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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
8 Apr 2012

Welcome to your seventh decade, Nicholas Lander, Financial Times restaurant correspondent, author of Nick on restaurants and the forthcoming book The Art of the Restaurateur (Phaidon, October 2012), and occasional Mr Jancis Robinson.

Nick turns 60 today, having got back only yesterday from spending 21 of the last 25 nights in hospital, six of them in intensive care for five different reasons. He was scheduled to have an operation on his gut on 14 March, having suffered from ulcerative colitis, occasionally diagnosed as Crohn's disease, since he was a teenager. That operation went well but he has subsequently endured a series of what are euphemistically known as complications. The result is that he is still very weak, and it's a jolly good thing that our friend Julian Barnes was kind enough to treat him to a 1952 dinner back in February when he was feeling relatively hale and hearty.

The prognosis is good; Nick just needs a bit of rest to restore his strength. The result is that he will not be eating out for a while (nor cooking - our friends have been wonderfully generous so far with their helpful home deliveries of delicious morsels) which is why we are actively looking for others to supply restaurant reviews for this site. See Situation (temporarily) vacant: restaurant critic for details of how to win a bottle of Ch Mouton-Rothschild 1996.

This is a busy time for celebrations for Team Jancis. Tamlyn and Brad Currin are celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary at The Walnut Tree near Abergavenny this weekend and Richard Hemming, our aspiring Master of Wine, gets married on Tuesday. Julia is celebrating not having to get up at 6am to prepare herself for a long day tasting 2011s in Bordeaux. (See her forthcoming set of hundreds of tasting notes and report on this very mixed embryonic vintage.)

Very, very best wishes to one and all. It's just a shame that as I write this, Nick is sipping nothing more relevant or stimulating than hot milk and honey. The plaque illustrated commemorates his previous existence as proprietor of L'Escargot in Soho, London in the 1980s. We will be celebrating beneath this plaque later today with a family birthday tea, and perhaps the odd sip of champagne.