We are very excited that you are our new In-Resident Author! Please can you tell us a little about yourself & your best-selling book?
I am delighted that I am going to be visiting Tylney Hall this year as the In Resident Author and am so looking forward to our events! A little about me: I am a garden and food writer and write for the Telegraph, the Guardian, as well as magazines such as The Garden and Simple Things. I also write an annual book called The Almanac, a Seasonal Guide. It is a proper almanac of tides, moons, sunrises and so on, but also containing lots of little ways in to enjoying and marking each month, through festivities, food, folk stories and songs. It is intended as a celebration of every moment of the year, and a way of keying in to the ever-turning seasons, and it is this book that is going to form the inspiration for my in residence days at Tylney Hall.
What other books have your written?
My books have mainly been about the crossover between the garden and the kitchen. I have written a good few gardening books including The Half Hour Allotment and My Cool Allotment, and one cookery book called Petal Leaf Seed, which is all about cooking with the edible delicacies that you can grow in your own garden, so not potatoes, onions and leeks but lots of fennel seeds, rose petals, and turmeric leaf. Flavours not bulk.
What can people expect from your first event at Tylney?
The first event is going to be an introduction to the concept of an almanac and how it can impact on our awareness of the world around us and help us feel connected, by marking out time via the special things that only happen once a year. I will be talking about what is special about March and the spring months: what can you expect to see in the sky at night? How will daylength change over the course of the month? What is the equinox and what difference does it make to our lives? and what foods and festivities are particular to this wonderful springy moment in the year. Then we will have afternoon tea and a walk around the grounds of Tylney Hall with head gardener Paul, to see all of the spring flowers appearing in the gardens.
Many people look forward to the spring months – what are your personal favourite things about this time of year?
I particularly love the increase in light. We become so used to living in the gloom over winter that we almost forget what spring is like, the sudden lengthening of days seems to surprise me every year! and of course with that comes all of the bulbs and flowers and the slow appearance of all of the bees and insects that have been tucked away all winter. It's a wonderful time.
We also welcome you back in September for your Equinox talk – can you tell us a little more about this event?
Yes, in September we will again be talking about the equinox, but from the other end of the year. This is a time for tucking up, for making our plans for cosiness and warmth to get us through the winter. I will be talking about my own attempts to accept winter as part of my own rhythm, and again will be highlighting what is special and magical about the darker months that we will be heading into. There is no need for gloom and doom, as it is a magical time for the countryside, and particularly for food, with all of the year's harvest's reaching a peak. To mark this we will then all sit down to a delicious autumnal seasonal meal.