Saturday 31st July

Today I head back down to Leigh-on-Sea with Lily and Daisy, who spend the entire journey singing some cute Japanese ditty about rabbits called “Unagi”. Lily yelps with joy every time she spots a cow. This is approximately every 500-metres around the M25.

Arriving in Leigh-on-Sea, I drive to my secret second-hand bookshop that has a treasure trove of out of print wine literature on one of its top shelves. I pilfer £15 of books, including two original “Wine & Food” by Andre Simon from the late 1950s, an 1970s Bordeaux book by Hubert Duijker and an original 1967 copy of Alexis Lichine’s “Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits”, principally because it has a complete list of Pomerol crus and it’s only £6.50.

In the evening I go to Jason’s house for annual Leigh-on-Sea barbecue. The venue is usually Carolyn’s flat but this year it has changed a few blocks down. It is a highly enjoyable evening where we uphold our tradition of dancing to random songs on the eye-pod like 13-year olds, but to be honest it is not as raucous or as anarchic as previous year’s. There are two reasons for this: the absence of friends who have a tendency to get the party started better than Pink after a bottle of absinthe and Carolyn’s flat itself. For some reason, the confines of her flat enkindles the kind of bacchanalia that would have made Caligula blush, although Carolyn’s vodka-marinated jelly bellies get us in the spirit (literally.)

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