If you have been wondering recently where all the children aged 11-14 have gone then worry no longer, for I have found them. All of them. They are on the Dover to Calais ferry.
Doused in duty free perfume, parading endlessly round the decks, shouting, laughing, crying, trails of highly charged but as yet directionless hormones like the vapour trails of unpiloted jumbo jets left in their wake as they speed from one lounge to the next, experiencing for the first time the thrill of being stared at by 11-14 year olds from different schools, maybe even different countries. The more advanced ones will be found at the bottom of a stairwell energetically snogging an exotic French teenager, the two of them joined at the mouth like the nozzles of a couple of rogue vacuum cleaners, before declaring their undying love for each other and wandering off in separate directions to over-exaggerate their achievements and potentially find someone else to face-hoover, this clumsy, self conscious dance of pubescent love taking place in front of an audience of surly, tattooed, Estonian lorry drivers.
For everyone else the ferry from Dover to Calais can only be a sophisticated attempt by P&O to reimagine hell.
We've been to London and then the Lake district for a wedding. It was a nice trip. The thing I miss most about London are the pubs. Of course the French have lots of cafes and bars that it's perfectly easy to get drunk in - they sell the same beers, the same wines, but for some reason it's not like being in a pub. This perplexed me for a little while until I realised the big difference between them is French cafes and bars aren't designed with the sole purpose of getting you shit faced.