Rain. Grey. More rain. Not much incentive to go outside.
Thankfully, the good people at Rocket Gardens are a jolly sort and have given us a very good reason to get out, keep fit and assuage our biscuit cravings by doing a spot of gardening.
You see, right now is the perfect time of year to start planting soft fruit in preparation for crumbles, summer puds and jam making.
All you need to do to bag yourself one is tell us your most memorable fruit pie/crumble/pudding experience.
Post your answers below by Monday 26th January and come next autumn, you could be running your very own black market fruit pie operation (with a nice sideline in preserves).
(This competition has now closed.
Congratualtions to Big Tom, Sammy, Karen, Rachael, Susan F, Ian, Soo, Julie Lee, Steph, Emma, Lulu, Stephen Armstrong, Esther, Sarah Bruch, Anita, Ook, Davkt, Simone, Lindsay and Abby Bookham. Gardens on their way to you very very soon).
We're suckers for a bit of wild foraging here at innocent, Ceri and Meera went last week in Wales and Lucy and the girls went last September by the seaside. Our Simon even does it for a living with the help of Carlos, kind of.
So I thought I'd have a crack at it myself on Saturday, but in the heart of London on Hampstead Heath with Andy ( a fungi to be with). Here's my haul which is largely made up of laccaria laccata, or deceivers as Andy likes to call them.
I also found that mushrooms that live on fallen trees and are the same colour as your wellie boots are edible surprisingly.
Spot the mushrooms.
Spot the foragers.
A lovely autumnal day for it.
Please note: Never eat anything you find in the
wild unless you are 110% sure you know what it is, or the
professional you are with is 100% sure. Especially if it lives on
fallen trees and is the same colour as your wellie boots.
here are some ducks. we hope you see something more exciting as a result of this post.
Stuck in London? Need something to do this bank holiday? Well, you could stay in and watch the rain fall whilst eating some biscuits, or if you're feeling a bit more lively you could nip down to the London Wetland Centre.
We like it because it's only a 15 minute jog from Fruit Towers, and because it's a surprising place to find in London. There are 100 acres of beautiful wetlands attracting thousands of wild birds and other wetland wildlife (including 8 species of bat, 7 species of reptile/amphibian and over 500 species of moths and butterflies). You can catch the no. 283 ‘duck bus’ directly to the centre from Hammersmith tube/bus station, and they've got a whole bunch of stuff for kids to do there too.
Of course, if you're still going to stay in and eat biscuits this weekend, you could try it out on Thursday nights until 11th September, when they have fancy BBQs down there, with live music and everything. Or save yourself for their Wild Harvest Weekend (27/28 Sept), when local food will be served and you can learn all about the grub that grows in the wetlands.
If you're not in London, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has eight other wetland centres for you to check out. And if they're too far away, most shops in most towns sell good biscuits 24/7.
When I was younger I firmly believed in the existence of Sasquatch, and the Yeti too. But as I got older, I stopped believing. Recently, whilst up late at night, I chanced upon an episode of Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World and relived the legendary Patterson-Gimlin footage.
I now believe again. Sasquatch is real.
And now back to the mysterious world of whole crushed fruit in a