Category Archives: yorkshire

festELVI 2015 a garden celebration


Last summer we had our first garden festival, FestELVI ! celebrating all that is good about summer, food, birthdays, veg patches and sick making hippy nonsense. Tents were erected, bunting hung from the trees and a bar built from 100% recycled wood dealt out summer cocktails all night long with a merry bunch of revelers partying into the wee small hours.

Elvi is my Barbara in my ‘good life’, a stubbornly creative, fiercely talented woman who has brought a ray of sunshine to my life, don’t say anything but I’m quite smitten. 

Gardens looking lush




For the first year the gardens really looking lush everythings growing well and there is still loads to put in. Looks like all the fruit trees will be having a crop this year, so that means Quince and Plums as well as apples and Medlars, I’m very excited about our first ever plum and quince crop. My only niggle is that it’s a little too green, must remember to add more flowers for next year, not that I don’t like the jungle look.

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the naked garden


I wish I had a greenhouse, I wish I had a patio for that matter, the area directly outside the house is more Steptoe than Gardeners world. The house and garden are still in a state of flux, extension possibilities, renovation work unfinished and a general accumulation of stuff all make for a rather stressed area. Money is a major factor, could I do it myself? possibly, can I afford it? no. Materials are another, I want to produce a house and garden than has been sustainably and holistically designed, however sometimes that means waiting longer to do something as that material needs to researched and sourced. The only way I can keep positive about it is to keep it productive, if it’s producing food then at least it’s doing something. I’m not looking for homes and gardens perfection but I also don’t want it to look like an allotment, I do have to look at it everyday.

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Foraging the Wharfe valley

Yesterday we decided on a whim to get the train to Harrogate and then walk the 14 miles back to Horsforth, traversing the Whafe valley. As usual we were armed with carrier bags, pen knifes, etc just in case. It was a beautiful day to walk through an equally beautiful landscape with hardly a sole around. We had not planned to forage but came across some edibles so decided to snap them up, what better way to remember a landscape, journey or view than eating it! Today I’ll make a simple wild garlic and sorrel pesto not the most exciting of foraged food but the greatest way to celebrate a brilliant day.


Wild gooseberry bush

Though it’s a little early for gooseberries hopefully I’ll remember this bush and use it to plan another trip.


wild garlic


common sorrel

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I leave my house and walk down the hill, looking west towards Hunger Hills, I can see my destination in the distance, across from me on the other side of the shallow valley, a Holloway, an old lane or possibly a drovers route and some say that it is the remains of a Roman road due to it’s flagged track way. The more likely explanation is that it is the old cart track used to transport coal from the long forgotten bell pits down to Lee lane, supplying 18th century Horsforth with fuel.

The lane sits at an obscure angle to the street, perhaps an architects attempt to ignore what is an undevelopable place. It lies at the end of a row of 1950’s semi’s, refusing to conform or update itself refusing to develop in anything other than it’s own speed. Visually the lane sinks in between the middle class pretensions of a spotted laurel and the wild free nature of the hedgerow, snugly sitting where urbanity admits defeat and relaxes into the rural.

I duck my head and plunge feet first into the void I cross a number of thresholds, the first from light to dark, the entrance has a gleefully sinister enticement about it, just enough of a view to allow me to peek inside without spoiling the whole surprise. There is a threshold of sound, of changing environments even of changing times, the street carries the industrial sounds of the twenty four hour twenty first century but within the confines of the lane, with it’s green walls of Holly, Hazel and Elder sound is diffused, muted. The sounds of the city never disappear but the Holloway allows me to readjust my focus, I can hear the rhythmical clucking of a blackbird who has perceived a threat to his domain, a bumble bee with it’s slow drone working on the field side and the scuttle, slip, swish of an unknown creature, unknown to me only, as they all belong to this Holloway, this covered passage, this green route from one world into another.

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