People often ask what happens in a typical day as head chef at my restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co, at Lime Wood, deep in the heart of the New Forst? It's impossible to answer. Take last week for example. You'll never believe what we all had to do... a music video! I'm not talking Backstreet Boys here, it wasn't quite that painful, but it was beyond hysterical.
If you sell Antiques here you face an uphill struggle. If you sell a 'look' you start at an advantage. There are dealers who strive to achieve both, but it is not easy. It is a sort of Holy Grail. It is a credit to the fair that both strands have their place but the team playing in the old, historic, antique way are definitely the B team.
Between 2000 and 2008, the tax on a bottle of wine increased by 15%. In the four years from 2008, the year Alastair Darling introduced the duty escalator, it has increased by 46%. It doesn't take a genius to link the steep rise with the wider economic circumstances. Put simply, tax on alcohol is a cash cow for the government that is being used to try and plug a budget deficit rather than change the way people drink.
Downing a full beer in one go has never lost its allure as a party trick, but it's also the length of the drinking session. Downing ten beers and four bourbons in an hour is impressive, but not as impressive as downing forty beers and twenty bourbons in twelve hours. Or being out for over thirty-six hours. I've done all three.