Tag Archives: chocolate

Resolution

So just in case you missed it, last week saw the start of 2014. This year on New Year’s Eve I did something I haven’t done for about 10 years and headed to York Minster for midnight. We stood with a few hundred other people all looking slightly bemused as there was no countdown or fireworks or party to acknowledge the date change. There were of course chimes at midnight and it was a lovely evening nonetheless.

So 2014 begins and it’s time for everyone to start making their New Year resolutions. As those of you who were reading this blog last year will know, I’m not a fan of the New Year resolution (and for the rest of you if you want to know you can find it here) but that doesn’t seem to stop the rest of the human race. Once again people are vowing to lose weight, get fit, save money and start doing fun things.

Giving up chocolate seems to be a big one this year (well at least til February when people can then devour the hundreds of half price selection boxes they’ve bought in the sales, before announcing to everyone that they’ll be giving it up again for lent) Chocolate may have been the death of many in crime novels as Margot Kinberg eloquently puts here. Yet whilst I’d hope there are not too many poisoned chocolates floating around. I’m not sure the whole feast and famine approach is a particularly healthy way to go either.

Apparently the latest craze in resolutions is having a dry January. Now this is one I was all in favour of when someone told me about it. I hate getting wet, and rain really makes my hair go frizzy. However further investigation shows they apparently meant they were giving up alcohol for a month. That soon put a dampener (no pun intended) on that plan. We are in a recession you know and pubs rely on the likes of me to keep their businesses ticking over. Even more ridiculous is the idea that you can get sponsored for not drinking for a month in a dryathlon. Are people seriously trying to say that giving up their favourite beverage is on a par with running a marathon or hiking across the Himalayas? Maybe it would be if you were Harry Hole or Homer Simpson, but otherwise surely it’s not really much of an achievement.

Apparently coming in at number ten of the top ten resolutions people make is the wish to read more books. I read this on a website that had asked people to fill in a survey on what resolutions they were going to make. Well there’s one of the problems straight away, rather than filling in the survey people should just have picked up a book and read that instead. That way rather than have to make a resolution saying they are going to do something, they can actually do something.

I, of course, don’t need to make a resolution to read more, I just pick up one of the numerous books I have hanging around. I haven’t yet had a tally up of the number of books I read last year which I should do. I do know however, that I’ve read many more than I’ve had time to review. Therefore maybe my resolution should be to write more reviews. I’m not calling it a New Year one though, that’s just asking to fail.

Anyway Happy New Year All.

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Blood and Chocolate

Now usually this blog is restricted to books and Hilda Street updates however I’m making an exception today. Last night thanks to the fantastic York Cocoa House I was invited to see the final dress rehearsal of Blood + Chocolate.

Blood + Chocolate is a play with a difference. Rather than being a static performance in a normal theatre it’s a ‘promenade’ performance, which is basically a posh term for walking around. The description on the Theatre Royal website states ‘this production will offer audiences theatre on an epic, cinematic scale’. Now those of you who know me and my incredibly limited cinema experience know that I usually avoid things described as epic due to it normally just being a code word for long. However in this instance I’m incredibly glad I put that to one side. The only way to describe this performance (play doesn’t do it justice) is stunning.

The inspiration for the writing came from the fact that at Christmas in 1914 the Lord Mayor of York sent out a box of chocolates made by Rowntrees to every York citizen who was fighting. Obviously York is famous for its chocolate making heritage, not only Rowntree’s and Terry’s but both Cadbury and Fry also completed their apprenticeships here so York was the perfect setting for a play inspired by the stories and letters that were sent from the men and women in York during the war.

Starting at Exhibition Square you are given headphones to wear as you watch a mixture of filmed scenes being projected onto the De Grey Rooms and actors speaking from windows. From here you are led by wardens, through cheering crowds towards the Minster where soldiers are leaving for battle. The Guildhall is next where women are packing chocolate, then you are taken via Parliament street as a war zone, before ending at Cliffords Tower. Throughout you get the feeling that you are listening into private conversations between soldiers, workers and families.

York is obviously known for its history and its lovely buildings. However this play showed them all in a new light and was the perfect backdrop for the sometimes funny and always moving stories of those who went to war. We were lucky with the weather as the whole performance is outside, and there is a lot of standing however it was completely worth it. There was apparently over 200 actors playing parts as soldiers, conscientious objectors, chocolate workers, nurses, mothers and children yet the whole thing ran smoothly from start to finish. The logistics behind the performance must have been a nightmare but all worked perfectly.

I would recommend this play to anyone, however sadly for those who haven’t yet got tickets I believe it is sold out. It was truly a unique York experience and complemented perfectly by a cup of hot chocolate at half time courtesy of York Cocoa House.

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