I’ve just had my second blind date! My first, last year, was with the very delightful Anja Koenig, (chaperoned by her equally delightful husband, Stephen) (see my earlier blog) who won a competition in Germany to have dinner with me. This time it was with Sarah Hobden, who won a competition in Sussex Life magazine to have lunch with me. (Maybe someone would get a huge number of entrants by running a competion for the winner not to have to have lunch or dinner with me…!!!)

Sara Hobden and That Man again!

Sara’s trusting husband allowed her to come out on her own, and we had a fun lunch at the Hotel Du Vin in Brighton – one of a handful of places in Brighton I really think has a great bar and is a nice “space” to dine in. So many restaurants serve good and sometimes great food, but very few have rooms to match. In Brighton, I also like Havana, which has a fine, spacious, stylish room, and nearby, Wingrove House in Alfriston, with its glorious outside terrace as well. And while we are on the subject, my favourite restaurant in London by far is the Wolseley – quite the most glorious room, day or night. And in fact it features in my latest Roy Grace novel, Not Dead Enough!

I asked Sarah why she entered a competition to have lunch with me, expecting her to say that I had been her favourite writer for years, yadda yadda yadda… and my ego was somewhat deflated when she confessed that she’d actually never heard of me before reading about the competition! But then she said she was now a fan… so things improved substantially after that – sad sucker for flattery that I am…

But seriously, she was a delightful companion, extremely bright and fun. If anyone ever holds a competition to have lunch with her, I will be the first to enter!