It’s hard to believe we’ve been on lockdown for 9 weeks already. Here in East Devon, spring has exploded in gleeful ignorance of our human trauma. And I’ve continued to try and make the best of it, with an ever-heightened awareness of just how lucky we are here to have the space and time to explore nature and grow our own food.
And it’s been fantastic to hear just how many people are rising to the challenge of growing their own, some for the first time, and even in quite restricted spaces. On VE Day I popped up from the River Cottage veg garden on BBC1’s Health Check UK Live, talking about the current revival of the Dig For Victory spirit of grow-your-own that is happening under lockdown. You can watch the clip HERE. And if you have embarked on your own GYO journey we’d love to hear about it - please tweet us your success stories (and heroic failures too!) with the hashtag #GladToBeGrowing.
It’s been over a month since I started my little "self-improvement" project, to photograph and identify as many wild flowers as possible here in the garden at home, and in the lanes and bridleways where I go walking. To my own amazement (and yes, I am swelling with pride as I write this), in just 31 days I have snapped over 100 wild flowers (give or take a few grasses, ferns and tree blossoms). Here’s a few of my recent favourites.
I have loved doing this, not least because my rural amblings are now enriched with a whole extra dimension. And as a record of the on-going quest, I’ve made an Index of all my finds and best pics HERE. It works best on the WeCollect phone app, as you’ll see a click on caption feature, where the name of each flower and the date I found it pops up. You can even use it to teach and test yourself!
As I imagine is the case in most households, gathering round the table to eat together as a family feels more important than ever. I’m feeling so lucky to have kids who love to cook! And in the hope it might be helpful for families everywhere, I’ve been making more recipe videos for the River Cottage Lockdown Kitchen, shot and edited by my son Freddie, 17. The latest – my homey (but slightly posh) Spinach and Spaghetti Souffle, is HERE.
As the conversation about how we can emerge from lockdown gets louder and louder, we are putting a lot of time and thought into how we can welcome you back to River Cottage in the months ahead. Happily, one thing we are blessed with at RCHQ is SPACE. And so we have been hatching exciting plans to open up and transform various parts of the farm so you can visit, view, experience, grow, forage, cook and of course FEAST with us, in all kinds of new and delightful ways. We look forward to bringing you more news about this very soon.
Meanwhile, I hope you are all finding ways to feel the sun on your backs and the breeze on your face,
Take care and stay well,