The Marmite Ambassador

Saturday – to High Tea in Highgate to be interviewed by an Italian fashion mag lady (for being a Modern Dandy), over the shop’s home made cakes and pots of tea. And eventually, scones. Turns out Ms Nunzia has never encountered the concept of Afternoon Tea or cream teas before. So I do my ambassadorial bit and order some, which she enjoys. I also explain to her what Marmite is, which she saw in her hotel and which absolutely fascinates her: the consistency, the taste. Given London is rapt to Italian food and drink everywhere you go – types of coffee, types of sandwich, types of cheese to put in the sandwich – it’s nice there’s a few less glamourous, flat-named items on the table that hold an unlikely sense of the exotic and mysterious to visitors from other lands.

You’re meant to either love or hate Marmite, but I actually don’t feel strongly about the stuff either way.  Don’t really mind it, I suppose. S’all right. There’s my slogan.


Monday night at the night shift goes on forever, as we have to deal with all the stories about swine flu. More work, while there’s new people to train and others off sick. I’m there till 7.15 in the morning, trying hard not to fall asleep at the desk.

A slovenly-dressed man standing near me on the tube home is sneezing in a loud and ostentatious way. I keep my distance. Not just paranoia after reading 150 articles about swine flu, I tell myself. He IS shoving his hand down the front of his tracksuit bottoms repeatedly, as well as keeping up the thunderously liquid sniffing, and having a fiddle down there. Uncaring – or perhaps oblivious  – of others in the carriage, here at half past seven a.m. on the Northern Line. You swine, I think.

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