1) Andy Sturgeon is really really nice (sort of guessed that already, but turns out I was right)
2) It’s amazing how you don’t notice the rain and cold of a British August when you’re high on adrenaline and caffeine and have a radio transmitter velcroed to your upper thigh
3) Being filmed for the telly is not quite as terrifying as I thought it would be
So a TV crew came yesterday to film me and my ‘edible London’ garden for a show that’s going to be on in November and the lovely Andy was presenter. Naturally, being August, it rained so everything looked wet, but I’m hoping they can do amazing things with the wonders of television. And, obviously, being a publicity-hungry media hack, I’ll be letting any reader(s) of this blog know exactly when it’ll be on when I do.
Now, when I’ve finished pulling up all those plastic aubergine plants, I’m off to that darkened room…
Something very exciting/deeply terrifying is about to happen, in a garden kind of way, over the next couple of days. I can’t say what it is yet because I’m too busy a) panicking b) snipping and deadheading and c) secretly wondering if I could get away with buying a packet of runner beans from Sainsbury’s and tying them onto my runner bean wigwam with fishing line.
‘I’m too busy to eat!’ I shouted at D when she suggested that a 6-month pregnant woman who’s spent all day tying things in while standing on a chair should probably have lunch.
All will be clear by Monday afternoon (when I’ll be resting in a darkened room)…
Just goes to show – you slave away long enough building woodland enclosures for UKTV Gardens daytime and writing features for Kitchen Garden magazine in which you show how an electric drill can bring a whole new exciting spin to the kitchen (if I remember correctly, making holes in potatoes and stuffing them with carrots) and you get the new main presenting gig on Gardener’s World.
All you budding gardening presenters out there unafraid to bounce around in a red sweatshirt with the logo Garden Invasion (or some such) on it, to wax lyrical over a shower curtain as an exciting al fresco feature and to concoct over-exuberant pretend team rivalry with another presenter in a different brightly coloured sweatshirt, take heart!! You too could eventually be presiding over the Long Border.
Good luck, Toby, at least you’re not the BFG.
Last year I wrote a Sunday Telegraph column about how my Autumn Bliss raspberries tasted really disappointing – ‘like diluted fruit squash wrapped in cellulose’ – prompting a Mr Chris Stephens to email in defence of their taste, adding, incidentally, that ‘Your description of the 2007 as “the great raspberry washout” is way over the top and typical of today’s media’. Obviously, he’s right about the last bit (I rather like being ‘typical of today’s media’, as though talking about my raspberries is akin to exaggerating global warming), but it turns out he might be right about the taste too.
So there I’d been kicking along thinking home-grown British strawberries, raspberries and blueberries weren’t quite as sweet as those you could buy in the shops, and it turns out there was a simple explanation. I’ve been picking them too soon.
My partner has been wise to this habit for some time, barricading the secateurs in a locked box and clutching the salad spinner at my approach as if it were a small child in the encroaching shadow of a military tank. But I just can’t help myself. Even after five years of this growing your own lark, I get so excited that anything’s actually grown (which to be fair, it rarely has) that I snip any fruit off the minute it turns from green to… any colour at all.
Thwarted in my hasty culling by the fact I’ve been hundreds of miles away on holiday for the past two weeks, the raspberries and blueberries had actually been allowed to ripen properly. And, a revelation, it turns out they’re absolutely blooming amazingly sweet and fantastic. Very probably the finest thing man has ever eaten. It’s the great raspberry and blueberry bonanza of 2008!! And obviously I would never exaggerate.