Moving on – George’s

Well summer is finally here and there is no point in moping and griping about Brexit.  Whatever form it takes, it’s on its way and there is no alternative but to make the best of it.  So on a warm evening, in a slightly ironic spirit we went out for some Great British Fish and Chips at George’s on Queen Street.

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It’s a fabulous building and was packed out on a Tuesday night so we took seats at the bar and made an in-depth study of Gin from their excellent drinks menu until a table became available.

George’s makes all the right noises about quality ingredients and a passion for excelling in their chosen niche and as far as I’m concerned it all rings true.  This was fish and chips as it was meant to be – fresh, simple, unpretentious and wholesome.

George’s is a reminder that the iconic staples of the British repertoire – Fish and Chips, Full English Breakfast, Roast Beef etc. can be truly great dishes when treated with respect.

Classic George's Squid

Classic George’s Squid

After these wonderfully tender and perfectly cooked squid rings my phone’s battery died, exhausted from hunting Pokémon, and I was unable to photograph the main event.  But you’ve all seen haddock and chips before. rating 9/10 dined at their own expense.

Another Country


Looking out over The City from the Olympian heights of our hotel room in The Shard’s Shangri-La, London never felt more like another country.  The complimentary copy of Time Out which was in our room had a front page open letter addressed “Dear World…”


This trip was booked long before Brexit and could never be booked now.  The next time, if ever, that I can afford to come back, things may be very different.  Every single one of the charming, hard-working, bend-over-backwards staff of the Shangri-La that I met was Eastern European.

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Somewhere down there, near the foot of the “walkie-talkie” (aka 20 Fenchurch Street), is the London office of my employer.  I’m on vacation but I wonder what sort of conversations are taking place in that office right now.  The EU’s data protection legislation alone is enough to put me on the dole once we are out.  I can’t pretend to understand the “passporting” arrangements that allow financial institutions to operate across the EU.  But I know that without those arrangements we are screwed.

It’s now clear that the government’s post-Brexit planning is about as thorough as the planning for the aftermath of the Iraq war.  We’re 13 years into the consequences of that and there is no end in sight.

BREXIT plus one week

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner at Da Mario, Vécsey utca, Budapest

Dinner last night in Budapest.  A table of lovely, young, hopeful people from every corner of the continent, sharing a meal in a pavement cafe and talking together in the only language they all had in common – English.

The history of Hungary is the usual European, blood-soaked tapestry of a thousand years of conflict, culminating in a tumultuous 20th century.  The Nazis, the holocaust of Hungarian Jewry, then  hyper-inflation, the Communists, the uprising and finally the rebirth of the Hungarian Republic, peace and freedom within the EU.

A week on after Brexit I still feel sick to my stomach over what has happened.  I voted Tory at the last election and am now consumed with anger and hatred towards them.  I will never forgive them for inflicting this catastrophe on our country.  I feel sad for a generation of young British people whose seat at that table has now been taken away.

I’ve spent  the last 15 years travelling between the great cities of Europe on business.  On the whole I found the experience exhilarating.  While living in Nottingham I was a director of a French company based in Paris.  Some of the streets of Milan are as familiar to me as those of Nottingham.

I suppose that makes me one of the out-of-touch, metropolitan elite who have only gained from our membership of the EU.  Certainly I have yet to meet anyone who will admit to voting to leave.  I clearly don’t mix in the same circles as these people.

Kazuo Ishiguro, the most “English” novelist of our time, has articulated exactly what I am thinking in a measured piece in the FT.

I hope that, eventually, I will get over this and start to make the best of our new reality.  But right now, I see only years of pain and division ahead of us.

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Great Market Hall, Vámház krt, Budapest

Organic farmers' market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u

Organic farmers’ market at Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub, Kazinczy u