i am not one of those sorts of people who you could describe as a “Foodie”, whatever one of those is. Indeed in the recent bad weather care of the beast from the east, and storm Emma, I ended up watching Masterchef for two hours. To be fair it was impressive watching the amateur chefs do their best to cook high quality food under some serious pressure and of course for some it was all too much. For myself I have never had any interest whatsoever in being engaged in this sort of activity. Indeed if for some reason I was ever invited then I would be bringing my own signature dish, which I would have collected from the New Rooster Chinese take away, where the famous House special Foo Yung would be snuck out of its plastic container and presented to John and Greg in all its tower block glory.

Clearly that will never be happening but it does not stop me from occasionally donning my chef’s hat and knocking up a three course feast, as indeed I did on Mother’s day for well my mother obviously. Indeed I was actually inspired by a fine dining experiences that I recently enjoyed, which was a spontaneous visit to my local village pub, The Vine in Clent. There I was able to enjoy the speciality of the house, none other than the “Game pie”. And good wholesome country food it was too and nicely washed down with a rather fine Merlot. An added bonus was the 25% off the bill care of Barclays rewards.

To be quite honest I have always been wary of asking for these offers as I was mentally scarred as a young lad aged about 9 years old. The deal was that my parents (if we had been good at school and at home for the week), would give us all pocket money on a Friday afternoon, my routine was always the same, I would collect my two shillings, leg it to the local corner shop and purchase a Tango Orange can of pop (You know when you have been Tangoed still one of the finest .adverts ever made) a packet of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps, and a copy of the Victor comic, along with my best loved  Cadburys dark chocolate bar, all very pleasant and predictable. However one day I saw in the local newspaper a coupon that stated that you could get 50% off a Crunchie  chocolate bar upon presenting said coupon to the shop keeper. So, much against my better judgement I cut this out and put it in my school trouser pocket. There it stayed for some three weeks forlorn and fogotton about until one Friday afternoon where I accidentally fished it out of my pocket. To be fair by this time it won not looking its best but was still readable. So I went to the shop, collected my regular treats and just before paying for them I said to Mr Perry, the rather laconic and deeply miserable owner of the shop, that could I also please have a Crunchie bar as I had a 50% off voucher which I then unravelled before his eyes. Sadly it began to tear and Mr Perry without saying a word simply picked up the edge of the now tattered voucher and plopped it into a bin located under the counter.

Neither of us said a word, he simply picked up the Crunchie bar and put it back, I went bright red (clearly I had now been Tangoed) and handed my money over, I picked up my goodies and exited the shop. Disdain and despair summed up Mr Perry’s expression and mine. Humiliation was complete and that was the end of my special off voucher career, until some 50 odd years later. Funny how these scars stay with you for all those years, but it just goes to show that you are never too old to recover from such experiences.