Thoughts from September 2008

get knitting


Call up some friends, crack out the biccies and throw the knitting event of the century. We've just added a whole host of downloadable resources to the big knit area of the website. We've got invites to knit-ins to send your friends, a customisable hatometer, downloadable posters and enough patterns to keep you purling for ages.

if you go down to the woods today...

You might bump into Yun.


If you happen to go to a wood in West Wales that is.


Yun is a forager who sources wild food for everyone from top restaurants across the land to the Queen herself, and Meera and I were lucky enough to go on a foraging walk with him at The Do Lectures last week.


We didn't find any mushrooms but in a 30 minute walk, Yun taught us some fascinating stuff.

Stuff like young blackberry leaves taste like blackberries if you chew them (sort of like Nature's very own Willy Wonka style product)

That crab apples are great for jam making (as they contain a natural source of pectin)

And that you should never eat anything if you're not 100% certain what it is.


Apparently, when it comes to identifying plants, you sometimes have to wait a whole year for the plant to flower, just to be sure which variety it is. And it can take years to learn about just one plant.

For example, gorse flowers smell of coconut and if you steep them in rum, they make a right tasty brew.

But you need to make sure you use English gorse flowers as the Spanish variety is poisonous.


Nice in rum.


Not so nice in rum.

But hard to spot the difference unless you know what you're looking for.

Yun also has a rule that you can't pick a plant if there is a bee or animal on it already, even if that means you have to walk another mile or so to find the same plant.

He also told us that the antidote to stinging nettles is not dock leaf (though they do work a treat if you can find them) but nettles. If you get stung, just crush some leaves into a ball and rub the juice on the sting.

All handy stuff to know next time you're off for a stroll in the woods, get a bit peckish and fall into a ditch of nettles.

hat's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, we like it

Here I am, swimming in hats. Well, not exactly swimming, more lying down on a sofa covered in hats really, but swimming sounded better.


The hats you can see here have all been knitted by one amazing lady, Hazel Mummery, who swung by our office yesterday to drop them off. She has knitted an amazing 785 hats for our Big Knit, and was giving herself a well deserved night off with a trip to the theatre to see Monty Python's Spamalot. Hazel thought of her herculean knitting effort as "nothing really," and was too shy to have her picture taken, but was more than happy for me to make a fool out of myself with her hats.

Hazel, you're truly a star, and we can't begin to tell you how grateful we are for what you've done. The same goes for everyone who has knitted a hat so far - you're all brilliant.

rainy days

Lawn bowling may be off today


But I found the first conker of Autumn on my way to work this morning.


So it's not all bad.

(Disclaimer: Conker pictured may not actually be the first official conker of 2008 but it's definitely the first one I've seen this year)

vegetable vision




What with our first venture outside the world of fruit into vegetables, with our brand new tasty veg pots, we've been getting into all things veg-like at the minute. As such, we've started up our own veg art gallery.

You can see a few examples of our own handiwork above and here but we'd love it if you could join in too. Along with getting involved with the best gallery type affair since Tony Hart and Morph graced our screens (the good old days eh Row) you'll get a special prize that might well be vegetable related. Plus the fame of having your picture printed big and in colour on the inside of millions of our veg pots packaging if we choose your shot, just like this...

Your photo could appear on the inside bit here, where the cherry tomato Pac Man is.

Have a look for some inspiration, read the simple guidelines and get uploading at our veg art flickr group here.