On New Year's Eve 2013, The Absolute Gentleman and the oldest Blighter decided to give up what they like to call 'soft lollies' - what I liked to call revolting sugary things that come in the shape of snakes and frogs.
They held out for the full twelve months, and on NY Eve 2014, indulged in an orgy of multicoloured squishies.
Imogen and the Gent are renowned for their impassive, stoic abstinence and determination. I like to think that Hal and I are more flexible, easy going creatures, but this year I was determined not to be outdone.
In a rash, foolish moment, I vowed to give up chocolate for 12 months.
This is a big deal. One of my cherished sayings is, 'A day without chocolate is a day without joy'. Another is: 'Life without chocolate is not worth living'.
The Blighters have suffered a lifetime of 'tax'. Should they order a delicious dessert at a restaurant, or snack on a heavenly bar of chocolate in the safety of their own home, they are always obliged to pay tax to their Mother. They're not always eager to comply, so I've developed a singular phrase to ensure acquiescence: 'Give me that chocolate before I simply take it from you'.
Not surprisingly, after two months of abstinence I'm finding it a bit of a trial. The first month was (relatively) easy, but now I'm craving it like I would sunshine or coffee, if they had also gone AWOL.
I was unpacking some boxes this morning (haven't quite finished moving in yet) and found this very old Cadbury's chocolate box, which is part of the Henry Collection. Henry was a friend of my father in law, George. Henry was a hoarder who gave George a tremendous stash of old tins and boxes not long before Henry died. George gave some of the stash to us a while ago. I particularly like the Milo tin - it's an austerity design from the IIWW.
Finding the box and tins was apt today, as the Gent is away this weekend, helping his parents move house. Much of Henry's stash has been sold along with the house. It is sitting, waiting, in George's old shed, ready for the new owners to discover it.
The move was not forced upon my in-laws, but it comes at a very late stage in their lives, and isn't easy for them. They will be living in a different and much larger town. For George, this is discombobulating. He's lived in the same, very small country town his entire life.
I sent some chocolate with the Gent when he went back to his parents' house to help them pack. I hope George had some. He, too, is a chocoholic. Unfortunately, my mother in law, Shirley is diabetic and never eats chocolate at all. I guess that puts my year of abstinence into perspective.