I have to work Sundays. It was a bitter reality I had to face when food retail was the last thing that would save me from poverty. Anyway, this morning one of my favourite Advent carols came on the radio. Well, actually it's not a radio; it's somebody's iPhone put on the shop's loudspeaker system. As I walked the aisles with my trolley collecting peoples' shopping, amidst all the secular cacophony was heard The Angel Gabriel sung by an unknown choir. I know the words by heart and was singing them to myself. As I walked round to the Produce department a woman said: "I don't know many Christmass songs, but this one's fucking depressing!" Another woman laughed. I looked at the former woman, who said: "what?" I said "nothing," and walked on, but I couldn't help but be reminded of this exchange between Frodo and Gollum.
"'Yess, yess, nice water,' said Gollum. 'Drink it, drink it, while we can! But what is it they've got, precious? Is it crunchable? Is it tasty?'
"Frodo broke off a portion of a wafer and handed it to him on its lead-wrapping. Gollum sniffed at the leaf and his face changed: a spasm of disgust came over it, and a hint of his old malice. 'Sméagol smells it!' he said. 'Leaves out of the elf-country, gah! They stinks. He climbed in those trees, and he couldn't wash the smell off his hands, my nice hands.' Dropping the leaf, he took a corner of lembas and nibbled it. He spat, and a fit of coughing shook him.
"'Ach! No!' he spluttered. 'You try to choke poor Sméagol. Dust and ashes, he can't eat that. He must starve. But Sméagol doesn't mind. Nice hobbits! Sméagol has promised. He will starve. He can't eat hobbits' food. He will starve. Poor thin Sméagol!'
"'I'm sorry,' said Frodo; 'but I can't help you, I'm afraid. I think this food would do you good, if you would try. But perhaps you can't even try, not yet anyway.'" The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter II.