bhata's family had laid on a coach from Victoria, to which I led wardy with such demonic efficiency that we were in time to bagsy a table for four to share with klepsydra and Simon, plus rescue afya from being mislaid in the shopping centre. I spent the journey listening to Hitch Hiker's on my iPod, which meant everyone else on board got to enjoy me tittering like a loon and mouthing "first he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver, then he told me" to myself.
On arrival in St Omer there really wasn't enough time for a swift drink before getting changed, but I insisted we go for one anyway; I felt I ought to speak some French while I was there, and the hotel receptionist didn't seem to want to speak any to me.
The coach returned and we were whisked to the little village of Delettes and the beautiful converted farmhouse that is chez Hamilton. It didn't take long to shake my apprehensions about the party (I won't know anyone / I'm too middle-class for this / I look absurd in black tie) thanks to the champagne and the overwhelming niceness of the other guests, though it was the local Calvados that got me dancing to Dusty Springfield with a gay Belgian.
I caught the penultimate coach back to the hotel, got up four and a half hours after going to bed and checked out a French car boot sale where I could have bought a live hamster for five euros. Back to the farmstead for lunch and a swim in the tiny pool, followed by the long hot coach ride back to London. Home by 9. Eat. Bath. Flake out.