Saturday, March 24, 2012

Completely Nuts

Naturally, when I found chestnuts lying about my feet in the Treasury Gardens the other day, I stuffed my pockets with them. They did not appear on a tray like this, sadly, as if meant for me, Beggars can't be choosers but they CAN furnish their table with a little artiface!
I'm sure if the curious onlookers I glimpsed hadn't been so timid, they'd have joined me, scrambling in the grass, and they too could have found in their kitchen a plate like this...
Despite being close to the CBD, I heard no police whistles and assumed all was legal. I did not, of course, carry my pocket-knife into so public a place!
Chestnuts aren't all I've found in my quest for self-sufficiency, though I'm not sure if crab apples and the woody bits off old camellias are entirely edible...
What to do now, Chef? It's not everybody who has such up-to-date equipment, poor things. All you need is a little know-how and you can not only never go hungry again, but you can set yourself up with the most rewarding of outdoor dining experiences...
I think of all those poor fools, trapped inside with their take-aways and their artificial additives...
Take one shovel, one pronged instrument, and one spanking new barbecue...
Even Zara found it difficult to contain her excitement, and SHE'S normally a carnivore...
I HAD asked Elizabeth David to lunch, but there you go, meal-for-one instead!

Friday, March 23, 2012

All New

This picture, which I've included in my new header, is of me when I was very young. It was taken by my father in our dining-room. The little gendarme visible beside me was bought by my father in Paris. Sadly, I don't have him any more, but his spirit lives on in a certain vigilance I like to apply to my life and to my gardening.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Some days, you feel everything's going fine - then, whoops, it's all upside down, or back-to-front. Last Sunday I celebrated my mother's birthday with my family, at an inner city hotel. A 'gastro-pub', I guess it would be known as. Of course I took my camera along, just for the ride; I was hoping to take shots along the way, of places new. Most of them were over-exposed, and utterly useless. The three below came out, and are actually four of my favourites, showing the bare, Italianate garden of a house in Victoria Parade, East Melbourne.
Despite my love of open, un-interfered-with spaces, there is nothing like a little formality, with little call for a gardener to get his hands dirty.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Here and Beyond: Faisal Pretends to Be Elsewhere

As usual, I'm reading books that take me elsewhere. The latest escape is to the Chilterns, in south-east England. Will I ever get there? Probably not.
This particular means of escape is 'Chilterns to Black Country', by W G Hoskins, number 5 in the 'About Britain' series, published by Collins in 1951 as a contribution to the then 'Festival of Britain'.
There will be others who know these better than I do. I'm charmed by ther effort to be comprehensive, by the priority given to their design, quite apart from the appreciation of country they reveal.
Much of the gardens I care for are looking less than their best now, at the end of summer. Most of my work isn't creative; it's hard slog.
Above is the shambles of Coventry Cathedral after its bombing during WW2. Whatever's gone wrong in my garden is nothing at all compared to such devastation.
There are roads leading out of wherever we may be. Perhaps they lead to better places?
I can't always trust the present I find myself in, though I will act as if I do. Do I know, at any point in time, the best road to take? Wherever it must be, I am not afraid. Let my steps be unhurried but sure.