SUMMER OF RAIN, RAIN, RAIN. AND TALK, TALK, TALK…

Rain. Rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain. Sunshine . . . oh no, it’s rain. Rain. Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain. Rainrainrainrainrainrainrainrainrainrainrainrainrain. Rain…

 …did I mention rain?

Been a while since I wrote a post, having recently graduated things have been a little hectic. But in my absence it’s pretty much just been rain. And more rain. If our Spring was crap, this summer so far has been rubbish! Seems like all the rain we didn’t have over autumn and winter has been falling in the last couple of months, and although the weather has finally warmed up a bit, things in the garden are still growing ever so slowly. Naturally, the hardy crops that are radishes, turnips and beetroots are doing well, impervious to the weather, but the tomato plants, planted out over six weeks ago, are still tiny, apart from those in the greenhouse, and the same goes for the runner beans which are clearly struggling, and the cucumbers and pumpkins which are clearly dying. Meanwhile the pigeons have devoured the kale. The broad beans and peas came to an abrupt end after finally giving a decent crop, and the onions, shallots and garlic are mostly ready to harvest, and we best do so before they rot in the wet soil. Following from my previous post, in spite of the bad weather, we have managed to make the most of it, but it’s still been crap for what’s meant to be summer, even by UK standards.

I never used to check the weather report until I started getting involved with gardening, but five-day forecasts, such those on the BBC website, are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, as the forecast for any given day will change frequently, from sunny to grey, and raining, and back to sunny again, until the day arrives and we find they still got it wrong. Weather forecasts are bound to feature great margins of error (probably more so than any other industry would tolerate), but five-day forecasts are usually so inaccurate and changeable that the weather boffins may as well just say “we don’t know” and save everyone the trouble, although those words are almost taboo in the world of science – many people with PhDs (and many more without) these days would rather talk utter nonsense for an hour than admit they don’t know something.

On the plus side, the hosepipe ban has been lifted (hooray), not that many people knew or cared about it in the first place – my housemates it seems are incapable of turning off a tap properly, let alone deal with water conservation. The ban did, however, motivate me to improve our rainwater recycling system, which now has two large barrels which can be filled in the space of just one or two days of rain.

Also as a bonus the garden is (over)watering itself at the moment, which is handy (when it’s not killing the plants) as I’ve started a new job which requires me to be out of London on some weekends. This is fortunate, as the people who offered to help out over the summer have (unsurprisingly) yet to turn up; seemingly deciding that making a hollow commitment was the same as keeping it. Maybe it’s the rain, in which case I hope these non-helpers have finally had an epiphany and realized that gardening is an outdoor activity, and also that gardens, unlike their laptops and Ipods, do not come with a standby mode. Being mainly student-run, it’s only natural that most of our volunteers go away for the summer, and I don’t hold that against them. What I do mind is someone who says they will help and then don’t – a simple ‘no’ from the start would be much more helpful, letting me know exactly where they stand, as opposed to giving me false assurances.

Sadly, someone in the past few weeks has been accessing the garden with a key and yet been unable to show the mental skill to lock the gate properly behind them. This is both deplorable and depressing, considering that said person is (a) most likely a university student, (b) happy to access the garden but not to help out, (c) putting the whole project at risk through their inherent sloppiness. With projects like community gardens, all it takes is one careless or selfish cretin to ruin it for everyone else, failing to water the garden when they said they would, treating the garden as a free food market (putting aside their high morals just long enough to help themselves), and unable to tell when a gate is locked (here’s a clue: slide the bolt into the adjacent slot before locking the padlock).

I have found over the past year that those who talk the most about organic perma-culture are often the very same who never help in the garden, and yet some still expect to have access to it, wanting the privileges without the responsibilities. They have all the books, attend all the lectures and protests, sign every petition, and give it a lot of lip . . . but they have yet to plant a single seed. All the gear and no idea. And then to add insult to injury, they leave the gate unlocked. They may be a minority, but like I said, all it takes is one cretin to ruin everything.

What I admire about the people who helped out over the past year (and who will run the garden next year), is that most of them did so simply out of interest, coming when they could, making no false promises, and just keen to learn or to enjoy the outdoors, taking a break from their studies. This is much preferable to the sanctimonious “I only buy organic” types who generally only turn up for lunch and when the sun is shinning. It is ironic that it is the former group who will hopefully ensure the garden continues next year and learn much in the process, while the latter will just keep on talking, and talking, and talking, their elephant talk as ceaseless as the rain.

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GARDEN NOTES: A Crappy Spring and the Myth of Seasons

Well, after such a warm-ish winter I guess one had to get payback. Spring so far in the UK has not been so much of a BOING as a PLOP; it’s still quite cold and the recent rain has been beyond excessive, reaching the level of being just boring. Even on the occasional sunny day the air has still been cold and the nights positively chilly. This is more than just an annoyance. For weeks now I’ve been waiting to transplant our tomato plants into the beds, and while the broad bean plants are growing fast, the lack of bees mean they are not being pollinated, leaving the beanless flowers to fade in the wet. The peas we planted last month have been growing ridiculously slowly, and I’m also concerned about the garlic and onions getting too much water, hoping they don’t start rotting in the soil. On the plus side we have planted the spinach and beetroot (albeit they too are not growing much), and we’ve planted some chili and tomato plants under small plastic greenhouses. The radishes are growing fairly impervious to the weather (good old radish, the short angry hard man of the garden world), as well as the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes we are growing in sacks and tyres, and the rhubarb is still giving good. We’ve also received our new water barrel to connect to the shed roof to collect more rainwater – admittedly this has not been particularly necessary lately, but London is still officially in a drought. The rain unfortunately is probably only going to encourage Mr-A-Hole-who-washes-his-car-with-a-hosepipe-during-a-ban to only do so all the more, even if the recent downpour has not come even close to refilling the region’s water supplies.

I am of course unfairly comparing this spring to the spring of last year, which felt like summer while this year’s is one of the coldest on record. As I mentioned in the very first post I did for this blog, we should avoid falling into the trap of thinking there is any such thing as a normal season. In any case, where do these ‘normal’ seasons come from? Can anyone remember a season in any recent year that was consistently normal?

To some extent the notion of normal seasons comes through selective memory. I used to think that my childhood winters were always snow-covered, but the truth is I probably only remember those few days in winter when it did snow, as I associate them with happy memories of throwing snowballs and making snowmen, while the non-snowy days have naturally faded from memory. Similarly, when I think back to particularly good summers, I tend to remember just the two or three weeks of decent weather that year, perhaps backed-up with the memory of a sunny barbecue. All in all, I wonder how much of our perception of normal seasons is based on nostalgia, including scenes from classic movies or chapters from Enid Blyton books (I mean the Famous Five, not Noddy, that would be weird).

Ah, you might say, but what about seasonal averages? Once again, it is not unreasonable to suggest that normal seasons only exist on paper, based on averages. If in a ten year period you have five unusually cold winters and five unusually warm winters, these may average out as a ten year period of normal winters (though I would hope the clever weather boffins at the top take these things into account), that’s the nature of averages. The last four winters in the UK, for example, have all been way off the seasonal averages (either too hot or too cold), at what point should we stop thinking of these as abnormal occurrences?

Then again, we shouldn’t blame the experts, the weather people themselves just work with the stats, it’s their job to work out averages – it’s our fault for then interpreting these averages as equating some mythical ‘normal’ season. This is all very fine for trivial conversation which we Brits are so good at, the problem comes when parts of the economy starts relying on the seasonal weather remaining ‘normal’. The real crime of perpetrating the myth of seasons is when we create unreasonable expectations, such as expecting good harvests each year based on this ‘normal’ seasonal weather. The UK weather is like the modern-day economy, in that both are volatile and changeable but also full of people who think they can predict them. And of course a bad harvest these days is no big problem, but for the unfortunate farmers who go bankrupt. While in the past a bad harvest meant a winter of hunger or possibly famine, now it simply means having to import more food from elsewhere. How lucky we are! But the downside is that this safety measure has made us increasingly careless about the food we grow in this country and our understanding of the seasons.

I don’t know anything about farming, so I can’t comment on that, but as far as growing food in gardens goes we ought to just accept that the UK weather is volatile and always has been. Normal seasons are a myth! At the risk of sounding naive, let’s just be grateful for what we get each year, rather than complain about what we should get based on seasonal averages.

BOING!!! Spring in the Air!

Been very busy lately with writing my dissertation and exam revisions, but of course like Bruce Wayne’s batphone when the garden calls it cannot be ignored. As a result, what with the nice weather we’ve had lately, I’m possibly one of the few final year university students in the country to have a tan.

We’ve been sowing seeds in trays over the past few weeks, in the hope of transplanting them in late April. BUT that (CENSORED) of a mouse Jerry has been digging into the seed-sowing trays, eating the peas, pumpkin and cucumber seeds. I have recently installed hanging trays in the shed in the hope that Jerry can’t get to them, and laid yet more traps to catch him once and for all. Failing that I am thinking of taking out a contract with a hit-mouse, or perhaps hiring some mousenaries to hunt him down (the jokes just keep getting worse).

To prepare for planting we have been mulching the empty beds using plastic sheets, especially covering last year’s fallow bed after turning the soil over, which will resume service this month, leaving last year’s beetroot bed to lie fallow this year.

In preparation for sowing we also completely rebuilt the old garden hot-box for seedlings, making it sturdier than ever, in the hope of freeing up shelf-space in the shed. To be extra flash we added a frontal window to the box so that it would make the most of the morning sunlight. Foam pipe insulators were added help seal the edges of the perspex lid, but can be removed to provide extra ventilation.

Although it has been getting sunnier lately it the weather remains quite cold. But still, it is good to see the winter come to an end. We did some good work over the winter, especially taking satisfaction in doing some proper manual work with hammer and nails, repairing the compost bins, the shed door and the beds, and rebuilding the hot box. Speaking for myself, these are the kind of jobs that you just feel like staring at once you are done, taking pride in the fact you have built something with your own hands.

But now is Spring and a time for planting! We so far have beetroot, peas and tomato plants growing in pots, ready to transplant in the near future. We have also sown some carrots, cauliflowers and peppers, and resown some more pumpkin and cucumber seeds (hopefully Jerry-proofed). Because we use soil made on-site from compost, we noticed that the resulting soil is not quite suitable for sowing. The large chicken wire sifter we usually use produces soil that is suitable for the garden beds, but still too lumpy for the delicate little seeds we were sowing in tiny trays. Fellow CG member Leonardo tried sifting the soil in a pasta strainer, but it proved too laborious. Inspired by his attempt, we finally resolved the problem by leaving some soil to dry in the shed and then sifting it through a straw hat we had in the shed. It produces a fine powdery soil that is perfect for the sowing trays.

I have to confess that in spite of taking on a second undergraduate degree and agreeing in my final year to run a community garden, I am actually a rather lazy person at heart. Today being Easter Sunday, opening the garden as usual, I was expecting it to be a solo effort, and I was fully prepared to sit by the rocket stove for four hours drinking nettle tea and eating hot-cross buns with jam. Luckily the unexpected arrival of three CG members encouraged me to get off my ass and organize doing some work. And so today we sifted some more soil, drew up a watering rota, did a little weeding, replanted the yarrow and marshmallow plants in the ‘med bed’ and sowed more seeds in trays – leeks, artichoke, and “Japanese huh?” . . . I should explain. Over the past few weeks, workers at a nearby Japanese restaurant have been kindly donating some of their organic vegetable waste for our compost bin (thank you very much – どうもありがとう!). Earlier this week one of them came by with more compost, as well as a small tray of seeds for me. She mentioned the Japanese name of the edible plant the seeds came from, which I repeated to myself three times in order to memorize it and then promptly forgot. And so today I sowed some of these seeds in a tray, and for the time being have decided to call them “Japanese, huh?” until such a time I can identify it.

With that kind of attention to detail, it’s a miracle that anything grows here, but all in all we seem to be doing quite well. Thank God it’s Spring.

Happy Easter!

GARDEN PHILOSOPHY: The Garden versus Nature (and phoney nature-lovers)

For those who might have been worrying about the mouse in the garden shed and my attempts to catch it, you can rest easy for now. So far, if anything, that mouse has been making a fool out of me. While there likely may be more than one mouse, I shall think of them as just the one, and call it Jerry, in honour of the fact it is making me look like a right Tom.

To catch Jerry I bought some mouse traps of the killing kind, from a reputable company who shall remain nameless as their product, it turns out, is rather mediocre. These mouse traps are supposedly ready-baited with pieces of yellow plastic that apparently look like cheese to the mice. I was suspicious of this wonder gimmick, as setting a piece of bread on a mouse trap is not exactly rocket science, but I couldn’t find more basic traps anywhere. If anything, I figured the pathetic cartoon-looking piece of cheese on the traps might make Jerry die of laughter.

Unsurprisingly, the plastic cheese attracted nothing. I then began setting food on top of the plastic cheese, such as pieces of flapjack or pork pie. I would return the following day to find the food gone, but the traps otherwise undisturbed. Clearly Jerry is one agile little mouse! This has failed several times, even after securing the food tightly on the trap. Hence so far, all I have succeeded in doing is to feed Jerry.

Some may wonder, why be so cruel? Why not use humane mouse traps and release it someplace else? At the risk of offending some readers, humane mouse traps only suit people who are either in denial, own a pet snake, or are willing to make the mouse someone else’s problem.

Leaving aside the snake owners, some seem to think that upon being released in a forest or park, a mouse will rejoice at being given the opportunity to live a long and contended life in the heart of nature with its animal friends, when in fact the mouse will probably get devoured by one of its bigger ‘friends’, unless it rapidly manages to find another house to move into, at which point it becomes someone else’s problem. Mice live in human habitats for the same reasons humans do, namely shelter, safety, warmth and relative comfort. Just like you won’t find many humans willing to move out of their house to go live in the forest, most mice would also be a little pissed off at having it forced upon them.

Many urban-based nature-lovers have a somewhat Disney-fied idea of what nature is. They imagine an enchanted forest with golden rays of sunlight shinning through the branches, birds singing in tune as they whirl in the air, squirrels play acting like happy children, funny little ants busily working away in rhythm, while the trees all sway in unison as they join in the magical dance of nature. This misconception can easily be remedied by spending two or three days camping out in a forest in the rainy season, but the above mentioned nature-lovers would probably never do such a thing, as forests lack certain basic essentials, such as a roof, four walls, fitted kitchen, power sockets, central heating, wifi…

Don’t get me wrong, I do love nature, and I have spent quite a few rainy nights sleeping out in a forest with nothing but a tarp for shelter (cold and miserable yet strangely contented), but I have to somewhat leave those thoughts aside when I’m in the garden. Organic gardening still requires turning over soil, ripping up weeds, chasing off pigeons and squirrels, disposing of slugs and greenflies and other pests. Those who disagree with me are usually the same who don’t do any gardening but are still willing to eat what gardeners produce. This year I have easily killed thousands of greenflies, squashing them with my thumb, and I won’t lose sleep over them. I kill slugs by stepping on them or feeding them to the birds; some people may find this cruel, but I find it preferable to blanket spraying the garden with pesticides to kill everything, pest or not. Gardening, even organic, is not an exercise in nature loving; it requires some degree of ruthlessness as the gardener firmly dictates what can and cannot grow in a particular patch, and punishes little trespassers of the rodent or bug kind. I’m trying to discuss this idea without going down the path of mentioning extreme (and anthropomorphistic) animal rights, but the ideas are relatively similar. I certainly won’t torture the slug to get information from it (“Who sent you? Who do you work for?! We have ways of making you talk!”), but neither will I ponder over its rights to live, start a family, have access to free education and a pension for when it retires. It’s a slug.

Similarly, while I have been growing fond of Jerry’s antics, I’m not going to let him poo in the shed, or dig holes into our pumpkins, and neither am I willing to do the cowardly thing by moving him to become someone else’s problem. I’ll be a big boy about it, get my hands dirty and deal with him myself. That’s the real way of nature, it’s not an overly-friendly place, feel free to disagree.

Then again, for the time being, Jerry is winning this particular battle. I expect him anytime soon to drop an anvil on my head and set my foot on fire, before setting Spike the bulldog after me to run me out of the garden.

GARDEN NOTES: Confessions, onions and pumpkin soup

Bloody hell, we got a lot done today!

First, however, I have a small confession to make. For about a month I really thought I had cocked-up the whole garden plan, having planted the winter veg without taking into account the need to rotate the crops. Yup, I was worried, as I realised that I had planted the broad beans in last summer’s bean bed, the chard was still where it had been this summer, and the only available bed left to plant onions and garlic was . . . well, you get the idea.

Luckily, a bit of jigging around and all was well again. Last week, as we harvested the last leeks from the onion bed, it left it free for us to transplant the broad bean seedlings there, also planting a few more that we had growing in a tray in the shed. Then, this week, having harvested the turnips and the last of the radishes, it freed up that bed into which we could move the chard. The turnips, by the way, were a complete failure, barely growing to the size of a fingernail. Perhaps I just planted them a little too late in the year, although I would have thought that the unusually warm weather this autumn would have more than made up for that. I guess I was wrong!

With both beans and chard out of said bed, we finally had a new space to plant white onions, garlic and shallots. While all this was going on today, the stove was burning away as we prepared our first on-site pumpkin soup of the season. Roshan chopped up our smallest pumpkin which we then boiled and mashed, adding in a chopped red onion and a yam that we happened to have handy. The soup was a little too salty to my taste, so I sweetened it with a little apple and cinnamon jam I made last summer. It turned out delicious and went down well with our work team. As for the seeds I put some aside to dry – ready to plant next spring – and the rest I pan fried with a little oil and am munching on right now as I write this post.

As a final bonus, the compost bins have now been repaired and are more solid than ever, set for at least another three years. With the end of term approaching and the cold weather (finally) coming in, it is good to know that all these jobs are now done and we are more or less on seasonal track. Just three months ago I remember wondering just how we were going to fill all that space in the beds over the winter, and now we’ve pretty much got most of the garden beds with something on the go, so we must be doing something right.

COMPOST: A fine line between talking waste and talking shit

 At CG we naturally love compost, and most of our soil comes from our own three-section compost bin where we put both plants and kitchen waste. But one has to be sensible about what goes in, such as making sure that meat or cooked food doesn’t slip through, unless you want to attract every rodent in the neighbourhood. Rotting food and compost waste are not the same thing. Many a bag of kitchen waste donated to us has been spoilt by the the presence of meat, bread, pasta, etc. It is neither good for the compost, nor is it pleasant to pull out when we do find it in the compost.

When making compost, a good balance needs to be struck between soft and hard waste. If you only put in kitchen slop, you will end up with a big pile of yucky poo, to quote the technical term. If you just put in brown sticks, you will end up with a pile of wood, pure and simple. Neither is particularly useful or practical for the purposes of making compost. So balance is the key. Some smaller brown materials, such as dried plants, leaves and thin twigs can be added to thicken the mix, but what you don’t want is a whole load of brown sticks and branches being added, as these will simply sit there for months if not years and clog up the compost. You could always use them as firewood and then add the ashes to the compost, but just make sure that you only add in wood ash, and not coal ash which is not good for compost. Green wood from tree branches can be added to the compost, but you need to chop and snap it into smaller pieces first and bury it in the compost where the constant moisture and warmth will help break it down. If you just leave whole green branches on top of the compost, the green wood will simply dry out and then you’re stuck with the wood problem again.

On one occasion, while turning over the compost, I noticed that it stank to high heaven. This apparently is one such indicator that the compost waste is unbalanced – too much kitchen waste and not enough green and brown materials. I hence collected a load of weeds, grass and leaves, adding them into the mix. Also, having just pruned one of the trees in the garden, I added in the green branches, chopped up into tiny pieces. These materials helped absorb the excess moisture, and within 24 hours the smell was gone, even after turning the compost over again.

In the absence of urinals in the garden, we do on occasion have a little wee-wee on the compost heap, to use another technical term, as the nitrogen content of urine is beneficial to the compost (in moderation). But that’s where we stop. Someone did ask me once about the self-sufficiency benefits of using excrement for agriculture, citing that in feudal Japan, human waste was considered a highly prized form of fertilizer (due to them not having much livestock on their land, hence not much manure). The trouble with that theory is that while the inhabitants of ancient Japan ate a very healthy diet of vegetables and some fish, what we eat these days creates a form of waste that is not comparable. In any case, leaving feudal Japan aside, one generally ought to make a clear difference between manure and poo. Think of manure as a form of fertilizer that partly comes from the carefully selected or treated waste produced by certain animals, usually herbivores, such as cows. On the other hand, think of poo as a bacteria-ridden health hazard that comes out of most humans and household pets. You can use the former to grow vegetables; you can use the latter to inadvertently create a typhoid epidemic that could wipe out half of Northern Europe. It’s a subtle distinction, I know, but an important one.

The use of kitchen waste, believe it or not, was a recent source of debate at Common Ground, as one of our members raised the issue that non-organic kitchen waste should not go into the compost bin. Their argument had some basis to it, saying that we should maintain the organic rule in every aspect of the garden, but I had my reservations. So we had a discussion about it in one of our recent committee meetings. My arguments against only having organic waste were as follows:

1) The rule had never been properly adhered to in the past, so much so that I wasn’t even aware of it until that other member mentioned it.

2) The rule is difficult to enforce, short of creating a squad of compost cops.

3) The presence of residual pesticide and fertilizer in non-organic kitchen waste is marginal, probably no greater than similar contamination through the air and tap water.

4) The earnest intentions of the rule have little to do with the reality of gardening in Central London. The production of good compost, essential to the garden, is slow enough without starting to restrict what kind of vegetables and fruits can go in.

5) The rule goes against the community spirit of the garden, I for one felt that turning people away for bringing the wrong kind of compost sent out the wrong message. (Honestly, how shitty would that be?).

I’m glad to say that other members present at the meeting agreed with me and we voted against making the compost heap organic-only. Democracy in action, ladies and gentlemen! This small incident does however raise a more serious issue about the difference between the garden’s vocal idealists and the doers. Without wanting to sound too harsh, in my time tending to the CG garden I have often had to listen to the opinions of people who tell me what I should be doing but who are not willing to come and do it themselves. This doesn’t just concern the garden, but all aspect of life; as an old colleague of mine used to say: it may sound good but it looks better. In this media and internet fuelled world, it seems that everyone has an opinion about everything and feels the need to share it with everyone else. Some refer to it as the democratization of society. I think of it more as the proliferation of hot air – everybody talking and nobody listening. While I can’t do much about the way the world is going, I can at least instill a simple rule in the garden: first show that you are willing to do, and then we can start discussing ideas.

If ideas, hollow talk and empty words were fertile, we would no longer need a compost heap.

GARDEN NOTES: Radishes and Finding Peace in a Tidy Shed

It has finally started getting cold recently, though still mild for late November. The meadow near where I live still gives a few blackberries, and the absence of frost has meant that sloes are still thriving in places (all the more for me!).

We recently harvested most of our radishes and leeks, all very delicious. It is only later, as I was chomping on a radish that I realised that they were the first thing harvested from the garden that I had grown entirely myself from decision to harvest. So there’s hope for me yet! Work has started on repairing the fencing for the compost area, but that might take a while to do it properly and in sections, as I would preferably avoid having to move that muck more than once. Franco came by with a tray of planted broad beans to keep in the shed until they sprout, to add to those we planted a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking of the shed, on another triumphant note, it is now tidy(ish). The garden tools are hanging on the wall so they don’t get tangled with other items on the floor, all the wood and stove materials are tidied together in one box and the hay sack has been tied up tightly so it takes up less room. We’ve even gone to the extreme and arranged our books onto a bookshelf. I moved one of the garden benches into the shed for seating, and the table is relatively clear of crap (just needs a wipe), ready to prepare food on it. With that done, the shed has never quite looked so inviting and homely before. They say that English men become increasingly attached to their garden sheds as they get older, and I can now somewhat understand why. That little structure is more than a tool cupboard, it is a refuge from the outside world.

Last Monday after a long morning of lectures, feeling tired and weary, I went into the now tidy shed and ate some lunch, consisting of a pork pie from a shop, but accompanied by pickled onions, pickled cucumbers and pickled eggs that I made myself. It was my first time trying them; the cucumber and onions were nice but a bit strong, my fault for not sweetening the vinegar, but the egg was perfect (if I do say so myself), tasting just like the kind you would find in a traditional English pub (if such a thing still exists). Altogether, this was one of the most satisfying meals I have ever had, a hearty English lunch in a cold but well lit shed, all the better for most of it having been homemade. I then unrolled a mat on the shed floor and lay down for a nap. Although it was cold outside, I slept very comfortably for a good hour, and was woken up by the rustling of a mouse (something else I need to deal with). All that was missing – at the risk of being picky-picky – was a hot cup of tea for when I woke up.

Perhaps it is not so much a sense of refuge that I get in the shed, but more one of peaceful simplicity. With all the bells and whistles that surround us daily, there’s not many places left in Central London where you can find a little peace.

Now to deal with that mouse…

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