George Osborne must be licking his lips as enthusiastically as a child let loose in a sweetshop at the news that Jamie Oliver (bless him) is starting a campaign to raise a tax on sugar. Jamie launched his campaign today at Feastival when he whipped up the crowd into a frenzy unequalled since the days of Billy Graham, saying that the money raised by taxing sugar would rescue the NHS and save millions of lives into the bargain. His argument is that obesity is caused by sugar, and that the NHS is creaking under the strain of treating obese and diabetic patients.
Kate Moss was rather mean with her time at Feastival. Several times we saw her charge by at a hundred miles an hour, but she didn’t stop and chat, unlike less nervous guests, such as Paloma Faith. Kate has a farm nearby, with some Damson trees, which produce so much fruit that she’s decided to bring her own brand of Damson jam to market, which she’s called “Kate’s Sweet and Sticky”. She posed with the food writer Gizzi Erskine for some publicity photos with a jar presumably made from last years’ crop. Someone should tell Kate that the Cotswolds is no place to be making Damson jam.
The home of Damsons is of course the Lyth Valley, at the centre of which is the Damson Dene Hotel, where the Damson Society hold all their meetings. She should come to the Lake District one day, and speak to the experts. At the same time we would be more than happy to let her into the secret of making Damson Gin, a few drops of which would maybe encourage her to be less uptight.
This is an exciting time of year, when we get to see what new varieties of Dahlias we’ve produced. At the end of every autumn, when the first frosts have begun to make the plants unsightly, and the flowers are no longer worth picking, I stop de-heading the Dahlias, and start to collect the seeds. The seeds are planted out in the spring and the plants come into flower in July and August. Every one is different, and an entirely new hybrid. The flowers in these photos are from seeds taken from our own Margaret Denby Dahlia (see link) which is a tall plant with unusually large leaves, and a slight scent. Its only disadvantage is that the flowers are singles. These new plants are equally tall, but are doubles. None of them is perfect, but we’ll take cuttings next spring, and see how they turn out. Progress!
The idea of Slow Life is to take the principles of Slow Food, which are “good, clean and fair”, and extend them to life in general.
Here in the Lake District, the air is clean, the pace is slow and the atmosphere is calm. If we don’t grow food ourselves, we can buy it in friendly small shops, where you know the quality is going to be the best.
This blog is a celebration of the Slow Life, with forays into the world of design, music, the arts, gardens, and my particular weakness, Japan.