Growing, Eating, Living

I have gardened for years and inexplicably always loved it, being outside, digging around, snipping this back and tying that back. It keeps me sane (r), it gives me time to contemplate or to empty my whirring head. It lets me breathe, feel the sun between my shoulder blades, and I get to hear the sound of rain falling on leaves, or the wind picking up and moving the grasses or trees.

I have realised that I am at my happiest sitting on the doorstep, first thing in the morning with a cup of tea in my hand, staring out into the garden, noticing what needs doing, what is looking good, what isn’t working. And from the sitting and supping the pottering naturally  follows, dead-heading here, sniping and tidying there, pulling a weed or two; and suddenly it is no longer first thing it’s mid-morning and I have a heap of stuff to do and I’m still in my pyjamas.

I garden, therefore I am.

Signing up for a plot, and walking down the lane in the height of summer and to look over the site, on a southerly slope facing towards the sea, with sheds and greenhouses in various states and makes, sweetpeas climbing up wigwams, and sunflowers turning towards the sun, everything looking lush. It was a pleasure to behold, and I knew I’d found a home from home.

In the beginning there was me, some grass, and a Shirley Bassey bag

A blank canvas ……. And some vague ideas and dreams ….

The 1st year was all about discovery and clearing. In the midst of major building work at home, living in a rented flat, dealing with numpty builders, architects and the council, I had an escape.

With no shed the 1st purchase was a shopping trolley, and if I was going to wander around St Leonards dragging a shopper then it had to pink.

After that it was a matter of getting down and digging.

Why Promenade? ~

St Leonards Clock

I live in St Leonards On Sea, a venerable seaside town on the south coast of England, our neighbour, Hastings, is more widely known, a certain battle in 1066 put it on the map. Anyway, St Leonards on Sea (or SLOS for short) is a purpose built seaside town dating back to the 1760s and founded in 1828  http://www.1066.net/burtons/intro.htm) SLOS is directly connected to Hastings, and West St Leonards by a concrete promenade, which in parts is a double-decker promenade, built to cope with the numbers of visitors flocking to the coast to take in the joys of the English seaside in the 1930’s, it is the only one of it’s kind in the UK.

Walking along the prom ‘taking the sea air’ has to be one of the best feelings, strolling with no real purpose in mind, feeling the sun on your back, or the wind in your hair, watching the sea – whether there are white tops out there in the Channel or it’s a calm blue sea kind of day or it’s the day after a storm and the sea is still grey and brown, churned up from the storms; simply watching the world go by, there is always something to see. It always captivates me. And even though SLOS and Hastings are busy towns, you always have that sense of space that a seascape brings.

I Promenade therefore I am.

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128 thoughts on “About

  1. ”In the beginning there was me, some grass, and a Shirley Bassey bag”

    Glad I helped in some small way to help you start this ongoing adventure in all things edible.

  2. Your blog is lovely. I’ve been reading through your recent posts, and they make me want to plant things, even as it gets colder and darker each day where I live. Only six months until spring, though, right?

  3. What an inspiration! At the moment I’m gardening on my back porch and have little crops here and there mingling with flowers. BUT I’ve invested in a quarter-acre of land covered in Logwood trees and am thinking very hard about covering it with food. I’d never need to shop! If only work didn’t get in the way of my gardening!

    • Thank you so much! And wow, a piece of land, that’s ambitious but wonderful! You do realise gardening and growing your own veggies is a bit addictive :)
      totally know what you mean about work gettingin the way, where is that lottery win when you need it most?!

  4. Returning your pop in with one of my own. Thank you for subscribing to my blog. When I noticed your name on the list of subscribers, I came over here, checked out a few things, and definitely liked what I saw. I can’t wait to dig deeper into your archives!

  5. a lovely blog, and I so echo your desire to be out with the garden …my little granddaughter and I go and sit near the lily pond and watch the dragonflies …we wander through the vegie garden and eat snow peas or strawberries …or sit on the swing and talk about the weather “cloudy day nanny!” …how can we fail to love it, surrounded by life! There are the nasty bits like this morning i have been catching the citrus bugs on the orange trees, yuk :( Good to think of you in your lovely big garden!

  6. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by The Orange Bee. I’ll see if I can come up with a favorite recipe, maybe southern or Texas for you to try while in the alps. That sounds glorious! We are about to be in our Thanksgiving mode here for the next 10 days – so I’ll get back after. Your blog is now on my favs, as I like the departure from only food blogs. See you around!

    • Your welcome, and thanks for popping in here. I’ll look forward to seeing your recommendation, I think it will be great fun to try out other people’s favourites. And best wishes for the coming Thanksgiving festivities

  7. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. Like you, any morning of the week I’m inclined to wrap my hands around a mug of tea and let my eyes take it all in, that is… life in my little garden. Is life wonderful?…yes it certainly is! I think of myself as the worlds best Grannie but I’m wise enough to know I’m not at all knowledgeable when it comes to gardenering. I see, I buy, I plant; very hit and miss butluckily for me about 50% of my purchases flourish.

    Until this year I pottered around, cutting the grass, weeded borders; dead headed the definitely dead flower heads and in Spring carried out slug patrol duties when the Hosta shoots sprung up.

    This year for the very first time I decided to dedicate a small area for growing my own veggies. In early Spring I put in two 3′ x 3′ approx.,raised beds and also dug another separate small area for veg growing. All summer long I had plenty of salad staples such as spring onions and various lettuce. Garden peas were a delight. Tomatoes only so&so ..and on the subject of Tomatoes, the notion of “could do a lot better” did cross my mind several times. (pinching out the side shoots of Tomato plants is lost on me, I’ve read the relevant paragraph in one or two gardening books but I’m still as wise as ever!). To the more recent, I never knew how tall brussel sprout plants grew….I had a more than plentiful crop for one person and, having picked some of them, I learned to my cost that earwigs love hiding in the sprouts ie., once inside, they ran in all directions across my kitchen countertop ….help!.

    I had planted onion sets in 2 different sites. This resulted in a noticible difference in the size of the onions. I now know where not to plant them next year. The garden peas were delicious and I intend to sow double or treble the amount in 2012. To my amazement, the strawberries I had offhandly planted in containers flourished and kept cropping and were so sweet to taste.

    Restricted I may be but, I’m now definitely hooked on the concept of growing your own. Perhaps next year I’ll be a little more daring …maybe plant cucumbers ..cabbage… courgettes,.. garlic..chilli, other peppers, potatoes. I’m already looking forward to 2012. For sure, it will “trial and error” planting but here goes, as they say!


    • Hi Moira, and thank you so much for your wonderful compliments. Getting feedback always brightens my day!

      It sounds like you have got the gardening / grow your own bug! It’s addictive isn’t it? And no matter how many years I’ve gardened (not that long really) I still learn all the time.

      It sounds like you did really well with your first crops, I just can never seem to sow enough peas, so many of them never make it off the plot as I’ve been munching them while I work! And having grown salads I realise the difference in taste is amazing – crunchy punchy salads, with shop bought a distant memory.

      Like you I keep trying out new things, every year brings something different. Today I took delivery of a White Currant bush, so I have something new to look forward to for next year.

      And if you think you are restricted for space, think upwards. It’s amazing what will grow up. Oh and I’m with you on the tomatoes, not a good year for me either, just not enough warmth. Let’s dream of next year’s sun and heat!

      Oh, and I’m certain you are the BEST granny :) you have to be if you have home-grown treats to share 

      And once again, thanks for popping in

  8. your blog inspires me so much to try my hand in the garden, if only I had one. with not much of an option left I keep satisfied with home plants. but we do soon plan to change our house and then I am going to be on your site forever! until then, I stay pleased with your recipes. Keep up the good work.

    • hi there and thanks for popping in and posting such kind words :) I’ve always gardened in some way – often just with pots on a balcony or windowboxes. It’s amazing how inventive you can get! Here’s hoping you get some gardening space SOON :)

  9. enjoyed looking through your postings! gardening and Great Britain are my two favorite topics…(i’m an enormous anglophile) Someday I’ll visit there, for sure, but for now it was nice to see it via your blog. enjoy the holiday season!

  10. So…we´ve finally “found” each other and imagine my surprise when I clicked on your blog this morning. That´s St Leonard´s on Sea I thought, then I read on and you confirmed it! My parents have a holiday place down there, close to where the photo on your header was taken and whenever I am in the UK I make a point of spending at least a night down there, walking on the beach and blowing away the cobwebs! Am off to subscribe now too and look forward to reading more.

    • Haven’t we just ! And I can’t help but think of the “Small World” we inhabit.
      I love it that you know where the photo was taken, I have a soft spot for the clock, I’m not really sure why, I just do. Your parents must live VERY near to me then, as I’m only a 3 minute walk from the seafront, where as you say we can blow my cobwebs away, there is ALWAYS a breeze :)

  11. Thank you for stumbling upon my blogs and making *your* blog available to me! I have made an initial delving into your posts and look forward to reading more very soon.
    Also, I have big plans to adapt your curried pumpkin soup recipe this evening to the remainder of our butternut squash (Waltham) from last season.
    Blessings to you and be well!

    • Hi Rebecca, and thanks for popping over :) Curried pumpkin soup is a winner (in this house anyway), I like the combination of the sweetness of the pumpkin and the warm spices of the curry. Hope you like it. Claire :)

  12. I have enjoyed wandering through your thoughts!
    I am a gardner too…
    the weather in Texas is allowing me early plantings, but I am never foolish enough to believe Spring is here LOls
    We seem to always have a freeze right around Easter and it doesn’r seem to bother Gaia to dump ice in April…
    I have been creating Faerie gardens and working on a healing garden with a Topairy Carousel that I dreamed of, it is coming at well…
    I think I will write about my gardening time since I seem to always be pulled to y’all’s garcening around the world..
    I have really enjoyed your blog….and I will enjoy what you contimtue to share..
    Thank You


    • Hi there, and thank you, the gardens you are creating sound wonderful, it must be great to create spaces like that, to imagine and dream of a space, then to create some drafts and then to actual planting. And I’m soooo curious about the Topiary Carousel! Great to meet you Maryrose and thanks for stopping by :) Claire

  13. Heya from Texas! I do suppose it is more appropriately, Howdy from Texas, but let’s just say you’ve been greeted warmly and leave it at that. I love your blog. I wanted to tell you that, and I have. Keep it up and have a paisley day!~KeriAnne

    • Ha ha, I realise how confusing that might be, and how I need to look at this again. No! I often sit on the doorstep at home looking at the backgraden in my PJ’s while sipping my tea. The allotment is about a mile away – and yes I get dressed :)

      • ahh – can you garden in your back garden? BTW, I have a passing knowledge of St. Leonard’s having worked in Hastings one summer. I loved it there. Yes, I know about the downsides. ;)

        • Isn’t the world a small place :) So you know about it’s positives and negatives!
          And yes we have a small sunny garden, but it’s a town garden, tiny, but lovely and also limiting, hence the allotment!

  14. Pingback: Home Sweet Home « Chica Andaluza

  15. I found your site through Go Bake Yourself when Choc Chip Uru passed on the versatile blogger award to both of us. Thought I’d stop by your site and check it out. I have subscribed to your blog and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

    • Hi there and thanks for popping in, Choc Chip is a star isn’t she! And that is the wonderful thing about these awards, we get to pop along and check out new to us blogs and meet a whole new bunch of people. Hope you are having a super weekend !

      • Again, an interesting coemmnt about the mulching and we will use this. We have always found it difficult but this year we had very good garlic owing to a very rainy summer. I also think it is really important to use a reliable supplier for your garlic bulbs forget about planting the supermarket varieties!

        • Oh gosh, I’ve just found your comment – rather late, I’m so sorry I don’t want to be rude – where have my manners gone !!
          totally with you on mulching, I’ve found it works superbly at adding goodie sto the soil and keeping the weeds down and the water where it should b e- around the roots and not in the air!
          And well done on the garlic, mine haven’t fared well – I think I’m going to add seaweed to a new bde for the coming years crop – from what I’ve read they will appreciate it! And once again sorry for the delay……

  16. Thank you so very much for liking my posts and sorry it took so long to respond. What a beautifully written introduction to yourself and your blog! I feel like I was transported to SLOS and felt the sea breeze for a minute or two. I so badly want to visit England- not the big cities but the quainter places like yours. Living in a city like Mumbai makes you long for the open spaces. Looking forward to more posts!

    • Hi it’s been a pleasure to pop in and see what wonderful dishes you are cooking – I keep meaning to make your rasam, but am waiting for my homegrown tomatoes (which will be a while yet!). And thank you for your kind compliments – the English seaside is very distinct so far removed from Mumbai. and talking of Mumbai – it’s one of my favourite cities to visit, I’ve been a couple of times and was taken with it – all of it :) but I know what you mean about wanting to escape sometimes :)

  17. Oh, Claire – I do the SAME thing in the mornings, but with coffee. :-D In my pajamas and most certainly let time get away from me.
    I bet your seaside town is lovely!

    • Lovely to meet you Paula, a fellow sipper-gardener-pyjama wearer ! I think it’s my favourite time of day, to sit and ponder and then maybe a wander and a peer into pots to see what is happening, what needs a bit of attention.
      Hmmm our seaside town – well it is like many towns, it’s a mixed bag of good and bad, positives and the occaisional negative, but anywhere by the sea gets my vote! particularly on a warm sunny breezy day like today :)

    • Hi there, and thanks dropping by! To be honest the sea air is a positive as we don’t tend to get really hard frosts so tender things can survive well over winter. Every now and then the air can be thick with seasalt and spray but I don’t see a negative affect on the plants – well so far that is :)

      • That’s good! I imagine your climate is slightly more favourable than where I come from (Redcar on the northeast coast), although I didn’t garden then. That said, I think that anywhere by the sea is going to have a better time of it in winter because of the extra salt in the air.

        • It does have an effect (the salt) if I go inland 5 miles there will be a heavy frost while we have barely a smattering of frost. The downside is that we are more exposed to winds so protection and shelter is more important, especially if you want to start things off early. And yes, I think it’s considerably milder than Redcar :)

  18. Claire, I see you’ve redecorated! It looks beautiful — then again, I would say that about anything you do. :) Did you also purchase your own domain? If so, I have many questions about the process. Cheers!

    • He, he, he redecorated, if only it was as easy and quick when t came to house decorating !!
      yes I did buy my domain, around this time last year as it goes. Feel free to ask away, you’ll have my email from my comments. I’m reasonably technically minded, but having said that I have a brain like a seive :) But happy to help if I can!

  19. So pleased to have just found your blog via Growing up in the Garden. A former resident of London (my husband is originally from Eastbourne, but I’m Canadian) I have friends who cottage in SLOS, and so am all the more intrigued to follow your gardening efforts there.

    • Hi Kim, lovely to meet you! and how great you are tempted to plant a garden, I’ve always gardened but growing some of my own fruit and veg has been a revelation – th etaste is AMAZING ! Happy gardening Kim :)

    • Thank you for your kind words, I have my fair share of gardening misses, and this year has been a tough one, so few winter squash made it through the summer. But you know what I think gardeners are enternal optimists, there is always next year :) Thanks for popping in to say hi !

    • Thank you Linda for your kind words. It’s been wonderful blogging meeting so many like minded people – or rather friends! I’ve been wondering whether to change the about page for something, well different or snappier. But maybe I should just keep it?!

  20. Good to reconnect. Just thought I would stop by as I saw your nice comment on my blog today and was happy to see you. Love the flower in your header. Ruth

  21. After a quarter hour of reading, I’m captivated and happy to have stumbled upon your Promenade. Looking forward to more “walks.” Lovely agapanthus as your header, I might add!

  22. I have a tin coffee mug with “I garden therefore I am” on it! And I often find myself still in my pyjamas by mid-morning! I’m glad you stopped by for a visit, it has led me to your lovely blog! Pleasure meeting you and I can’t wait to spend some time perusing your blog. Cheers!

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