Nothing less important to share this Good Friday lunchtime than an international conspiracy that I am right at the centre of and note that I have less than 48 hours to get this sorted. So syringe your ears, put your specs on and pluck away any stray nasal hairs that could prove detrimental in the olfactory department because what I'm talking about today is something that deserves the attention of all your senses.
Look, I'm not even an NLP practitioner yet all my senses are tingling as I gaze upon its loveliness:
- I see that perfect chocolate orb, that symmetrical orange ball of loveliness; its curves in all the right places
- I feel the weight of that silky chocolate sphere that begs to be enclosed in the palm of my hand. We were made for each other, surely
- I hear the muted sound as I unwrap its protective foil and the sudden thud as it hits the table as I attempt to cleanly separate the segments
- I smell its tart orangeness mingling with the warmth of the cocoa beans
- And I say… Terrys Chocolate Oranges – Are they for life or just for Christmas?
Because I don't really go in for Easter eggs, me, but this year, having dramatically reduced my chocolate intake in recent weeks, I decided that I would give myself a treat on Sunday. And when I thought about it, I realised there was only one thing I wanted.
A Terry's Chocolate Orange.
So I popped out shopping yesterday to make sure I had a couple of Eggs for My Boy on Easter Sunday and decided to get myself a TCO. Up aisle and round carousel I went but could I find one? The answer begins with N and ends with a hissy fit.
Doggedly I ran the gauntlet of the Easter shoppers, most of whom had carts heaving with booze, because in Ireland you know, the pubs shut for one entire complete 24 hour day on Good Friday and some people think they might die without the security of 3 dozen cans of Bud
and a bottle of rough whiskey.
I mean – how ridiculous? Anyone knows that the only thing you can die of is the lack of a Chocolate Orange.
To my delight I found a bloke stacking Easter eggs. He had a huge cage full of boxes he was unloading, Eggs spilling onto the shelves. I told him my plight. He said "No problem, walk this way…" I'm not sure I really got the hang of his walk but anyway. He tried tempting me with a multipack.
"No way" I said.
I eyed him coldly. Hadn't he heard me? I said I wanted a Chocolate Orange. Not a bar. Not a box of segments. I wanted A Chocolate Orange with that unique foil wrapping. A Chocolate Orange I could thud and open and see if I'd managed to separate all the bits. Popping the chocolate core into my mouth while I gluttonously counted the segments.
So then he got all defensive and said, "I think we only stock them at Christmas and at…" He was about to say Easter, I know he was, but he realised then he'd have played straight into my hands so he quickly changed his mind and trailed off, hoping I'd not notice the missing full stop.
As I can spot a missing apostrophe at 50 paces he was messing with the wrong bird.
The thing is I can remember my first TCO. Particularly as it wasn't actually mine. It was Easter Sunday – hear that – and I was counting my Easter Eggs when I noticed my big sis had lost out on the Aero, Buttons and Smarties eggs and instead was clasping a rather unassuming looking orange and blue 'tennis ball'.
I felt devastatedly sorry for her – and wondered what she must have done to piss my aunt off so badly. This thought lasted just as long as it took me to try a little segment of that chocolate sensation and then I realised if all Aunty M'd given me was that rotten giant Mars Bar Egg, she didn't care for me at all. A fact I've remarked on many times, it must be said, in the intervening years.
And so I returned home yesterday sans TCO. Sans chocolat, in fact, for nothing else will do.
I poured my heart out to my old friend, Judith. Well I would have if her laughter hadn't interrupted my outpouring of grief. "Chocolate oranges are for Christmas" she said, "not for Easter".
Later, she tells me today, she shared the story with Nicola K and reported back this morning that they'd had a "jolly good laugh" at the very idea of eating one at Easter.
"I mean" said Nicola, "hot cross buns on Boxing Day – fine. Christmas Carols in August- cool. But Terry's Chocolate Oranges at Easter… what sort of divvo is this bird?"
I'm sorry but I don't accept this – the TCO bit I mean. I might indeed be a divvo - and I know that someone somewhere will back me up because this is already an international incident and I'm not backing down. A Terry's Chocolate Orange is for life, not just for Christmas. A short life, it is true, sometimes not quite 20 minutes really but that's only if you need to eat it in the car and secrete the wrappings deep beneath the car seat before you get home to those hungry kids squawking for food.
What will my Easter Sunday be without a Chocolate Orange? It just don't bear thinking about. Have you seen one recently? Or was the last time to the background noise of Bing Crosby singing "I'm dreaming of a white orange Christmas?