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

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.

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

French Toast Works

It’s hard to please a teenager. Required are: patience, a nonchalance to match his/hers, and an easy readiness to serve up a tasty breakfast at the first hint of willingness – and ample time – to eat it before the inevitable slam of the front door bids a wordless farewell. I seldom possess all of … More French Toast Works

Solstice Sky

A crouching figure stops me from going further. I don’t want to intrude on his sunrise; I retreat a little, and enjoy my own. Birdsong beckons another beautiful day, but Knole’s deer are elsewhere. It’s just me, the crouching stranger, and the sky. A perfectly still summer solstice. The man stands and starts to walk … More Solstice Sky

Simply Tunisian

A glut-gift of turnips together with a Tunisian tip: slice them thinly, coat with harissa, and enjoy raw. My friend promises me that her old Aunt’s method is authentic and good. Turnips are not my top choice of root veg, but they have a strong track record for having sustained people through the ages. Once upon … More Simply Tunisian