Edith Bowman on country vs. city life
Returning from a weekend away with my lovely in-laws in Gloucestershire, I’m back on the train, looking on Prime Location for houses in the area.
An oft-wondered question races around my head as the lush green, seemingly perfect existence of country life is left behind: Why do I live in London? It’s a much bigger question which I may dive into another time; for now, it’s a few of the simple things I wanted to talk to you about. Like growing your own food and how easy or hard it is.
Part of this weekend away involved my spending a day at the Cotswolds Water Park, where I had spent an hour in what can only be described as a real-life Total Wipeout set (it is harder than it looks, much harder). On returning home, I discovered my mother in-law and the small ones were in the garden digging up some potatoes for dinner.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Watching this unfold took my breath away. It felt like a scene from a real-life Disney film, as Spike, my four-year-old, put on his wellies, picked up his miniature digging fork and proceeded to pull up about 20 spuds and put them in his miniature wheelbarrow.
Spike’s spuds were washed, peeled, boiled and served up for dinner without so much as a snigger. And it wasn’t just the potatoes that made it from the garden to our plates; they were joined by kale and courgettes (both green and yellow), too.
This is the dream for me if I’m honest – I once even attempted it in our small but bijou garden in London. My romantic notion was that I could plant stuff with the kids, watch it grow and then we’d harvest it in matching gardening gloves and cook something together.
In reality, I managed a few potatoes, two onions and some runner beans before the kids complained they needed more space for playing football.
If I’m being totally honest, I did get bored with it, a bit like I did with gymnastics, karate and fly fishing when I was a kid. Thing is, you need to a) know what you are doing and b) have time to do it, a lot of time. I had neither.
What is the attraction of wanting to grow and harvest something? Maybe it’s that nurture instinct as a parent, except just because you’ve grown a child, don’t think you can grow a marrow as well.
I can’t even keep a basil plant alive for longer than three weeks. Maybe if (when?) we move to the country I will have the time, confidence and know-how to grow my own stuff. God knows I have all the books, tools, knee cushions, gardening twine, moisture meter and pea frames a girl could want.
So, watch out for the Grow Your Own Veg with Bowman book… but no time soon!
Listen to Edith at Breakfast weekdays from 6am-10am on Virgin Radio. The free podcast Soundtracking can be downloaded from edithbowman.com.
Edith’s hair and make-up by Malin Coleman; Styling by Sabrina Henry; Edith wears dungarees (Pepe jeans) and striped polo neck (Petit Bateau).