Archive for October, 2012

This post and review comes to you from the charming town of Lewes in East Sussex. Not a place Allthemacchs is unfamiliar with, having spent my youth here, and still with ties to, I like to get back there now and then.

It is well served with quirky little Indy coffeebars, not unlike Crouch End in fact, and is the home of the (once) fantastic Bill’s, now bought out and franchised and available in Covent Garden and Islington and all over the goddamn place. The original Bill (who went to my school), started as a greengrocer before setting up Bill’s, and in fact when it started in Lewes it was 75% greengrocers and 25% cafe. Gradually it reversed until from being the place you could get heirloom tomatoes, fresh borlotti beans and other weird shit, you can pretty much just buy carrots there now. The food was always pretty damn good though and you would find all manner of odd and unsolicited salad items, seeds and flowers turning up on your plate – just lovely. They did the cakes for our wedding too.

Bill’s in Lewes is always packed to the sides on the weekends so on a recent trip we checked out a newcomer just a couple of doors along the road on Cliffe High Street, Le Magasin. It’s virtually identical in decor and vibe to N8’s Haberdashery, all bleached wood and Cath Kidston prints. The coffee is good but not quite my taste being the slightly lemony, sharp flavour I’m not so keen on. They give you glass of water with your coffee order which I always think a nice touch. And apparently Gary Lineker always pops in when he’s nearby, which I can’t imagine is often (and anyway, hardly a selling point – the stories you hear about that man!) Le Magasin also runs a little deli selling the usual artisan cold meats, cheeses and so on, but I was intrigued to see they were also selling “tenderness of swordfish” (!) and at 10% off no less. No idea.


Last weekend I took part in the inaugural Royal Parks Ultra, a race of 50km (31 miles) from Hyde Park to Bushy Park (somewhere near Hampton Court; nope I’d never heard of it before either). 5okm, it turns out, is one fuck of a long way.

It is of course less than 5 miles further than a marathon, but as anyone who has run those kinds of distances will tell you, it’s those last few miles that really hurt. For me it was all fine up until about 47km, but those last 3 were a different story. Hard to credit that ‘just’ 3 km could be so tough, but man, those bastards seemed to drag on.


Still, I took it down in 5hrs 13 mins coming 99th out of 250 that started (163 finished), and it was an awesome day (apart from kms 47-50). It was also the most well organised and supported race I’ve ever done, with fantastic marshals along the way handing out bananas, electrolyte drinks and cheerful words in equal measure.

So, what’s next? A regular ‘thon is gonna seem a little pedestrian now.

In the meantime I’m making fine headway with editing up my second novel, The Geek Manifesto. It’s really, really good. Out hopefully by the end of the year. And I’m writing today back in groovy little Crouch End cafe The Blue Legume, which happily stays open late and has lead me into the dangerous area of ordering a glass of wine instead of a double macch. Can’t see that as being a good trend.