A jolly, squiffy and ultimately pooped evening in the company of a friend greatly missed.
Possibly the most terrifying meal of my life took place in Paris.
Those of you who under the age of 40 who have seen Murder on the Orient Express would imagine that any travel to Paris in pre-Eurostar days involved personalised leather suitcases, glamorous travelling companions and silver service dining on a sleek machine-missile headed straight to the heart of lovetown. And murder.
It's often the case that it's only when you move away from a place that you appreciate the finest things about it, which until then you'd either been ignorant of, or had taken for granted. Such was the case with Romanas in Ferryhill.
There being no opportunities to practice being a lounge lizard or a Roman Emperor in 1990s County Durham (or that's what Miss Roddam said anyway) I put in for sixth form work experience in a bookshop.
The Thinford Inn. The earliest restaurant I can remember. As a small child in Southend the closest I got to going to a restaurant was getting a takeaway from Pang's or eating a bag of crisps in a pub car park. Until I went on holiday to County Durham.
The Big C having (temporarily?) terminated restaurant going as a social activity I'll be lucky to get beyond number six this side of autumn. And unlikely to have the funds to dine out in style the other. So what is a restaurant reviewer to do?
Take a Proustian turn of course. The great man lay in his cork-lined room and let his mind do the travelling through time and space. And I intend to follow his lead. Though not in every detail you'll be glad to know, I have neither the skill nor the inclination to imitate Proust's description of the Duchesse de Guermantes' dinner over 150 pages.
Journey with me through restaurants remembered, people remembered, places remembered.