Saturday, 2 August 2008

Friday 1st August 2008

Have spent the day with Keith – my super duper website chap. We’ve been setting up my blog, which you are all now reading.

I get a little stir crazy in front of a computer all day.
I am a practical person and I need to be on the move and busy. If I’m not cooking I’m writing recipes, if I’m not doing that, I’m in meetings, if I’m not in meetings I am in my garden. If I’m not in my garden, I’m usually tussling with the M40 and M25.

I indulge in a hammock moment when I can in the summer. Usually it’s not my fault. I may be working in the garden, dead heading, planting or hanging the washing out, and the hammock is there, mocking me, taunting me, beckoning me to have a moment with it.
I’ll think, okay, just a ten minute swing. I’m incapable of resisting.

Invariably, I wake up an hour later, with my mouth open and a little (un-lady like) dribble attached to my chin.
What can a girl do? The hammock has magical powers, especially when it’s covered in a cosy blanket and cushions.

Today at six 0’clock I had a moment. I woke up just in time for Gardener’s World.

I am so glad I did because I saw my friend Toby Buckland on it. I knew he had been doing some filming with them, and he was as I thought he would be – brilliant.
Toby comes over as such a nice, natural bloke. Approachable, incredibly knowledgeable and, I think, perfect for GW. He won a gold medal for Best Show Garden at GW Live this year with his Eco Garden.

For the last couple of years, Toby has joined me on a Kitchen/Garden Demonstration Day here. I demo a light lunch in the morning – this year the main course was salmon, pea and mint fishcakes with home-made tartar sauce. Toby joins us for lunch and then takes over in the afternoon. He takes people around my garden (hopefully avoiding the weeds and ground elder), and tells them all they need to know, to garden successfully.

He brings plants to give away and willow to teach us to make plant supports. Making them is rather like the Generation Game, but it is a brilliant idea for natural planting stakes. Toby gave me a chilli plant this year, which is apparently the hottest chilli ever. I haven’t managed to kill it yet.

I did get a mild chastisement from him over the grass around my rose hedge (still haven’t got rid of it from last year!) and some advice on what to grow up my climbing rose which only flowers in June – a clematis.

I’m going into the garden tomorrow. I shall plant the roses I bought the other day (small harmless addiction, can’t get enough of them, running out of placing to plant them). I have been so busy of late that my garden has been slightly neglected. There is one bed in particular which is looking very sorry for itself.

Watching GW is enthusing. I really hope we see more of Toby on the show. It spurs my love of gardening and removes the lethargy which bad weather can bring. My garden is my sanctuary. I do it all myself and am never happier than when I am pottering around in it.

Tomorrow, I shall don my gardening gloves (as much as I love the feeling of mud, I have to keep my nails clean for cooking) and do my best to ignore the temptation of the hammock. For a while at least.
Recipe – Salmon, Pea and Mint Fishcakes with Tartar Sauce - Available Soon.