‘What? No martini!’

It’s a tough life at the House of Commons. Aperitifs are in short supply, the Cajun food is poor and there is a dearth of ‘fresh game’ on the lunchtime menu.

Tim Key: ‘I had bought provisions for my stay in the Lakes. Sausages

This week I went to a little cottage in the Lake District. I went there on my own, partly to write, partly to breathe in air from the mountains and waterfalls and partly to see whether I could spend five days in complete isolation. No internet. No phone reception. No make-up. No nothing. Would I flourish? Or would I fold, destroy the cottage and then have a difficult conversation with my mum’s friend Barbara, who owns it?

My Life in Food: Nik Fordham, master distiller, Bombay Sapphire

Born in Wokingham, Fordham started out as a chemist, studying the subject with biology at Plymouth University, a discipline that helped him when he joined Beefeater Gin as distillery manager in 2008. He went on to receive a diploma in distilling and the picked up the Worshipful Company of Distillers scholarship award for excellence in 2011. Since March this year he has been master distiller at Bombay Sapphire. He will also be leading the Bombay Sapphire Ultimate G&T Studio Workshops at The Hoxton Hotel (Tuesday 18 and Tuesday 25 June 7pm – 8.30pm)

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My Life in Food: Mark Pitts-Tucker, cheese grader

Pitts-Tucker is in charge of assessing all the cheese made by Davidstow, the largest cheddar producer in the UK. He grades each cheese on body (firmness), texture (feel) and flavour (style and strength level). He works most often with the Cathedral City brand, eating around 500 chunks of 500 different cheese blocks each week.

John Torode: My life in food...

John Torode is best known as the straight-talking TV presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef. He originally moved to the UK from his native Australia in the mid-1990s when he worked for the Conran Group. He owns two London restaurants. He is now working with IWSC Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan to launch the Neil McGuigan & John Torode Recipe Collection, a personalised food and wine matching service: mcguiganwines.co.uk

The reclusive family who didn't see another human for 40 years

Those with an interest in 20th century history will be familiar with the stories of famous recluses like Howard Hughes or the Vietnam vets who emerged from the jungle some 20 years after the war had ended, but the Lykov family beats them all.

When a team of Soviet geologists accidentally stumbled across the family in a remote part of Siberia, they were so isolated that they were unaware that the second world war had even started, never mind finished. It was 1978.