Goring Beaach June

This week… name dropping Rick Stein, Cecil Beaton and Napoleon

What is it about a celebrity name that grabs a headline? Celebrity status has been around since forever. Rome’s first emperor Caesar Augustus knew the power of endorsement back in ancient Rome, adding his image to coinage that circulated around the vast territories. His personal ‘brand’ mimicked Alexander the Great by adopting an eternally youthful clean-shaven image, with a carefully ruffled ‘fringe’ (or bangs, if you’re a US reader, Hello!). This week the industry has rallied together with their favourite celebrities to entice us all out of lockdown.

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Buckingham Palace Garden

This week… Garden Day UK

While there doesn’t need to be a special reason to enjoy time in a garden, as we tentatively emerge from lockdown, like a bear out of winter hibernation, let’s celebrate with some garden love whether that’s a few acres, a cherished lawn, or a balcony with potted herbs. Gardens and gardening have long been recognised as beneficial to our wellbeing, and even more so in recent times. Digging your hands into the earth and tending a plant is as natural to human beings as breathing, and exposes our bodies to beneficial bacteria. It could be considered one of Maslow’s physiological hierarchy of needs. So to kick off the summer season here’s a round-up of horticultural tidbits to admire and inspire. Happy gardening!

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Cappodocia

This week… Blonde Hedgehogs, blossom and going underground

So the UK begins to unlock again and so far, so good. With 47% of the population having received at least one vaccine dose, the numbers across cases, deaths and hospitalisations continue to fall. It’s early days. After more than a year of this nightmare it doesn’t feel realistic to breathe entirely easy yet, but I dare to hope we’re headed in the right direction. It’s self protection, of course, this caution in letting my dreams get out of hand. The disappointment would be too much to bear, and I don’t want to jinx things. Nonetheless, this week I packed away the heavy winter clothes and switched my wardrobe to lighter items, imagining I was packing for a perfect weekend away.

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This week…firsts

A decidedly mixed week. One minute wild storms, the next brilliant spring sunshine. Activities this week included a virtual visit to Winnipeg for the live launch of the world’s first purpose-built Inuit Art Centre. In between reviewing a new garden book for publication next month and popping into Monmouthshire to meet artisan food producers, I also spent time choosing British cheeses for an Easter family get together on Zoom. Today, Mother’s Day in the UK and spent solo in lockdown, I opened a bottle of bubbly and treated myself to smoked wild salmon and scrambled eggs for brunch. Silver linings.

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This week… sheep stations, Star Wars and sainthood

In the bleak midwinter. January is cold and damp in the UK. It’s my least favourite month and I’m always relieved when the 31st comes around. There are signs of spring in nature like the catkins, daffodils and snowdrops I spot on my walks, and the days are noticeably getting longer, if not any warmer. The pandemic continues to sweep across the planet and every day the sun comes up and sets again at night, and I’m grateful. Period.

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