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25 June 2008

Oh dear - more than eighteen months since I added anything to this diary. It has been rather a hectic time - just not quite hectic enough for me to feel compelled to blog direct from the battle zone. Most of 2007 I was getting ready for the Oxford Symposium in September, or I was writing my next book. Roger and I shut ourselves away in our usual place in the foothills of the Dolomites, and in seven weeks (May and most of June 2007) the text was pretty well complete. That of course was only the start. Back in London, the photo sessions, with Janie Suthering to help me cook and present the dishes, and photographer Gus Filgate in command of the lights and lenses, went splendidly. The illustrations are not just lovely to look at, the food they portray tasted as good as it looks on the page. We have all worked together on several books, and we make a rule that there are no artificial aids to beauty - when the dish has had its picture taken, we sit down and eat it. My publisher, Pavilion, have throughout been enthusiastic about the project and highly professional.

While the book was being got ready for the press, the excitement  kept me going, but by September of last year it was clear that my heart problems needed urgent and fairly drastic intervention. In mid-October, I had a quadruple heart bypass, performed by a brilliant young woman professor of cardiac surgery. I was in hospital for only a week and within a surprisingly short time was on my feet again. More than six months later, I can't say I feel fully recovered, but I am leading an active life, and intend to go on doing so. Watch this space!

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