From another point of view, it was a place without a soul. The well-to-do had hearts of stone; the rich were brutally bumptious; the Press, the Municipality, all the public men, were ridiculously, vaingloriously self-satisfied.
It's a shame; not only are nuts quite ridiculously nutritious but, as anyone who's ever shelled out (sorry) for a tiny glass of pistachios in a pub will know, they're a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. But although I happen to have a soft spot for nut roast – an option often preferable to the meat that emerged from the school kitchen – it seems I'm in a cranky minority. A request for recipe recommendations was met with a polite silence on Twitter: vegetarianism, apparently, has moved on a bit. You don't see Yotam Ottolenghi faffing about with nut roasts, do you? But I'm determined to revive the fortunes of this much-maligned classic. After all, Christmas isn't Christmas without a luxury nut selection.