on the desk in roald dahl’s writing hut, right next to the chair where he sat to write many of his famous stories – including charlie and the chocolate factory – there is a collection of strange and wonderful items, some of which are particularly curious.
one of these is what appears to be a cannonball. it’s grey and fits into the palm of one hand. it looks like it would be quite heavy. it’s not a cannonball, though. it’s actually chocolate wrappers. hundreds and hundreds of silver foil wrappers that were originally used to keep a chocolate bar nice and fresh.
when roald was working for shell oil in london, before he set off on his adventures in africa and then on to the second world war, he often used to have a chocolate bar with his lunch. every time he had a chocolate bar he would add the wrapper to his growing collection. the first one he wrapped up into a little ball, and then every time he had another he would wrap it around the one from the day before, and so eventually the little ball of silver foil wrappers grew larger and heavier and took on the cannonball-like appearance it has today.
roald kept this collection of chocolate wrappers on the desk in his writing hut along with other things that inspired him, or reminded him of his earlier days. if you’re ever in the roald dahl museum and story centre in great missenden you can see it for yourself.