Not many people know it, but England won the World Cup last year- the Gardening World Cup that is.
This year the competition is even more fierce, with gardeners from all five continents taking part. Last year’s winner, Andy Sturgeon, is taking a rest this year as a competitor, but is returning as a judge. His place as the senior English competitor is taken by Sarah Eberle who won her 8th RHS gold medal at Chelsea this year with her stunning Monaco garden.
I’m very proud to have been chosen as the other English competitor and I’m going to take a slice of the Lake District to Japan with a garden which will feature a Cumbrian Dabbin.
An intrepid reporter Hannah Lomas wrote a piece about last year’s event and took the footballing metaphor to its furthest extreme by calling me “The David Beckham of Gardening”. I hope we have as much fun this year.
There was a most entertaining discussion on a Radio 4 programme called Terrible Food in which Jonathan McGowan, an amateur taxidermist, described how he fed his (unsuspecting) guests a meal of spaghetti bolognese which he had made from owl meat. The owls were a Tawny and a Barn which he had found as road kill. Unfortunately, he didn’t include a recipe, but he might have enjoyed the following:
How to Cook a Chub:
“There is only one way to cook a chub and that is to lay him on a board and scale and gut him. Then carefully bury the body and cook the board”.
- From “With Rod and Line in and Around Gloucestershire” by ‘Tight Lines’ 1937
How to Cook a Cormorant:
“After dousing the bird in petrol and setting it on fire, burying it for a fortnight, then boiling in salt water, applying a paste of methylated spirit and curry powder and roasting in a hot oven for three hours, throw it away and then not even a starving vulture would eat it”
- From “Countryman’s Cooking”, W.M.W. Fowler 1965
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, not mine”
Is Gloria the best rock song of all time? The original Gloria was written and recorded by Van Morrison in 1964 when he was the lead singer with Them. There is a famous and very dirty cover by The Doors. But Patti Smith’s version, with the opening line, added by herself, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” has to be the best. I can’t find a video of her singing the song when she was in her prime, 30 years before, but if the Jools Holland version is anything to go by it must have been amazing.
This song is crying out for a revival. It needs the power of a Hammond organ backing and two dynamic female lead singers- in other words The Heroes of She.