On Friday nights and at the weekends, it seems as if all of London is one big party. From the financial heartlands of the City of London and Canary Wharf, the pubs and restaurants are doing a roaring trade.

Drinkers swill over and take over the pavements even in unfashionable areas like Euston and King's Cross, while from the King's Road in the west to Islington in the north, it is hard to find a seat, whether you are looking for French cuisine or Indian or Mexican or Turkish or even Aussie tucker.

Upscale restaurants are full and the most trendy ones booked weeks ahead. If you listen to the raucous laughter — hard not to since it is so loud and braying — everyone is having a happy time with lots to spend and few cares in the world.