The Mystery of the Fortnum and Masons Christmas Hamper

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I stared at the delivery notification text message in disbelief.
‘Your Fortnum’s parcel will be delivered by the 21st Dec by DPD…’
Part of the ongoing joy of my recovery is forgetfulness and confusion, but if this was a personal mistake it was a bloody expensive one, and really? Could I really have accidentally ordered myself a Fortnums item and not remember? I love Fortnum’s & Mason. I had visited the London store in early December but only purchased a small box of their lightly dusted Pink Champagne Truffles. At no point did I remember placing a further order. Why would I? Or more precisely on my budget, how could I…
Fortnum’s food hall is like the sweet shop in Harry Potter, a grown up food emporium of joy bursting at the seams with luxurious delicacies and tasty delights. At Christmas, the lower level heaves with shoppers wrapped up snug in their thick protective layers of protection against the cold. Twice the size they would normally be, with furs and scarves making them suddenly floating heads, revellers bounce off each other as they duck and dive to snatch boxes of unimaginable joy off the shelves. There is no place I would rather do my Christmas food shopping if I could afford to that is. And that was what was making me feel uncomfortable. There was little chance of me having placed an order with them, but even so, I dutifully scanned my Credit Card online and no, nothing.
Part of me wanted to be excited. To be back in the days of my old rich suitors who often sent glorious bursting hampers to my family to ingratiate themselves, and optimistically encourage some sort of positive response from my mother towards them. I loved those hampers. The light brown wicker emblazoned with the F & M, the delightful contents, nestled within the rustling bits of straw, that you pulled out slowly to elongate the experience of surprise and happiness. The contents, with their smart labels, all shiny and new, within which one knew there would be mouth-watering experiences to be shared with those I loved. One year the box was so big, I climbed inside it! I love being silly like that. Pretending to be little, taking pleasure in the small things.
But in the last 6 months, I haven’t fucked anyone wealthy. To be frank I haven’t fucked anyone who cared about earning brownie points with my family. Or who cared that much about me either really. But no! This must be some biscuits! Florentines perhaps? Maybe I had ordered my mother some of those? That was what it must be! Biscuits.
Saturday approaches and when the doorbell rings I can’t see through the glass the size of the parcel. It’s only when it is opened and I see he is empty-handed that I look down.
It’s a brown cardboard box, a brown cardboard box roughly the size of a…. hamper.
I drag it inside and take it into the lounge and place it on the sofa. Stepping back I take a deep breath, then move forward to lift the lid.
Fuck it’s a Fortnum’s Hamper….
I am thrilled of course! My happiness at seeing it’s one of the Grosvenor style ones which will undoubtedly have a fruit cake in making me start to salivate with excitement. But, and this is the but. Who on earth can it be from? It’s addressed to me. My name, my address. Unfortunately, the card which should say who it’s from is blank.
Is this a joke? A wrong order? Did something stick on the system from another time? Maybe last year, an order repeating? But, could that actually, happen?
Right now, it is a mystery and one I don’t have time to solve. But part of me, the part that always thought she needed to be fucking affluent solvent individuals wonders if the world is trying to tell me something. Trying to say I don’t need too? Or that I would miss out on these things If I don’t get back to doing it?
‘Are you ready for love?’ says the Elton John song. I don’t know. Am I ready for something next year? Maybe taking control of my finances so I can afford to gift myself things like a Fortnum and Mason hamper? Maybe…

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