Winter blues whispers and prickly tennis balls

The evening light is leaving us, and the nights are growing cold, but colours like these keep winter blues whispers at bay. I find crabapple red. And sweet chestnut green and brown. Pretty for decoration or delicious for dinner. (Just be careful when scuttling over a sweet chestnut carpet. It’s like negotiating carelessly strewn prickly … More Winter blues whispers and prickly tennis balls

Pa amb tomàquet tonight

This evening my eldest son surprised me by making his version of pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato rubbed onto it, an olive oil drizzle, then seasoned) on the eve of the highly-charged and contentious Catalunyan referendum. He was hungry. We enjoyed this in Cambrils in the summer, but first tasted it Andalucían-style (tostada con tomate y … More Pa amb tomàquet tonight

Lovely Luffa

Last year my naive experiment of growing a luffa plant (in the relative cool of Kent) from a seed shaped in the sunshine of sub-Saharan Africa, came to a leaf-withered, sorry-looking nothing (despite having survived a nasty accident with a bike). I was sad. After receiving a lesson in luffas from Bettie in Malawi, I had planted … More Lovely Luffa

Burning Leaves

A blue sky warms leaves as they burn into the new season. A fern breathes in light on the day of the equinox. And there is tension in the air as the rut approaches. Autumn stakes a delicate claim on Knole Park as summer says goodbye.

No Pizza in Tivissa

A perilously narrow road wraps its way tightly round steep mountain curves. Our car breathes with relief at every turn taken, then we brace ourselves for the next one. Higher and deeper inland we go, into the countryside behind Catalunya’s Costa Daurada. It’s a beautiful drive on this hot summer’s day. But it’s (Spanish) lunchtime … More No Pizza in Tivissa

Barri Vell door, Girona

A brief post to show an intriguingly tactile door in the old quarter of Girona in Catalunya (called Barri Vell). An ancient building with a less ancient entrance, displaying an age-old symbol in an area with a long and complex religious history. Was definitely food for thought, but invited a quick snapshot too.      

Con le mani

A blurred picture of the old gent who sits in charge (front of house) at the tiny but perfectly formed Lo Sdrucciolo just around the corner from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Watching us struggling to capture the garlicky tomato mix tumbling from our bruschette al pomodoro, he decides to abandon his accustomed seat by the … More Con le mani

Lunch with Giovanna

The mid-afternoon hour is burning hot, and the busy streets of Florence are stifling, even in the shade. We seek a late lunch, a light bite washed down with something cool. So we slide into the seats of a sheltered café terrace tucked to the side of Borgo degli Albizi. We are alone. Why? Because we … More Lunch with Giovanna

European Gardeners

Just as Brexit discussions are finally commencing in Brussels, four Europeans are executing a complete transformation of our garden, in full blast of a fierce heatwave. They toil determinedly for long hours, sweat trickling in streams down their temples. Cheerful and polite, they unearth and present us with museum pieces from the last century which … More European Gardeners

A Sussex Summer’s Day

This was once a Second World War airfield used to defend the South Coast of England. It saw a huge amount of action (and devastation) throughout the war. Now it’s gone back to its agricultural roots, and huge glasshouses are home to aubergine and pepper plants. There’s a museum too. Best of all are the … More A Sussex Summer’s Day