Love the new layout, Mark. I had difficulty turning those mischievous tabs before! n x

    1. I was trying to be smooth and "with it" by using the dynamic views option...I have had - as Brenda says - a makeunder :-) Mxx

  5. You certainly rose to the occasion Mark. This is a fabulous. But then, you are fabulous! Think I need to find me some chocolate while I hide out with a great book. Maybe yours? Who knows. Great page!

    1. Thank you, Bren :-) Seen your blog and its a blast to see you ambushing the hop too! :-) Marky xx

  6. Replies
    1. You can always ambush the hop too, MAB! :-) I love white chocolate...Mark xx

  7. I like white chocolate to MAB but dark has taken over! I want to play!!!!

    1. That's what I like about chocolate, Bren - its all about playing :-) Mxx

  8. It's not often that a blog post has me salivating but here I am on a bank holiday no chocolate in the house and a 20 mile round trip to the nearest place to get some. Now I know my other half is going to think it weird if I undertake that journey whereas it seems perfectly reasonable to me and I'm working on my escape plan. My chocolate eating habits have changed since my husband was diagnosed with diabetes last year and I've taken to indulging secretly - no relationship that has to be carried out in secret is a good thing obviously but we are where we are and I am only sparing his feelings! I have to say that I do not like my chocolate to be messed with - Bounty's are out (coconut makes me shudder) and in fact no nut has any place in a bar of chocolate. Fruit in the form of raisons only can be acceptable and in desperate situations I have been known to eat a bar of Fruit and Nut obviously discarding all the nutty pieces - it's not pretty :-). I realise I have written all this and not even mentioned books (my mind's too full of chocolate) but it goes without saying chocolate (the go to bar you mention Mark is my favourite - in large in you please) and a good book are a perfect match and I wish I was curled up with both right now!

    1. Thanks for reading, Georgia and I hope your BH isn't as wet as ours up here! Do you like Fry's chocolate cream? I can see you enjoying a chunk of that on occasion. It seems that both you and me are solitary (perhaps, sneaky), devourers of the processed cocoa bean. What is your favourite box of chocolates? Mxx

    2. Hi Mark, yes our BH is definitely on the dampish side and it doesn't look as if the rest of the week is going to be any better. I absolutely love Fry's chocolate cream though as I generally prefer milk to dark this is an anomaly. Usually I am quite picky about choices in a box of chocolates as I like things like the fudge and caramel ones and I leave all the soft centres for others but last week someone bought me a box of Thorntons Coffee Creams and they did not last long! Now this is strange because generally Thorntons is too posh a chocolate for me - I like something a little more rustic and I would never usually choose a coffee flavour so it just goes to show you should always be prepared to try something new - actually that applies to choices of book too as recently I've found myself reading things I would never normally have picked up and really enjoying them. How about you, what's your favourite box of chocs? Gx

  9. A) YOU WERE tagged in mine, as you will see if you look at the bottom of it, and B) I love that 'like everyone else' comments about Kings and queens!!! and c) you've done it again..... see email!!!!