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December 21

In the days since we last spoke I’ve taken my last trip to London for the year. I’ve also eaten all the mince pies and decided that in the New Year I will be a svelte fitness queen. I’ve written my Christmas cards while listening to carols from King’s. I’ve come down with a wretched cold. I haven’t done my tax return yet.

I’ve driven – or rather Dom’s driven – to Cheshire, and we’ve wandered through the dark cloisters of Chester cathedral. I’ve explored the city walls, heavy with fog, silent except for the rush of the weir. I’ve waited, with family, for a 9pm table reservation at the Chef’s Table. A tiny restaurant, tucked away in the old alleys of Chester – enough room for 24. The food unbelievably good. Marinated quail, served with clementine, chicory and spiced nuts. Then a Christmas dinner of duck – duck breast, duck stuffing, duck sausages. And yes, I’ve put down my knife and fork every so often and sighed.

And all that, (minus the tax return, and the cold), is what has made me happy this week. Things that have made me less happy include the general state of the world, and the recently acquired knowledge that one is supposed to water a Christmas tree. Oh well, we live and learn.

Oh, and another happy thing. In this northern utopia of cheese and never-ending festive movies, it’s Christmas Eve today (we’re celebrating the actual day at my home, in Suffolk, so everything’s been shifted forward here). This means I get to celebrate everything twice – a very happy thing indeed.

I’ll speak to you after the big day itself, so to one and all, Merry Christmas. Eat all the food, play all the board games, and hold your loved ones tight. I’ll see you on the other side.









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