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The whiff of the kipper is perhaps the most alluring of culinary aromas. In an extreme example of this fragrant potency, some particularly fine kippers recently attracted me from a distance of 40 miles. I was irresistibly drawn to Whitby from our base further down the North Yorkshire coast. Packing cool box plus Mrs W and two friends from London into the Weaselmobile, we tooled along the meandering road from Scarborough through moors made psychedelic with flowering heather. Since it was a sunny Saturday, Whitby was packed to the gunwales. Wedged like grouting into a V-shaped cleft carved by the River Esk, the town has little space to accommodate the hordes drawn by its kippers and its other assets.

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Making waves: Hix Oyster & Fish House

You couldn't accuse Mark Hix of resting on his laurels. Running hell for leather on his laurels, more like. Since he parted company with Caprice Holdings, owners of Scott's and The Ivy, barely a year ago, he's now opened three restaurants. It's true that in one of them – The Albemarle in Brown's Hotel off Piccadilly – he was more overseeing grandee than chef-proprietor. But in the other two, Hix Oyster & Chop House, and this fish house under review, along with money he has clearly invested his heart and soul. This man is unstoppable.

Arcachon Bay oysters banned after health scare

In another blow to the beleaguered French shellfish industry, authorities have banned for up to two weeks the sale and consumption of oysters from the beautiful Arcachon Bay in south-western France.

Travel for free! Oyster cards fail again

London's underground Oyster card system failed again during the morning rush-hour today.

Mystery plague set to wipe out France's crop of baby oysters

Baby oysters are dying in their millions along the French coast from Normandy to the Mediterranean, puzzling scientists and plunging France's shellfish industry into crisis.

Essex seafood salad

Serves 4

If opening a quality chop house is as easy as Mark Hix makes it look, why aren't more people doing it?

Hix Oyster & Chop House, 36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7017 1930

Elect one Johnson, and you might get more than you bargained for

Ken had his cronies; Boris has his family. And foremost among them is sister Rachel, his biggest, bestest fan

Take a course in teaching English as a foreign language, and the world is truly your oyster

Colette Walsh, 25, giggles when I ask whether she worked part-time during her Tefl course in Brighton. "I barely had time to eat!" she says. "That course was the hardest thing I've ever done. The learning curve was incredibly steep. It was much harder than A-levels or the degree I'm doing now."

Beef shin, porter and oyster pie

Makes four individual pies

Going solo: Mark Hix's on how to launch a restaurant

If you're opening a new restaurant you've got to be bold and think of something different, which is tricky these days as most things have been done.

Alabama: The shellfish gene

Nowhere does oysters quite like the Yellowhammer State. Rob Crossan finds indulgence and small-town charm in Alabama

Scallops and asparagus with ponzu

Serves 4

Pilgrim's trip to India ends at Calais as 'peace walk' is lost in translation

A British "community pilgrim" who planned to walk from the UK to India penniless and in the name of peace was forced to turn back in Calais after locals accused him of being a "freeloader".

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