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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Days when nothing but a leek or Ben Howard will do....

It's nearly dusk, and the cold is intensifying .It's gone past the nippy stage -it's feeling downright parky with ice on the way and snow will be moving in from the north. I've been at the allotment where the lush greens of summer peas , lettuces, beans and courgettes are just a distant memory .

Now, there's only dark brown earth, the muted beige of a number of carpets that I've put down to inhibit the weeds and the only things really still growing are a tiny patch of chard , some swedes and the silvery grey - green leeks standing to attention in slightly uneven rows.

I was stone cold sober when I planted those rows -I promise - and I'm sure they were straight, but looking at them now...they 're cockeyed.How did that happen?

But nothing is ever as it seems in a garden or allotment is it? There's always something that turns up out of nowhere.If you're unlucky they're pernicious weeds , or like a couple of summers ago, some beautiful foxgloves that I certainly didn't plant but love where they've just established themselves.

Last week I cut off the seed heads of the one remaining leek in the allotment from last year.I left it on the windowsill for a week to dry out...and look


Not only is it beautiful...but there will lots of lovely leeks next year too...

It was quite therapeutic sitting at the kitchen table collecting all the seed.....

As a child I hated eating leeks ...leeks a la school lunches meant flaccid , slimy leeks interspersed with gritty bits of earth and smothered in a glutinous "cheese "sauce. The sauce never tasted of cheese though.

Now I adore leeks - their sweetness and their versatility in the kitchen , and the smell of leeks sweating in some butter in a pan must be one of the homeliest and most welcoming smells ever.

Tonight's track....from the wonderful Ben Howard .Every kingdom ,his album, has been on repeat in the car ever since I got it!(Thanks Lucy!xxx)

He sang to me on the way down to Bristol on Thursday and on the way back on Friday.He has such a beautiful voice ..I love his guitar work....and some very clever songs.Some are great to sing along to,but I don't think he would have been too impressed with my efforts accompanying him as I sped up the motorway. Let's put it this way....I don't think we''ll be doing a duet in the near future....


  1. Okay, you win. That sounds really cold. The leek seed head is beautiful. Lovely dried colour and sculptural shape.

  2. I am full of admiration. Where do you get the time and energy for all that gardening?!? I have to admit that leeks are not my favourite veg but Mr A loves them and so I often make a potato and leek Dauphinois which he loves. On the other hand, I have collected seeds from seed heads and yes it is therapeutic.

  3. Love the leek head photos - you could tie some ribbon round those and give them as a present!