Last weekend, twenty four hours of isolation from children and from the Vaio.

First stop: testing a seaside hotel behind Camber Sands (www.thegallivanthotel.com). A brave idea indeed, in a somewhat unpreposessing location. But Harry Cragoe and Tudor Hopkins have done a fine job, with the 18 rooms full on a Friday night in June and the restaurant buzzing to the noise of 50+. A recipe that seems to work and a few thoughts for own future.

The next morning, some shock therapy coffee at The George in Rye (www.thegeorgeinrye.com). Another example of young British hoteliers revolutionising provincial British towns, putting the hotel at the heart of the community. This pair, Alex and Katie Clarke, were at University with me twenty odd years ago. What use our Arts degrees now, except in editing the menus?

I paused to reflect that the two and a half hours that it took us to get from London to Rye was the same as it takes me every week to get from London to The Griffin. Would that more from the south east understood how easy it is to make the leap across the Severn Bridge. I tried not to be too pleased also at how poorly the Kent sea compares to that which laps against our Cornish beaches. Another world.

On the way home, a brief stop at Chapeldown Vineyard near Tenterden. A fully booked restaurant. A restaurant named after the chef. I have never been a fan of that kind of self-regarding chakllege to the fates. Also a restaurant in a vineyard that doesn’t offer glass sizes of 125ml! But English (and Welsh) wines remain on the up. More thoughts on that anon.

Home to children and Vaio. Greeted in that order. I promise.

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