The search is over.No more will I be seen on my hands and knees rummaging at the back of shelves in Sainsburys. No more will supermarket assistants quicken their steps to the rest room when they see me approaching with my notebook in my hand. It's all Tate & Lyle's fault, deciding to taunt me with seven different designs of a gold can to celebrate their anniversary. Why couldn't I just be content with one or two? Why did I have to collect big tins as well as small? Oh no, I was seen everywhere from Tesco's in Devizes to Asda in Wisbech, reaching into dim recesses to turn cans round to see if there was a small tin with 'Fantastic in Flapjacks' on it, or a big tin with 'Happy Birthday Lyle's'. But one tin avoided my obsessive searches. Nowhere (and I do mean nowhere) could I find 'Pour it on Porridge' in the big 907g can. It became the Holy Grail, the tin that I became convinced would be found in a shaft of sunlight on a pedestal of rock at the back of a cave in Borneo. In desperation I started a dialogue with bewildered customer care girls at Tate & Lyle's, more used to dealing with housewives whose treacle tarts hadn't turned-out treacly enough. Eventually my badgering resulted in a very kind note from 'technical'. Apparently they could only fit six separate designs for the big can on one printing sheet. So a large 'Pour it on Porridge' doesn't exist. (I bet they made just one though. I would have.) I pass all this on in case it helps some other poor deluded soul who is still out there getting his hands sticky in Somerfields in Salford or Waitrose in Warminster. Right. Anyone got a recipe for an acre of flapjack?
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)