This week… pumpkins, previews and Philadelphia

If you are one of many who feel dismay at turning the clocks back to give us an extra hour of annus horribilis 2020, just bear in mind that it will take Horological Conservators over 40 hours to adjust Her Majesty’s mechanical clocks this weekend.

This includes 450 of the finest historic timepieces, musical clocks, astronomical clocks, miniature clocks and turret clocks, at Windsor Castle, 600 at Buckingham Palace and 50 at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. I’ll never complain again about faffing with the kitchen clock, the digital bedside piece and the clock in the car, the latter often left rebeliously one hour behind for months.

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This week… wellies, weather and wild food

This week I pulled on a sweater and my wellies and headed out into the Hampshire countryside around Winchester. Despite muddy ground underfoot the ethereal autumn sunlight danced on the surface of the River Itchen. I never tire of exploring this ancient countryside in the footsteps of Iron Age and Roman peoples. The city was subsequently the medieval capital of England and is surely a candidate for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amongst this green and pleasant land I can breathe deeply and it literally goes to my head, as surely as a glass of vintage champagne.

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This week… Tarzan, treehouses, and traceability

News of a new luxury treehouse resort drops into my inbox this week. The Treeful Treehouse Eco Resort is set to open next spring in rural Nago, on the north side of Okinawa Island in Japan, one of the world’s Blue Zone Regions. Think secluded private rooms with air conditioning, nestled amongst the jungle canopy. Tarzan never had it this good.

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Interview: Honey Master Sommelier

The quality of the food we eat is critical to our health and wellbeing and supporting independent growers, farmers and producers is essential for sustainable living. This month I asked Gruffydd Rees, a beefarmer since 2010, why single-origin honey is so important, and what makes it taste so good.


Food fraud is big business. Generally, it’s the foods that we pay the most for that are most at risk of fraudulent practices. Foods such as coffee, olive oil, wine, and honey. While single-estate wines are not new there has also been a rise in independent specialist coffee roasters, offering beans from single-estate growers. Traceability is important, not only with regard to quality but to ensure fair prices and best practices, and blended products don’t offer that reassurance.

So when it comes to the honey you drizzle over your breakfast porridge, you want one that’s not only full of taste but is produced sustainably from a reputable source.

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This week… bags, birds and The Beatles

I filed copy on two features this week, the first on wine and the second on coffee. Both were fun to do (sitting around tasting wine and coffee, what’s not to like!). Also, delving deep into a subject is right up my street. I like to tell myself it’s my natural journalistic skills but it’s probably more a case of being just plain nosey.

I’ve become fascinated by terroir, the magical combination of temperature, climate, soil composition and production methods, that impacts on wine, food and, yes, coffee. Fresh authentic seasonal food, produced sustainably and prepared simply.

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