Where I live.

North Devon is a special place. I’ve lived here most of my life and in terms of natural beauty, it’s hard to beat. We get our fair share of rain, but that’s why it’s so green and lush – as you can see.

I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve roamed these hills and had my breath taken away by the rugged coastline stretching out before me. On a good clear day, numerous coves and bays are clearly visible.

It’s a great place to think, pray and consider without fear of being disturbed. The fresh sea air and perfect solitude has a unique way of clearing the mental fog in your brain. I really recommend it.

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Pappardelle’s, Arundel.

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If you ever find yourself in historic and beautiful Arundel, at the bottom of the main street on the right, you will discover not one but two Italian restaurants. In fact, two restaurants in one.

Now that I have sufficiently piqued your attention, I will explain. What you’ve got, rather cleverly, are two dining experiences under one roof. Bottom floor, you have ‘Osteria,’ which serves some Italian food and also some other non-Italian dining choices too.

Osteria is really just an Italian term for a restaurant that serves good food, beer and wine – slightly lower in the pecking order than a Ristorante or Trattoria.

Anyway having said all that, my friend and I proceeded upstairs to Pappardelle’s which is the proper Italian Ristorante side of the business. Here, we were welcomed by one Jan Marco of Genoa, Italy.

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The evening commenced with the mandatory but altogether scrumptious ciabatta with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was followed by a simply stunning beet cured salmon, with capers, horseradish and ciabatta (again).

Having learnt from a recent trip to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy that Spaghetti Bolognese is not actually an authentic Italian dish, I ordered the more accurate Tagliatelle Bolognese – with lamb.

Spaghetti Bolognese is an adaption of the real thing which is only ever made with Tagliatelle and not spaghetti. It’s also a lot less tomato based than what we’re used too here in the UK.

Either way, the version I was served was delicious, and whilst not entirely accurate, was much closer to the Ragu I had eaten in Bologna. It looked amazing and was thoroughly satisfying.

Washed down with a carafe of house wine, a Barberra 2014 described in the menu as having juicy cherry and damson fruit flavours, I couldn’t have asked for more.

I was not disappointed in any way with the food, ambience or warm and friendly service, and will definitely be returning sometime soon.

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The only way is forward.

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Standing at a crowded Euston Station today, it made me think that life is a succession of journeys. Some literal and geographical, and some metaphysical and emotional.

I guess our direction of travel is really important – it should always be ultimately forward. Today, I literally travelled to the post-industrial town of Blackburn. I discovered it is most definitely a place of opportunity.

In travelling, not only do we discover new places, but we discover ourselves too. You often hear the phrase, ‘enjoy the journey,’ and that is certainly true. We should always do that, wherever we are going in life.

For me, the travelling is as important as the arriving. It’s all about never missing the moment, because life is made up of moments such as these.

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Waxy’s Little Sister

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On the corner of both Lisle and Wardour Street in London, just tucked inside Chinatown, you will find Waxy’s Little Sister. And in case you were wondering, it’s an Irish pub.

A curious name I hear you cry! Well it refers to the Waxy O’Connor bar across the road – which I guess must be like the mothership.

I soon got chatting to the Mirko the Italian barman. So now we have an Italian barman, working in an Irish pub, in Chinatown in London. Well London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the face of the earth. What else would you expect?

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A good chat about all things Italian ensued as we discussed the culinary and otherwise delights of Emilia Romagna in the north of the country. Mirko himself hails from the lakes area near the Swiss border, but loves London.

You can’t keep a good man down though… After a brief spell in Italy at the end of the summer, he’ll be off to Paris. There are so many interesting people you can meet, if you just take as little time.

As I gazed outside at the myriads of tourists, workers and locals, once again the clouds shed their heavy load and a torrent of water from the skies poured downward. Well it is Britain isn’t it?

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