The Good Life!

Anyone that know me knows that the BBC series, The Good Life (for those of you who are too young – ask your parents!) has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. More so as an adult, probably because Richard Briers always reminded me of my dad! Not that my parents ever had an allotment – I think in the 70’s it was the preserve of the over 60’s generally.

In this programme Tom & Barbara Good opted out of the rat race and turned they suburban garden into an allotment.   I loved the simplicity even then, their life seemed idyllic – they worked hard, ate well and always seemed to end the day sitting by a log fire laughing. They didn’t go out much either!!!

With more time to do EVERYTHING but socialise I am now actually finding the time to get the books off the shelf and put them to use. So far I have been totally engrossed by Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and The Concise Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour.   You see there is a link!!!

I want this passion to continue when we finally get to move into our new venue in Neunham Courtney when this is all over. I imagine the shelves overflowing with fermented foods, dairy ferments, vinegars and of course meads – so traditionally British!

As I turn every page of John Seymour’s book I feel more and more inspired – planning my allotment space, learning how to lay hedge, harvesting and storing your vegetables and fruits, keeping bees. John lived until he was 90 years so he knows!! I can feel the knowledge creeping out of each page and into my hungry brain.

I love the fact that more and more people are growing their own seeds even if they only have window boxes to grown them in – I am the same. I have a little balcony in the centre of Oxford but my seed trays are full to bursting as I thought I would be planting them out in Nuneham – so today I put a tray of tomato seedlings out and they were gone within the hour! Watch out Jericho if this keeps up you will be seeing more and more of my excess on the wall to happily take to a good home.

The plan was always to be more connected with nature when we moved. I was very lucky to be able to use my parent’s home but it was never, obviously, my space and so it was really important to me to make Nuneham a place that felt that connection more strongly. Everything in the new venue is stripped down.   Recycled shelving, herbs and plants everywhere and the main central focus the reclaimed English oak table.   I always feel like the table is the most important place in a kitchen so everyone can sit down, eat, drink, talk and relax. More so than ever when we return – to feel connections with the human race again is going to be so important.

We are lucky to be planning classes/events/demonstrations/talks that take us out of the kitchen and into the outdoors really then connecting the two successfully. Miles Irving is coming to teach us foraging, Fernanda and Sara will come to teach us everything about keeping bees, Christine will be teaching us all about basket weaving and the list is developing as we speak.

Marcia who you probably know as our resident Mexican expert has been busy putting together a fabulous class all about sustainable cooking and we will be posting more information about this shortly.

We will also continue slowly to become more sustainable with our food and find clever ways to be almost zero waste – it is not easy – but as they say nothing worth having comes easy.

We were so lucky with our last class that we held at Warborough and before lockdown to have a group of people who connected so well and laughed so much for those 3 hours with Carolina. It seems like a distant memory now but when I see this picture it takes me back in an instant to such happy times! I can’t wait to start again and share more of these with you.

All I want from this piece is to take you away from what is happening in the world at the moment and focus on the positive that will come from all of this. Nature is resetting and I can’t wait to be back in it with her and appreciate it more than ever. Onwards and upwards!!!

Love Emma x