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

24 hours in London – chat, clues and comedy

By the time we reach the River Thames, No. 2 has taught me everything I need (or want) to know about sharks (we’ve been travelling for just 35 minutes). A chill wind whips up, so I tug my scarf tighter. My son stands at the river’s edge, moving breezily on to the subject of the seals which (apparently) splash in the murky dark depths below us. So start … More 24 hours in London – chat, clues and comedy