Yesterday started well: as I was approaching the building a colleague came up to me to inform me that just around the corner by the other entrance free coffee and croissants were awaiting staff who had taken public transport to work that day, as part of a campaign to encourage sustainable mobility. I can’t say that the possibility of half a soggy croissant and a small cup of weak coffee are a deciding factor in how I get to work, but it was free, which is my favourite price.

That evening we went to Brussels Bookswappers to see if we could unearth any more free gems. I dumped about a dozen books I’d read recently which weren’t worth cluttering up our shelves with, and picked up Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt and a collection of Dorothy Parker stories. The Parker was an ancient, crumbling Penguin paperback, and once I gently prised it open I found something you don’t usually expect to see inside a book: several pages of advertising. This edition had been published in 1943, so most of the adverts were for food rations. The back cover promotes the benefits of “fruit salt”:

While inside the front cover we learn that a delicious and nutricious family dessert can be made by simply slicing up a Mars bar:


5 thoughts on “Freebies

  1. CuriosityKiller September 25, 2010 / 7:30 pm

    Free coffee and croissants in Brussels? That’s good enough reason to move there!


  2. J September 26, 2010 / 11:03 pm

    I’ve never heard of fruit salt, though the idea of slicing up and sharing a candy bar amongst a family takes the idea of portion control pretty seriously!


    • simonlitton September 27, 2010 / 9:32 am

      Well, rationing made that kind of thing necessary. Many people would have thought themselves lucky to get any chocolate at all at that time.


  3. hazel November 10, 2010 / 6:51 pm

    Read that you had bought the Dorothy Parker – Yay!, one of my all time favourites and ‘go to’ books 🙂 My copy was also a discovery in a dusty old second hand shop,it eventually fell apart and I had to give in and buy a new version – hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


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