If it came to ‘Heritage per square kilometre’ the United Kingdom would win hands down. It’s a tiny island with an immense history and UNESCO haven’t missed a bit of it. From Neolithic Orkney to Maritime Liverpool there isn’t an aspect of the UK’s thrilling past that’s been overlooked. There’s royal pomp and pageantry, politics, paternalistic philanthropy, colonialism, industrialism, romance, religion and more than a dash of dastardly deeds, apparitions, ancient mysteries and, of course, a few murders.
So if I’ve missed a few in my pick, you’ll have to forgive me and put all the blame UNESCO’s way for being so very generous with their UK designations in the first place.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Blenheim stands alongside Castle Howard and Highclere as one of the finest and most beautifully preserved English Romantic Palaces. You might recognise it from its many movie appearances (think ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’). But as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, caretaker of Capability Brown’s magnificent park and landscaping and curator of a fascinating and important art collection, Blenheim’s been playing a starring role in English architectural, social and cultural history for centuries. Wandering around on your own is mesmerising but for some real passion take a tour, the guides are wonderful. www.blenheimpalace.com
Maritime Greenwich, London
Even if you simply caught a Thames River Boat and just sailed past Maritime Greenwich you’d find it awe-inspiring. Time is measured here, the ideas and discoveries of England’s great scientists, astronomers, navigators and thinkers are celebrated and nowhere expresses the nation’s nautical tradition more eloquently. And for the geeks among us Thor saved the world here in the second movie. Visit The Queen’s House for the art collection, The Old Royal Naval College for seafaring legends and the ancient Royal Park for famous deer and exceptional views. www.visitgreenwich.org.uk
Palace of Westminster, London
Better known as The Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster is London’s most famous landmark, home to beloved ‘Big Ben’ and the seat of central government in the UK. The Palace, viewed in its entirety from across the River Thames, is imposing. Up close, the graceful Gothic architecture is delicate and intriguing. But to lift the lid on ancient traditions and intimate secrets, book an in-depth guided tour with Afternoon Tea on the Terrace – nothing could be more quintessentially British. www.parliament.co.uk
Dorset and East Devon Coast
Cliffs, crags, sea stacks, natural stone arches, miles of sand and many fossils make up the 185 million year old marvel that’s the Dorset and East Devon Coast. Known as ‘The Jurassic Coast’ this was the UK’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and its 95 mile long stretch is one of the best known and best loved walks in England. Whether you do it in bite-size bits – stopping off for fossil hunting and amazing seafood – or you hike the whole lot at once, The Jurassic Coast is truly stunning. www.jurassiccoast.org
Precise and monumental, Stonehenge is the world’s only surviving Lintelled Stone Circle. Archaeologically significant, sacred, historically unique and totally enthralling this Late Neolithic structure has mesmerised for millennia. The very size of the stones and the distances they were carried as early as 2500BC defies imagining and various theories as to Stonehenge’s function have been suggested over the centuries. Today it’s generally accepted as a Temple aligned to solar movement so if you want to see it serve its purpose visit with 1000’s of others for the annual Summer Solstice celebrations. www.english-heritage.org.uk
Edinburgh Old & New Town
Back in the 18th century when the great and good of Edinburgh abandoned the Old Town’s tenements in favour of Georgian grandeur in the New Town, little did they think that both ‘towns’ would be UNESCO World Heritage Sites within a few centuries. Edinburgh New Town is the yardstick by which all masterpieces of town planning are measured. It’s elegant, austere and very beautiful and a complete contrast to the Medieval, higgledy-piggledy fascination of Edinburgh Old Town. For the mighty castle, ghouls and ghosts and graveyards, the Museum of Scotland and St. Giles Cathedral you want Edinburgh Old Town. And you’ll find the Scottish National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery and some of the loveliest homes in the world in Edinburgh New Town – you can even see how the other half used to live in the National Trust’s restored Georgian House on Charlotte Square. www.nts.org.uk/property/georgian-house
Tower of London
The Tower of London’s past might be gloom and doom laden, but for intrigue, espionage, treachery, confounding mystery and sheer atmosphere it doesn’t have an equal anywhere. If you were treasonous (or in a lot of cases just out of Royal favour) back in the day, this is where you’d meet your fate either at the end of a botched blade or – if you still had a bit of clout – a sharp sword. Henry VIII beheaded wives, enemies and friends alike here and Queen Elizabeth I executed Mary Queen of Scots. The magnificent Crown Jewels are on display at the Tower of London under guard of the famous Beefeaters and you can take a – wary – look at the legendary, flightless ravens (there has to be at least six ravens in residence or the Tower will fall, so to defy prophesy it’s customary to clip their wings). Understandably there are more than a few ghosts roaming around and, whether you believe or not, I defy you to tour the entire Tower without at least one shiver. www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon
Honourable mention has to go to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the enchanting and elegant City of Bath, marvellous Maritime Liverpool and tiny, desolate and far-flung St. Kilda – if you don’t like sailing, 17 hours on a boat from Lewis for St. Kilda might be a bit of a thought, particularly as they’ve been known to get halfway and turn back because of the weather.
In short, I’ve just scratched the surface of the UK’s heritage. My advice is: make your own list and even if you just stick with UNESCO’s 28 sites, there’s more than enough to make several historic holidays in the UK.
Gone are the days when being a vegetarian meant going hungry when travelling. In fact, vegan and vegetarian travel are now growing markets and the best meat-free cuisines around the world are sought out by travellers with hearty appetites. Whether you’re a curious carnivore or a master of meat-free food, here are ten cities worth visiting if you enjoy vegetarian and vegan food.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Considered by many to be USA’s most sustainable and eco-friendly city, it should be no surprise that vegetarians and vegans are well-catered for in Portland, Oregon. With hotspots including the 100% plant-based Back to Eden Bakery and the vegan trattoria Portobello, it’s never a struggle to find a good vegetarian or vegan meal in this city.
Prague, Czech Republic
I had many expectations when I went to Prague for the first time – cold weather, beautiful architecture, and centuries of history hiding around every corner – but what I didn’t expect to find was a hidden mecca for vegetarian and vegan food. Despite Czech food being very meat-focussed, which admittedly it still is, Prague has a long-standing reputation for good vegetarian cuisine, like that being served at Buddhist restaurant Maitrea tucked down a side street close to Old Town Square. Here you can wash down vegan and vegetarian food with some local Czech hemp beer in a smart and minimal interior that has been fully feng-shui-ed.
Once considered the world’s number one city for vegetarians, London has sort of gone full circle with a recent flurry in popularity of meat-focused restaurants. This is actually a good thing for vegetarians as we are now seeing a new generation of vegan and vegetarian restaurants emerge, not to mention the growing popularity of farmers’ markets in London selling seasonal vegetables you won’t find in the supermarket. Check out this list of London’s vegetarian restaurants for some great spots across the city.
Vegetarian food is an integral part of Berlin’s understated yet vibrant foodie scene. Across its eclectic neighbourhoods from Friedrichshain to Schöneberg you will find organic farmers’ markets and vegetarian restaurants from around the world. Try the cheerily named natural fine-dining restaurant Lucky Leek in Prenzlauer-Berg for a fully vegan menu or enjoy brunch at Café Morgenrot, where you pay what you think the canteen style spread is worth. You can even try a vegan version of Berlin’s famous currywurst at Yellow Sunshine on Skalitzer Strasse.
Recent years have seen more and more vegetarian options sneaking their way on to the menus of Amsterdam’s best restaurants and the popularity of organic supermarkets like Marqt shows no sign of dwindling. Other highlights include the Vegetarian Butcher on Rozengracht, where you can find some of the best meat-substitutes and imitations, and Marits Huiskamerrestaurant in Amsterdam-Oost, where you can enjoy food that is literally home-cooked in Marit’s own kitchen which she opens up to the public three days a week.
Famous for its coffee culture, Vienna’s vegetarian scene deserves much more press than it gets with over 50 vegetarian and vegan restaurants lining its historic streets. From the all-organic Bio Bar to yamm!’s vegetarian buffet, which also includes lactose and gluten-free dishes, keep some room for a stop at Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt which also has vegetarian street food stalls.
Loved as a creative and cosmopolitan city, Austin is something of a vegetarian veteran with long-running restaurants and cafes. Popular spots include Swad, home to the city’s best veggie Indian dishes, and Tex-Mex restaurant Mr. Natural, where you can follow a veggie empanada with a gluten-free chocolate brownie.
While much of Southeast Asia can pose some problems for vegan and vegetarian travellers, they will find it much easier to satisfy their appetite in Singapore. Head to Little India to find flavourful vegetarian dishes being served by families from southern India. Even restaurants with a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes on the menu are masters of the vegetarian dish. Like Lagnaa Barefoot Dining restaurant where you can choose how spicy you want your food on a scale from 1-10, though be warned very few make it past level 3 even.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Something of a retreat for soul-searching and yoga-practicing travellers, Chiang Mai is proud of its relaxed atmosphere. It follows that the city is a haven for vegans and vegetarians with restaurants offering meat-free interpretations of both Thai and international dishes. One popular vegetarian Thai restaurant is Pun Pun, set within the ground of Buddhist temple Wat Suan Dok.
Vancouver is another Pacific Coast North American city that suggests maybe west is best when it comes to meat-free cuisine. Upmarket cocktail bar and restaurant The Parker proves that vegetarianism can be sustainable and sexy, and for an Asian twist seek out Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House for cheap and cheerful Vietnamese food. Vancouver also has a great reputation for farmers’ markets and delis selling bio-organic produce so you can confidently go self-catering in this city knowing you’ll have no trouble finding your favourite vegetarian ingredients, or some new ones to experiment with.
For many running a marathon is the challenge of a lifetime. It’s not just because of the physical challenge on the day, but it’s the months and months of training and preparation needed to go the distance. When you look at it like this, you begin to understand why many people choose to run a marathon in a foreign and far-flung place they’ve always wanted to visit, because not only do they get to achieve a remarkable physical feat, they also get to see and experience a new travel destination in the process.
1. Virgin Money London Marathon, UK
The world’s largest marathon in 2012, the Virgin Money London Marathon is loved by runners around the world for a course that waxes historical, a route that is good for both beginners and experienced runners and for having some of the best (and loudest) spectators. A great place to stay while running the London Marathon is in leafy Blackheath where the course begins. From here you can enjoy views across East London and you’ll find many typical British pubs to stock up on carbs before and after your run. The course itself acts like a sight-seeing tour of London taking you past the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and through the heart of the City of London to Westminster. Special highlights on the course include running across TowerBridge, through CanaryWharf and past the Tower of London. It also has one of the most famous finishing miles as you run – or stumble – your way to Buckingham Palace. There’s a reason you have to wait years for a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
13th April 2014 http://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/
2. Big Sur International Marathon, California
Considered the largest rural marathon in the world, Big Sur International Marathon follows a 26.2 mile section of the famous Pacific Highway from Big Sur to Carmel. Expect the sun to shine and the sea breeze to keep you cool as you enjoy one of the world’s most scenic marathons, taking in the iconic Brixby Creek Bridge and a section of Big Sur’s redwood forest. For accommodation, you could stay close to the finish line in Carmel, whose full name Carmel-by-the-Sea alludes to its white sand beaches. Alternatively, make it a city break by staying just a few hours up the coast of California in one of America’s favourite cities San Francisco. Golden Gate Brigde, Alcatraz prison and cosmopolitan suburbs like Little Italy, China Town and The Castro, San Fran also has vibrant coffee and foodie scenes which will help replace lost calories after the marathon.
27th April 2014 http://www.bsim.org/site3.aspx
3. Marathon du Medoc, Bordeaux
credit: Leite’s Culinaria
If coastal views aren’t really your thing, maybe running passed vineyards will be a good enough reason to pump those pistons. This chateaux-hopping tour of one of the world’s most famous wine-producing regions is a marathon with a difference, because runners are encouraged to take frequent breaks along the twenty-six mile course which snakes through vineyards and chateaux. Energy drinks and orange slices are replaced with oysters, cheese and wine as you sample some of the fine foods and award-winning wines the Médoc region is famous for. If you stay in nearby Bordeaux you can visit the Bordeaux Wine and TradeMuseum which will tell you why this part of France is so sacred to wine lovers. There is, of course, much more to do in this historic city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a large and lively student population, you’ll find a lively atmosphere in the city’s pedestrian centre and a gentle walk along the banks of the River Garonnne or in Bordeaux’s public gardens on a sunny day should stretch any marathon-sore legs.
13th September 2014 http://www.marathondumedoc.com/
4. Midnight Sun Marathon, Tromsø
credit: Outreach Moldova
The only marathon on this list that begins in the middle of the night and still offers ideal running conditions, the Midnight Sun Marathon is a unique race that takes you around the island of Tromsø, the second largest city in the Arctic Circle. With beautiful dusk light and a scenic course from beginning to end, this race is worth messing up your body clock for. Take in the impressive sight of the Arctic Cathedral watching over the city and be sure to go inside to see the midnight sun shine through the stained glass windows. Warm up your legs with a wander around the city’s oldest streets which are lined with colourful wooden houses and enjoy famous Norwegian delicacies like lutefisk or sweet cinnamon buns. If you’ve got the energy after your marathon – and the budget, because alcohol is heavily taxed in Norway – Tromsø is very famous in Norway for its nightlife playing host to many of the world’s most popular musicians and DJs thanks to a student population who really do make the most of the city’s short but spectacular summers.
21st June 2014 http://www.msm.no/index.php?language=no&cat=23429
5. Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town, South Africa
Confidently called the world’s most beautiful marathon, I wonder if this name tricks people into thinking the Two Oceans Marathon is a ‘normal’ marathon, because it’s actually fourteen kilometres longer than the traditional marathon distance. One of the world’s most popular ultra marathons, runners follow a spectacular circuit of the Cape Peninsula, beginning and finishing at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Although an extreme reason, the marathon is the perfect excuse to visit South Africa’s second largest city and arguably its most beautiful. Must-see sights include the view from the top of Table Mountain, the colourful houses of Bo-Kap, and there is of course the option to visit the thought-provoking Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. For a post-marathon feast try some Cape Malay food, which centres around spice infused meat dishes like denningvleis, slow-cooked lamb, and bobotie, an Indian inspired mince meat and egg dish that could fuel many marathons.
19th April 2014 http://www.twooceansmarathon.org.za/
6. Vodafone Istanbul Marathon
Perhaps the only marathon in the world that crosses continents, the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon began in 1978 when 34 visiting German tourists wanted to run a marathon in the Turkish capital. These days, you’d be one of thousands who lace up their trainers and run across the Bhosphorus Bridge and through the city’s European and Asian streets. While the marathon will show you a real mix of Istanbul’s old and new architecture and culture, you can choose to immerse yourself in one or the other depending on where you stay. Be just walking distance from all the historic buildings around Sultanahmet Square in the Old City or find yourself a slick apartment with a view in one of New Istanbul’s high-rises. Either way, be sure to over-indulge in meze before and after your cross-continental run and book yourself in for a hammam spa, a traditional Turkish spa treatment that washes away dead skin and will also relaxingly soak those tired muscles.
16th November 2014 http://www.istanbulmarathon.org/en
Do you run? Which was the most beautiful marathon course you’ve ever enjoyed?
“I never knew the charm of spring, I never met it face to face, I never knew my heart could sing, never missed a warm embrace, till April in Paris.”
So famously sang Ella Fitzgerald in Count Basie’s April in Paris, and I’m not about to argue. Paris is one of the most special places to visit once cold, grey winter has fallen behind for another year, and while you can find those ‘charms of spring’ throughout the city, there are a number of places you should seek out if you want to over-indulge in springtime scenes full of bursting flower buds and aromatic blossoms. The following is for those without hayfever, by the way.
Obvious and often teeming with tourists, the Trocadéro Gardens that lead you to the foot of the Eiffel Tower are also home to a collection of cherry blossom trees which’ll be covered in pink flowers come April. Ignore the crowds and admire the pastel shades or walk around to spot flower beds full of tulips too. If you have a camera and the ground is dry, you can have a go at perfectly framing the EiffelTower with blossom.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Le Jardin du Luxembourg, or Luxembourg Gardens, is another place to find flowers in bloom as springtime stirs up some colour in Paris’s second largest public park. Many of the flower beds will give Amsterdam a run for its money with unusual tulips sitting pretty around statues and tree-lined avenues offering perfect views of the grandiose Luxembourg House, home of the French Senate. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s warm enough for you to sit awhile on one of the garden benches and enjoy the quiet beauty.
The Gardens of Musée Albert-Kahn
image from parigirando
To the west of the city, in Boulogne-Billancourt, and on the banks of the Seine is the Musée Albert-Kahn, a place dedicated to the life of the French banker and philanthropist. In 1909 he launched an ambitious project whereby photographers would travel the world photographing – in colour – people and their lives in over 50 countries. To honour Kahn’s international research, the gardens of Musée Albert-Kahn are inspired by the world’s many different climates and landscapes, including a Japanese garden with exquisite Japanese cherry blossoms.
Bois de Boulogne
If the River Seine is the lifeline of Paris then perhaps Bois de Boulogne is the city’s life-giver, so full of plants and trees and green things. Paris’s largest park is therefore one of the best places to see the joys of spring coming to life in April. With several landscaped gardens within its boundaries, including the famous English garden and the Jardins des Serres d’Auteuil, a greenhouse botanical garden, if you don’t find spring in bloom in Bois de Boulogne you’ve probably got sidetracked by Pré-Catelan, the amusement park found there.
On the border of the famous 17th Arrondissement lies the oval Parc Monceau, an open space of grasslands and gardens popular with local families who live in the area. This is thanks to the park being home to children’s play areas as well as a collection of interesting sculptures inspired by architecture from around the world. In between spotting the spring flowers you can set your kids the task of finding the Egyptian pyramid, a Dutch windmill and curling row of Greek style pillars.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
There’s a small park next to Notre Dame called Place Jean XXIII, where you can sit under a blossoming cherry tree and watch the water of the Seine flow by. The perfect place for lots of people-watching opportunities, you may also see other flowers bravely emerging in their beds around you. A quick stop here before or after – or instead of – inside the Cathedral is definitely worth doing in springtime.
La Coulée Verte
Paris’s elevated garden has been bringing smiles to Parisian’s faces for over 20 years and springtime is one of the most popular seasons for exploring the gardens lining this old railway line, which actually inspired New York City’s Highline. La Coulée Verte is also known as ‘le promenade plantée’, which literally means ‘the planted stroll’, suggesting that you should do your best to walk its 4.7km length in full, an act that will be rewarded in April with cherry blossom and blooming perennials in bright colours.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Out to the east of Paris in the 19th Arrondissement is Parc des Buttes Chaumont, an elaborately landscaped open space that has many winding walkways snaking through cherry blossom trees and flower beds that will just be starting to show their true colours in April. The park’s most famous landmark is the Temple Sybille which watches over a lake from a cliff face, and the gently sloping grass hills give you a lovely view point of this and the fragrant springtime flowers.
Now you have eights spots to find the joys of spring in Paris, all you need to do is find a place to stay close to one or more of them. Why not have a quick look at Paris apartments available in April.
It’s Lent. Has been for nearly a week now. After the big, bad party of Carnival and Mardi-Gras it’s time to get clean and shiny for Easter with 40 days of ‘self-denial, simplicity, spirituality, contemplation and conversion’. Not such a fun time to take a holiday then?
Well you’d think not, but I’m reliably informed that the real deal about giving up stuff for Lent is to ‘replace vice with virtue’. And let’s be honest, that idea’s pretty open to interpretation. So although foregoing meat for Lent is fairly common practice worldwide, replace that particular vice with fish and seafood and it’s not such a hardship. Bavarian monks came up with a plan to bend the Lent beer ban centuries ago. Most of the earth’s loveliest places do ‘spiritual and contemplative’ as standard. And anyone who’s ever travelled with more than hand baggage knows the true value of simplicity.
So whatever you do, don’t give up travel for Lent, just be a little more virtuous about the places you go and the things you do – here are a few personal Lent Observations to start off with…..
France & Spain for fish
The French verbs ‘to fish’ and ‘to sin’ are almost the same (give or take an accent) so it’s no surprise to find that there’s a certain piscine slant to Lent in France. Even April Fool’s Day here is known as Poisson Avril. And you should watch out for small, shifty children intent on sticking paper fish to your back to mark you as ‘un fou’.
If you prefer your fish without a side-order of humiliation, head for Marseilles. The birthplace of bouillabaisse is where you’ll find my favourite French fish market. Le Marché aux Poissons on the Old Port’s Quai des Belges (not to be confused with the big, wholesale fish market) is where locals head every day between 8am and 1pm to get the pick of the day’s catch fresh off the boats. The vendors will clean your fish while you wait and the sheer choice makes giving up meat for Lent fairly easy.
Lent or not, the average Spaniard eats over 30 kilos of fish and seafood a year and much of it comes from the gorgeously wild Galician coast. This is the place for monumental waves, unspoiled beaches, colourful little fishing villages and ancient myth and legend. The capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, has one of the world’s most important and incredible ‘Semana Santa’ (19th – 27th April) so if you’re up for celebrating the end of Lent with some excess and spectacle you should definitely witness this at least once.
Pembrokeshire for purple
Purple symbolises penitence, so no surprise that it’s the traditional colour of Lent. But, being a congenial and forgiving sort, I recommend you go easy on yourself and just contemplate the natural prettiness of purple this spring. Picton Castle Gardens in Pembrokeshire, West Wales are lovely this time of year and the biggest attraction (literally) is the largest Rhododendron in the world – named ‘Old Port’ for its amazing display of purple flowers www.pictoncastle.co.uk
Bavaria for vice-free beer
Back in the day beer-loving Bavarian monks devised a plan to beat the sobriety of Lent by brewing ‘Starkbier’, also known as ‘liquid bread’. Apparently it was so foul the Pope had no hesitation giving it the okay for Lent since he assumed no one would drink the stuff anyway – how wrong he was. Centuries later the Bavarian capital Munich celebrates those cunning monks and their strong stomachs with the annual ‘Starkbierfest’ (21st to 30th March). The festival has a reputation with connoisseurs so the beer’s obviously a lot better these days – and if the pope says it’s alright … www.muenchen.de
Paris for converts
Paris won’t scream ‘virtue’ any time soon but you can do a bit of vice balancing this Lent with an Autolib Subscription. Autolib’s the city’s electric car scheme and its clean, sweetly silent vehicles are now a common sight on the boulevards and rues of the world’s most visited city. Easy to use and reasonably priced, all you need to convert your carboncentric ways is a passport, European driving licence and a bank or credit card (Autolib’s now in Bordeaux too) www.autolib.eu
Netherlands for simplicity
To truly understand simplicity in all its complex forms, stand perfectly still and contemplate the stark minimalism of a Piet Mondrian canvas. Mondrian is one of the Netherland’s most celebrated artists (and this is the country that gave us Vermeer, Van Gogh and Rembrandt) so the lack of a permanent exhibition of his works on home turf has always been a bit of a bugbear for the Dutch. Now the magnificent Gemeente Museum in The Hague houses the world’s largest collection of Mondrian masterpieces along with the work of his fellow countryman, De Stijl. The museum also has major works by Kandinsky, Picasso, Monet and Francis Bacon, exhibitions just for children, fantastic interactive exhibits and it’s just beautifully designed www.gemeentemuseum.nl
Poland for spirituality
It’s traditional in Poland to celebrate the Stations of the Cross during Lent so for many the country is a place of pilgrimage in the weeks before Easter. One of the most revered and visited pilgrimage sites is Kalwaria Zebrydowska in South Poland. The church here was built to mirror the great church of Golgotha in Jerusalem and, along with the monastery, it’s one of Poland’s most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And whether you visit to worship or just to admire the art and architecture, this is a very peaceful place to appreciate the true meaning of Lent.
Inspired to travel during Lent? Well it’s guaranteed you’ll enjoy some very creative cooking in most places (Italy’s love of meat means new heights of ingenuity for the next 40 days). There’s plenty to contemplate as always. And the less devout of us can just put our own spin on ‘vice for virtue’ – as ever. But, on a final note, I’d just like to remind everyone: giving up Brussels sprouts for Lent doesn’t count.