I have a confession to make. I like to scrape off the chocolate from chocolate digestives. It gives me an inordinate sense of power. It also annoys Judy when she finds the biscuit barrel full of digestives stripped of their layer of thick dark chocolate.
‘You’ve done it again,’ she hissed this morning. Judy was entertaining guests and had just presented the box of scraped digestives to Michael Parkinson. ‘How many times have I told you to stop doing this?’
‘Many times,’ I admitted, though I couldn’t have helped myself. Glutting myself on the chocolate from the digestive biscuits had been my way of consoling myself over the news that Stephen Fry’s ‘The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive’ has won an Emmy for best documentary. He had rang me up at five o’clock this morning.
‘It is I, Fry, speaking on my iPhone from New York,’ he said as I sank back into my pillow.
‘What time is it?’ I mumbled.
‘Time? Pah! A foolish concept, is it not? We do with time what we will. Time is the essence. There’s no time like the present. And at the present moment of time I am standing here in New York with an Emmy in my hand. How is that for timely essence?’
‘You’ve won an Emmy?’
‘Best documentary, if you can believe such a thing.’ He chuckled. ‘And quite a generous acceptance speech did I give, thanking my many friends and mentioning to the American TV public that you have a blog of such miserable content that your readers stand at nil.’
The man knows how to gloat. ‘I’m very glad for you Stephen,’ I said, ‘now will you bugger off.’ I slammed down the phone and pulled the wire from the wall. I tried to sleep but the thought of Fry lapping it up in New York made me feel quite terrible, so I went down to the kitchen and snacked on chocolate for half-an-hour before I began to feel sleepy again. I didn’t get up until ten o’clock this morning, which is when Judy accosted me about the state of the digestives.
‘Parky should be thankful I’ve scraped all the chocolate off them,’ I said. ‘It’s easier on his dentures.’
‘He doesn’t wear dentures,’ snapped Judy. It is an argument we’ve hand many times given that my dear wife believes everything she reads about the man. You might say that she’s something of a fan.
‘And I suppose you’re going to tell me that that’s all his own hair and both hips and one kneecaps haven’t been replaced! Judy, Judy, Judy… The cordial television host in that room is more machine than man.’
My wife just scowled and carried an unopened packet of digestives back into the living room. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’d resealed it at the other end and that every biscuit was devoid of chocolate.