Wild Food: Foraging on Cowdray Estate

While man has foraged for food since time began, in the mid 20th century before pre-commerical snacks and fast food had been invented, it was also a given that you searched the hedgerows for juicy autumn blackberries, elderberries, hazlenuts, windfall apples and plums. During my childhood eating nose to tail, and field to plate, was the everyday, rather than the trend. Food tastes so good when you’ve grown it or foraged for it.

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This week… bling, boats and broken biscuits

You know how news bulletins always end with a ‘feel-good’ story? Well, this week I’m opening by shining a light on positive news, inspired by the contents of incoming emails recently focusing on paying it forward. Sometimes we’re not in a position to repay a kindness directly but a time will come, in the near or distant future, when we’re able to pass on that goodwill to another, and possibly in a different form. It might be as simple as passing on a theatre ticket you’re not able to use or a voucher for a complimentary coffee. It always lights up my day when it happens to me and I enjoy paying it forward when the opportunity presents itself.

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Interview: Tom Savano

Are you sitting comfortably? It’s story-telling time.

Tom Savano had time on his hands. As a business entrepreneur, he enjoyed the good things in life that he had worked hard to achieve. But, in time, Savano tended to avoid places where the affluent set gathered to party in summer, or rendezvous in winter.

Travelling for its own sake wasn’t part of his natural character. Living for experiences rather than to accumulate trappings he began to seek out new and authentic cultures.

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This week… life’s a balancing act

I think it’s safe to say that by now I’m totally confused. This number has gone down, that one has gone up. Wear a mask here, but not there. Travel to this country but not that one. Quarantine, no quarantine, and, yes, hello quarantine, again. Some people are back at work, some are simply refusing to give up working from home and many are losing their jobs (including a family member this week). It’s a mad house. I watch reruns of the Bourne film series and take myself off to the beach (safely, of course).

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This week… adjusting

This week my mind has been decidedly on food. I grew up eating fruit and vegetables my dad grew in the garden, supplemented by produce shared by the community. One person in the neighbourhood might have an abundance of Victoria plums and another a plentiful supply of rhubarb, and as children we were encouraged to fill our baskets. We gathered nuts and berries from hedgerows, collected windfall apples (while watching out for dozy wasps, drunk on fermented apple juice) and went scrumping for cherries (keeping an eye out for the irate farmer). I cannot recall where that last scavenge took place but in the spirit of making amends, I apologise. What can I say, I was only around seven or eight and the luscious, ruby red, low-hanging cherries were too much of a temptation.

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This week… escape from lockdown

So the UK is more or less out of lockdown. It feels weird. Or rather it’s a strange experience trying to revert back to life-as-usual. After over 100 days of lockdown the world has turned and it feels we’re like waking up in another dimension altogether. Stepping outside your front door and picking up where you left off simply isn’t an option. This week I visit the dentist for a check-up and the experience leaves me a little shaken, I have to admit.

Despite a careful process of masks, face shields, sanitiser and more, lying captive in the dentist’s chair with someone inches from my face, after weeks of isolaton, is a little scary. This is the new reality. We have reemerged from hibernation and the goal posts have moved. I wonder if Cinderella felt this way after 100 years of slumber?

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