Never before had a member of the Hedges family paid the Congestion Charge. For a start, like most people in the countryside, we hadn’t got a clue how to pay it, and secondly, we regard it as a bit rich to be charged for visiting our capital city. Anyway, a habit of a lifetime okay, since Ken Livingstone introduced it was broken due to my parents’ invitation to a Buckingham Palace garden party. Dad is in a wheelchair and so a car and the Charge were the only option.

We had lunch at The Goring, where the staff was simply superb, and the food, especially the lobster omelette, was worth leaving the shires for on its own. No wonder this wonderful hotel has just won the Hotel of the Year Independent Award.

Next, the Palace. I waved my goodbyes at the entrance and some kind young sailor pushed the wheelchair through the gravel trap that is the Palace’s forecourt. We may not always do everything right in this country, but a perfect lunch at The Goring and a trip to the Palace with a cornflower grown by his granddaughter in his button hole made the old naval warrior that is my father very proud to be British.