"Close your eyes and hold out your hand" the Youngest Boy said. Usually I recoil at the thought, knowing that I could so easily be the recipient of a slug dragged out from under the shed. But as he was still in his pyjamas I allowed myself the treat of having this tin presented to me. "It was going to be part of a new space rocket, but as you like old-fashioned things I thought you'd better have it". "Thankyou very much", I said, and really meant it. The thing is, of course, is that it's not a 1950's grocery item, or particularly nostalgic for the good old days of cocoa drinking in slippers by open fires. No, this is the result of Waitrose's designers knowing a thing or two about, well, good design. And you just know that it won't be replaced in a couple of weeks' time by yet another tweeking presented at the Monday morning strategy focus outreach meeting, a fate that regularly befalls it's better known competitors on the adjoining shelves. Good design like this is timeless. The right colours, the right type and a classic wood engraving that tells us what cocoa actually is. (Is this one is by Christopher Wormell?) So yes, it will be up there on the kitchen high shelf with Ovaltine and Milo and the Quaker Oats tin from a Greek holiday many years ago. Just because I really, really like it.
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) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)