Greetings – today is my first day back in the office and not a moment too soon. My Christmas in the Lake District was wonderful but despite the odd walk, has been an orgy of rich food, red wine, malt whiskey and even a cheeky Cohiba cigar on New Years Eve. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.

One of the highlights of the festive period was an invitation to lunch by Thomas Mahon, pictured on the left of the photo above. His company, Englishcut, is based at Warwick Hall in Cumbria and his last employer was Anderson and Sheppard, one of the most respected tailors on Savile Row. He has an international client base, with regular visits to the US, although he does look after the occasional Brit including Prince Charles. The chap on his right is Alan Pitt former senior cutter at Anderson & Sheppard, so you could say I was rubbing shoulders with the Jackie Stewart and Lewis Hamilton of the tailoring world.

After checking out the divine construction of his coats (to be discussed in a later entry) and much enjoyable conversation about the bespoke tailoring business and life in general, we had a quick bomb round the country lanes in his MG Midget (hence my racing driver analogy!) and then headed off to fill our stomachs. Lunch was a smashing Shepherds pie and a very nice pint of Copperdragon at The Blacksmiths Arms in Brampton and then it was back to Windermere for the run-up to New Year.

So here it is – 2008 – last year was great for me for many reasons but I know this one is going to rock. After all, number 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture and 1.3billion people can’t be wrong. Bring it on folks. Bring it on!