*** I N S I D E TO DAY OPEN ROAD O GARDENING SPECIAL Good Good, clean fun: forgotten the forg en art of wash washing washi hingg the car Wake up your garden! Essential outdoor jobs j for Easter weekend end Saturday 31 March 2018 . telegraph.co.uk page 26 AGONY Y UNCLE page 17 Graham am Norton is heree to solve your problems page 30 PEOPLE WATCHING Shane Watson: why I’m anxious about the Big Wedding Saturday page 7 ANDREW CROWLEY FOR THE TELEGRAPH The great British weekend starts here It’s the Easter holidays – so get the kids in the kitchen Give your children a taste for cookery and they’ll soon be hungry for more. Chef Claire Thomson shows you how I am a chef and the kitchen is the axis of our home. I am happiest in an apron, with the radio on, something to cook and people to feed. Bring my children into the mix and this is where the fun really starts. At 11, eight and five years old, Grace, Ivy and Dorothy all have their own aprons, slung on the kitchen door next to an assortment of mine. Each has very different capabilities in the kitchen. Grace, the eldest, likes to be left to her own devices. We have a thin, narrow, terrace house: from two floors up I can hear her industrious clatter as she busies herself with pots and pans downstairs in the kitchen. There is always mess, but what she makes, and the way she will call us into the kitchen when she has finished, makes my heart swell. Ivy is keen on any kitchen tasks involving gadgets. The pasta machine is her favourite bit of kit. We have a CONTINUES ON PAGES 2-3 & 5 J Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** 2 COVER STORY ANDREW CROWLEY FOR THE TELEGRAPH J CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 tradition that if it’s your birthday you get to choose what you get to eat on the day. Ravioli made (with a little help) by an eight-year-old is impressive. And she knew it. Dot is the youngest and is predictably fond of using cutters to punch out biscuits shaped like pigs, stars, bells, or the alphabet. I want my three girls to grow up with a fearless appreciation of food. When they leave home, I want them all to be able to cook with flair, creativity – and with an eye for budget. Food and cooking are powerful tools for learning, encouraging a sense of “where in the world would we like to eat today”. I want the contents of our kitchen to spark this worldly curiosity. For me, it’s up there with learning your times tables and tying your own shoelaces. With the Easter holidays upon us, I have written these recipes for children to cook, with the help of a grown-up if needs be. Some are easy, while others are perfect for letting any more capable children loose in the kitchen with a bit of culinary autonomy. I haven’t included much chocolate-orientated baking, because if your children are like mine, there will be more than enough chocolate, egg shaped and delivered by a bunny, in the house as it is. Claire Thomson is a chef and food writer. She is also the family food ambassador for the National Trust. Her latest book The Art of the Larder is out now with Quadrille. Follow @5oclockapron on Instagram and Twitter for daily food and cookery updates. Granola My eldest daughter, Grace, is chief granola maker in our house. She will often switch around spices, fruit and nuts to get different combinations. We’ve had Christmas granola (mixed peel and stem ginger), and granola studded with chopped up chocolate buttons (though this is an occasional treat). Cooking the granola very slowly at a low temperature makes the mix crisp up and turn golden without requiring too much oil or processed sugar. Leave the cooked granola to cool completely on the tray before packaging it; this will also help to form the fabled clusters. We like to eat ours with plain yogurt and fresh fruit. 100g dried fruit; raisins, sultanas, cherries, or larger dried fruit such as peach, apricot, apple, mango or dates, chopped (use one or a combination, as you like) METHOD Preheat the oven to 140C/ Gas 1 and grease a large baking sheet with a tablespoon of oil. Put the oats, nuts, seeds, spices and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Put the honey, sugar and the rest of the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, for two minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot syrup over the oat mixture and mix well until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Use your hands to do this if you like. Transfer the mix to the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Bake the granola in the oven without stirring for about 25-30 minutes or until the mix is an even golden brown and crisp throughout. Remove the granola from the oven and top with the dried fruit. Set aside to cool completely. Store in an airtight jar or container. MAKES ABOUT 500G INGREDIENTS 4 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil 250g rolled oats 50g whole nuts, roughly chopped 50g sunflower seeds 30g sesame seeds, poppy seeds or desiccated coconut 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cardamom 50ml runny honey 3 tbsp light brown sugar I want my girls to be able to cook with flair, creativity – and with an eye for budget Churros with melted (Easter egg) chocolate sauce Doughnuts, Spanish style. My three are over the moon when we make these together. You can use ordinary chocolate for the sauce (which is particularly good if you have a surplus from Easter!). Lemon curd also proved popular here. MAKES ABOUT 16 CHURROS TUCK IN Ivy, Grace and Dot enjoy homemade churros and lemon curd with their friend, Esther INGREDIENTS 250ml water 25g caster sugar 40g butter 125g plain flour 50ml double cream 50ml whole milk 100g dark or milk chocolate, broken into pieces (use any surplus Easter eggs) Vegetable oil for frying To serve 50g caster sugar 1 tsp cinnamon METHOD In a large pan over a high heat, bring the water to the boil, add the sugar, a pinch of salt and the butter, and stir until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, and stir in the flour until the mixture forms a sticky dough. In a small pan over a moderate heat, heat the cream and milk, then add the chocolate and stir to a smooth chocolate sauce. Remove from the heat and keep somewhere warm. Get a grown-up to help from here: heat 5cm of oil in a deep, high-sided frying pan to 190C (test with a teaspoonful of the batter; when hot enough it should bubble up and float immediately). Pipe or use wet hands to roll and shape the dough into tubes and drop into the hot oil in batches and fry until crisp and golden (wet your hands more if the dough sticks). Use a slotted spoon to turn the churros over in the oil and fry on the other side for about four minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Combine the 50g sugar with the cinnamon, and toss over the churros. Serve warm, dipped in the chocolate sauce. BEST COOKERY COURSES FOR CHILDREN SQUARE FOOD FOUNDATION, BRISTOL Founder Barny Haughton is a peerless and awardwinning food educator. If he can’t get your children enthusiastic about food, no one will. squarefoodfoundation. co.uk THE BERTINET KITCHEN COOKERY SCHOOL, BATH This prolific Bath-based cookery school runs a wide selection of classes, from bread baking (Richard Bertinet’s speciality) to many guest chefs and food writers running courses throughout the year. I am running a class here this year on October 6. thebertinetkitchen.com FAT HEN, LAND’S END Caroline Davey runs a cookery school with a difference. Based near Land’s End in Cornwall, Davey’s courses are as much about getting outside and foraging as they are about cooking great tasting food. fathen.org NEAL’S YARD DAIRY, LONDON Less of a cookery class and more of a tasting workshop, this fabulous London cheese shop runs informative and fun classes for children, teaching and tasting all things cheese. nealsyarddairy.co.uk BUG FARM FOODS, ST DAVIDS Again, not so much a cookery school, more an immersive food experience designed to get children’s heads around eating and cooking with bugs. Nutritious and good for the planet, Andy Holcroft, a chef, and Dr Sarah Beynon, an entomologist, run a variety of engaging and bug filled workshops throughout the year. bugfarmfoods.com The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 HELPING HAND Claire and her daughter, Dot, make lemon curd together *** HOW TO MAKE MARBLED EGGS Leftover porridge bread 1 Pierce both the top and bottom of a raw egg with a needle or safety pin. Blow out the egg into a bowl. This loaf bakes with a terrific crust and a chewy, almost crumpet-like texture to the crumb. I don’t knead this bread; a vigorous mixing is all it needs. The children can easily make this. My bet is that you’ll find yourself making extra porridge for breakfast to make this bread. MAKES ONE LARGE LOAF INGREDIENTS 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 200g leftover cooked porridge (at room temperature) 300ml warm water 5g salt 1 x 7g sachet active dry yeast Handful of oats METHOD Put the flour, porridge and salt in a large bowl. In a jug, mix the water and yeast together, then combine this with the flour and porridge mix, mixing well with a spoon until combined. The dough will be wet. Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp cloth and put aside somewhere warm until doubled in size, about one-and-a-half to two hours. Lightly flour your work surface and line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Remove the dough from 2 Fill a deep plastic container with water. Add marbling paints (or nail varnish) to the surface of the water and swirl with a fork. 3 Position the eggs on sticks and push each egg through the surface of the water, submerging it completely. Quickly pull the egg out and leave to dry. Spiced date butter Pretzel sticks Baking bread is a great activity for children and these pretzels are especially fun to make. You’ll need to help children with the boiling bit, as the hefty measure of bicarbonate in the water tends to make the water bubble up quite a bit. Boiling the dough before baking it makes these pretzels wonderfully chewy to eat. Soft, long pretzels; a good thing. MAKES 12 INGREDIENTS 350g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for kneading 50g brown sugar 2 tbsp vegetable oil 240g water (measuring water is more accurate) 1 x 7g sachet active dry yeast 1 tsp salt 30g baking soda 1 egg, beaten Poppy seeds to top Lemon curd This is the perfect stirring job for a child who wants to learn to use the hob – it’s low and slow cooking. You can use oranges, clementines or tangerines here, if you’d rather. MAKES ONE TO TWO JARS INGREDIENTS 200ml juice from large unwaxed lemons (about 4), plus the zest, finely grated 250g sugar 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks COOK WITH ROSIE, LONDON AND SOON TO BE EDINBURGH Rosie Trotter (pictured, above left) will be running METHOD Put the lemon juice and zest, the sugar and the butter into a wide pan over the lowest heat. Stir from time to time until the butter has melted. Mix the eggs and egg yolks lightly with a whisk in a separate bowl. Add the eggs to the pan, continually whisking the curd over a gentle heat for about 12-15 minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Make sure you scrape the sides of the pan and never stop stirring. Do not allow it to boil. Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools a bit. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal. It will keep for about three weeks in the refrigerator. Once opened use within one week. You can pass the curd through a sieve if you find that it’s not perfectly smooth, but if you’ve stirred it well enough, you shouldn’t need to. her successful Cooking with Kids classes from her home in Battersea, London, until June when both she and her classes are moving METHOD Mix the flour, sugar, oil and water with the yeast to make a cohesive dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water. Cover and rest for 10 minutes. Add the salt and fold the dough a couple more times to combine, cover and let the dough prove for about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it and divide it into 12 pieces. Use a bit of flour to roll each piece of dough into a 12-15cm thick rope, place on an oiled tray and leave for 30 minutes to prove covered in a clean, dry tea towel. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Carefully add the baking soda to the boiling water, it will bubble up. Gently remove pretzels from the baking tray and drop into the boiling water, three or four at a time. Simmer about 30 seconds, turn and simmer an additional 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tea towel-lined tray to dry, before returning each back to the oiled baking tray. Repeat with remaining pretzels until they have all been boiled. Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in the hot oven until browned, about 12-15 minutes. Best served warm. back home to Edinburgh. cookwithrosie.co.uk from age nine years and up. atthekitchen.co.uk AT THE KITCHEN, MANCHESTER THE COOK SCHOOL, GLASGOW Manchester-based and new to the line-up, this smart, new cookery school is run by Angela Boggiano, a food writer, cook and stylist, and Craig Robertson, a food photographer. Their children’s culinary courses, which cover home-made pasta and pizza as well as basic baking skills, run Based in Kilmarnock, near Glasgow, this specially built children’s cookery school runs a range of classes aimed to help children develop their palates and discover what they love to cook and eat. Suitable for those from age two to 16 years old. cookschool.org My daughter Ivy is especially fond of butter. Sweetened with dried fruit and given a hefty dose of mixed spice, this is her favourite toast topping. As well as eating it, she also quite likes making this. I tend to chop the dates and Ivy chops the butter and combines (hands squelching gleefully) the rest of the ingredients before shaping and chilling it in the fridge. MAKES ABOUT 450G INGREDIENTS very finely (use figs if you prefer) 1 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon 250g salted butter, at room temperature (use unsalted if you prefer) 200g pitted soft dates, chopped METHOD In a mixing bowl mash the butter, dates and spice together. Form into a oblong butter pack shape, wrap in parchment and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. the bowl, and scrape it on to the floured surface. Gather the dough and fold it approximately four times in on itself. Turn the dough over seam side down and, using your hands, gently cup the sides of the dough until you have a loaf shape that fits a 900g tin. Carefully lift into the lined tin and cover with a cloth and allow to double in size. The dough will still be fairly wet, but manageable, to work with. Preheat your oven to 230C/Gas 8, or as hot as possible. Use a serrated knife, sharp knife or a pair of scissors to slash the loaf with one, 1cm-deep stripe along the loaf. The slash allows the steam to escape and for the dough to expand. Scatter the top of the loaf with the oats. Place in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 200C/Gas 6. Bake for 35-40 until the loaf is a golden brown with a firm crust. It will sound hollow when tapped underneath if it’s ready. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. 3 4 *** Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHILDREN TO COOK FROM Lahmacun (aka Turkish pizza) Not only do they bring welcome respite from the insatiable demand for pizza, these punchy lamb flatbreads are a cinch to make. Cook as many as will fit in your oven at one time; they will be popular. MAKES EIGHT INGREDIENTS For the dough 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 1 tsp salt 1 tsp dried yeast 300ml water Olive oil for oiling your hands and surface for initial knead ANDREW CROWLEY FOR THE TELEGRAPH For the topping 1 small onion, peeled and diced 1 small fresh tomato, diced ½ red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp tomato paste ½-1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste 1 tsp ground cumin Pinch ground cinnamon ½ tsp salt 200g lamb mince To serve 2-3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1 bunch parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped 1 lemon, cut into wedges METHOD To make the dough, put the flour, salt and yeast in a big mixing bowl and mix in the water with a spoon. Mix well to form a cohesive dough, place a damp cloth over the bowl and leave for an hour or so somewhere warm until almost doubled in size. In a blender, pulse all the topping ingredients (apart from the mince) together to form a coarse paste. Put in a bowl, add the mince and mix well. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to maximum. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it gently with lightly oiled hands for a minute. Cut the dough into eight pieces. Put a pizza stone or baking tray into the oven to get hot. On a well-floured surface roll each dough ball into a long, thin oval shape, getting the dough as thin as possible without tearing. Carefully remove the pizza stone or baking tray from the oven and place on a heatproof surface. Lay the dough on the tray and spread an eighth of the topping all over it, leaving a 2cm border. Bake in the hot oven for six to eight minutes, until the dough is crisp and the topping is cooked, repeat with any remaining dough. Serve immediately, adding some sliced tomatoes, plenty of parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice to each lahmacun. THE WINNERS ARE… Those who find any of the whole pulpy sweet garlic cloves. Mash the soft garlic inside back into your rice, it’s delicious. Baked rice with chickpeas, chorizo, rosemary and orange This thrifty supper will have everyone digging in. It’s an easy one-pot recipe that older children might like to tackle on their own. If you want to make this vegetarian, swap chorizo for some mushrooms fried with the peppers. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 250g soft cooking chorizo, diced (use diced bacon if you prefer; leftover roast chicken or pork, shredded, would also work) 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced small 1 pepper (any colour), finely diced 5 cloves of garlic, skin on and left whole 3 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes, drained of juice – or use fresh, roughly chopped ½-1 tsp smoked paprika (to taste, hot or sweet variety) 300g Spanish short paella grain (alternatively, risotto rice will do) 600ml boiling water or hot chicken stock 1 small bunch rosemary (about 4 small sprigs), leaves removed and finely chopped 2 bay leaves 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 small orange, thinly sliced Chilli flakes, to serve (optional) METHOD Heat oven to 180C/Gas 4. Fry the chorizo pieces in the olive oil for about three to five minutes in a large casserole pan until crisp and beginning to exude fat. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the tomato, paprika and rice. Mix together until everything is well-coated and the rice is warmed through. This takes about two minutes. Add the hot stock or boiling water, bay leaves and rosemary and give the rice a good stir, checking the seasoning. Add a bit more salt or paprika if necessary. Add the drained chickpeas and the orange slices to the surface of the rice and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes until the rice has taken on all the liquid and the grains are cooked through. Rest for five minutes off the heat and with the lid on before serving, encouraging people to add chilli flakes if they like. As a chef and food writer, my bookshelves are laden with cookbooks. I also like to keep an assortment of my favourites on the dresser in the kitchen – this is where the most useful will end up. When one or other makes its way from the dresser to the kitchen table, I will often find my children indolently flicking through pages as they eat their breakfast, avoid their homework or wait for supper. I have found that if you spot a child becoming engaged with a bright attractive picture of food in a cookbook, conversation will soon follow. In this moment, if you’re willing, you’re pretty much halfway towards buying the ingredients and cooking the dish with your child. I find the best and most non-combative way to introduce new ingredients or dishes to family mealtimes is to cook together. With younger children I have tended to use recipes that I know by rote and will get little hands to help where appropriate. Now Grace is older and a more competent cook, I am pretty thrilled that she’s keen on cooking from my own cookbook collection. Two cookbooks aimed specifically at children spring to mind. Cool Kids Cook by the champion of children’s cooking, Jenny Chandler, (Pavilion Books, £14.99), is aimed at children aged seven to 14. I also like The Silver Spoon for Children by Amanda Grant (Phaidon Press, £12.95), which is best for those aged 10 and over. You can’t go far wrong pointing older, more kitchensavvy, children in the direction of the superstars: Nigella, Jamie, Nigel Slater, Diana Henry, Ottolenghi, Rick Stein, Madhur Jaffrey… simply too many to list here. 5 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** STYLE PREPPY PURSUITS Leonardo DiCaprio lives it up in The Wolf of Wall Street Loved by clean-cut types THREE OF and drainpiped rebels, THE BEST… the sportswear favourite atwalk, is back on the catwalk, writes Stephen n Doig g T aking to o the tennis n court in d, starched, formal whites rting to was starting e tiresome for become the young René Lacoste. A longsleeved Oxford shirt wass the he sport, but it traditional uniform for the didn’t exactly lend itself to sporting prowess. Which is why, in 1933, he set about adapting the shirt into a less m – shortening rigid, more dynamic form ric technician the sleeves, enlisting fabric avy cotton for André Gillier to swap heavy é with a a breathable cotton piqué s. A new type basket weave for airiness. y adopted not of shirt was born, swiftly only by tennis stars but polo players too, hence the moniker. h It was after a sojourn on the continent that underwear maker Peter Hill brought the polo shirt to British shores, thanks to his father’s cotton specialist company Sunspel. Since then, it has been a politely peppy staple; the boy next door to the white T-shirt’s Rebel Without a Cause. It’s innate neatness and hint of formality – that pristine collar remains – make it a key component in the East Coast, collegiate look so ingrained in the likes of Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. That set’s poster boy, J F K, would wear one while sailing around Martha’s Vineyard, looking every inch the fresh, youthful president. And while you don’t need these pages to tell you that a polo shirt is a timeless wardrobe classic as we approach spring, it’s particularly relevant at the moment; designers from Gucci to Dior Homme have toyed with the template of this rather clean-cut fellow, adding rebellious accents and splashy prints. In any colour or pattern the polo is inherently sporty, but has a certain classicism and quaint charm too; with a Harrington jacket and a side parting you’ll look every inch the Fifties diner dweller. Which isn’t to say the shirt hasn’t flirted with insurgency; it was adopted by the Mods in the Seventies, worn with narrow denim and Dr Martens. You might take a leaf out of George Clooney’s sartorial book and don one with a suit. Keep the proportions slimline: baggy styles look a touch “dad on holiday”. COTTON POLO £79 (lacoste.com) PAL ZILERI COTTONSILK POLO £210 (harrods.com) AND WHAT TO WEAR THEM WITH WOVEN WOV VEN BELT £95 (st (stuartslondon.com) tuartslondon.com) RIVIERA POLO £85 (sunspel.com) D U S T O F F YO U R … POLO S H I RT GOLDEN OLDEN GOOSE TRAINERS £280, 80, net net-a-porter.com t-a-a a porter.com NN07 CHINOS £120 (mrporter.com) (mrporter.com G9 JACKET £575 (barac (baracuta.com) ta com) TRACKING THE TREND EARLY YEARS The dashing tennis champion René Lacoste created the polo shirt in the Thirties as a sporty alternative to formal shirting, adding a crocodile emblem as a nod to his on-court nickname. HOLLYWOOD COMES CALLING In the Sixties, style icon status went hand in hand with a certain preppy masculinity, encapsulated by the likes of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and John F Kennedy. ON THE CATWALK Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has recreated the classic style with high-octane prints, while Dolce & Gabbana (right) has riddled its versions in princely embellishments. MARY CYBULSKI; EPA 6 The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 7 *** ON DUTY Meghan has begun to dress rather more maturely since her engagement V E RY BRITISH P RO B L E M S Is it just me... SHANE WATSON PEOPLE WATCHING If you’re expecting the Royal wedding to be a massive Sloanefest with added American gloss, prepare to be disappointed REUTERS; BERETTA/SIMS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; GETTY IMAGES A m I the only one experiencing the onset of Royal wedding anxiety? In the run-up to the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle, are we starting to feel a twinge of panic that it might not quite shape up to be the £32 million fantasy gala we’ve been looking forward to? Maybe it will. Maybe they are, at this very moment, putting the finishing touches to a Mahiki-meetsMoulin Rouge-meets-military-tattoo spectacle. Maybe there will be 21-gun salutes, and Kylie in a cake, and all the Spice Girls in Union flag hot pants singing 2 Become 1, and James Corden doing carpool karaoke with Beyonce and Jay-Z, and Harry and Meghan, two-up on a white horse (her wearing something sheerish and sparkly with a 40ft train, him in Royal Marines ceremonial dress) while Obama slow-jams the story of their courtship. We can only hope. But if Sloaney riot with American gloss is the general atmosphere you have in mind, the omens are not good. First of all, Meghan Markle has, since they first went public at Wimbledon (she wearing ripped jeans and a “husband” shirt and generally looking very cool, off-duty actress/activist) started to dress like a European First Lady of a certain age (roughly 56). It is months since we’ve seen her in aviators, or indeed any clothes befitting a young American woman with a perfect 10 body, and access to any designer on the planet. Needless to say, this does not augur well for the wedding dress, and we are starting to really fear for the Is it OK to... Point out that Lisa Armstrong, estranged wife of Ant McPartlin of Ant and Dec, has gone way beyond the usual requirements of the post-split makeover. Usually in these circs the injured female party gets a haircut. Often this consists of a serious chop, which we all know signals: “I’ve washed that man right out of my hair, and then cut it all off just to be sure.” Sometimes it involves a radical rethink, like a crazy dye. Armstrong went My Little Pony pink the moment the news broke a few months back, which evidently was her way of saying: “I am escaping to my happy place.” And good luck to her. bridesmaids, who at this rate will be in turtlenecks and boaters. Then there is the matter of her Circle of Trust and what her immediate girl gang considers to be fun times. Meghan has already been on a hen weekend at Soho Farmhouse (hooray) at which they were expected to watch the Oscars live and have a party (great idea!) but the rumour is they opted for spa treatments and an early night instead, and we can well believe it. Most of us spent our hen nights trying to persuade a taxi to take us to Mull or forming a human pyramid in a stranger’s garden. Do these people know how to make the most of the Wedding of the Year, is all we’re saying? And what if the Wedding of the Year turns out to be a bit wellness-conscious and there isn’t a vodka luge in sight? Last but not least, Meghan herself is expected to make a speech on the day, which is right and proper. But will this speech be any fun? Or will it be a bit grassroots charities, and good energy, and the power of working as a team of two – all of which we are very much in favour of – just less so at the Reception of the Wedding of the Year? Could she perhaps draft in Tina Fey or Amy Poehler to ratchet up the funnies? We’ve really got to get our thinking caps on, but time is running out. Rob Temple on the small anxieties of daily life AT THE RAILWAY STATION 1 Saying, “Anywhere here’s fine,” then sitting quietly in your seat as your taxi driver cruises on for another mile beyond the station. 2 The horror of trying to quickly input booking reference RNZØ3Û0ŁOo0ä into a busy ticket machine. 3 Going to St Pancras and accidentally spending hundreds of pounds before boarding your train. 4 Asking a guard if your ticket is valid for peak times and finding that even they don’t know. 5 Knowing no journey is too short for the entire M&S snack section washed down with four cans of gin and tonic. 6 Seeing someone holding a large McDonald’s bag and knowing you’ll be sitting next to them. 7 Standing perfectly still watching the departure boards as everyone seems to walk into you, and only you. 8 Making sure to whisper the platform number to yourself, before dashing off to the train. 9 Feeling compelled to very slowly pace up and down while waiting on the platform. 10 Being told your train has changed to another platform as you sit on the original train, and watch the new one pull slowly away. Rob Temple’s latest book, Very British Problems Vol 3: Still Awkward, Still Raining (Sphere, £12.99) is available from books.telegraph.co.uk. Follow Rob on Twitter: @SoVeryBritish ILLUSTRATION: TOM MCGUINNESS FOR THE TELEGRAPH Who read Bill Nighy’s confession that for most of his career he has hated acting and thought, “Of course he has, he’s an Englishman.” An Englishman likes to hate his job, he thinks his job is stupid, his employers are useless, and that anyone who employs him is an idiot. Nighy is doing what Englishmen always do, when given the opportunity – moaning, because that’s how he feels and because having a low opinion of yourself and your contribution is about as British as it gets. If you want to find a happy, fulfilled, proud actor, try an American. 8 *** A Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** Food & Drink VICTORIA MOORE Look east ast for the next wine ne revolution ion Page 13 T H E H A R DY B OY / R E D C H I NA / W I N E S O F T H E W E E K YOUTHFUL FLAVOURS José Pizarro at his restaurant in Bermondsey, London Olé José! A taste of Spain at home Salmorejo-style tomato soup with hard-boiled eggs, olives and crispfried ham The key to sensational Spanish dishes is to use good-quality ingredients and never cut corners, discovers Xanthe Clay This is a thick and creamy bread soup, which relies on the juice from tomatoes. It is usually served garnished with serrano ham and chopped hard-boiled eggs. T CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 J SERVES SIX TO EIGHT INGREDIENTS 340g slightly stale country-style bread, crusts removed (to give 225g crustless white bread) 1kg ripe and juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned 3 garlic cloves, crushed Pinch of sugar (only if your tomatoes lack sweetness) 150ml good-quality olive oil, plus 1 tbsp, and extra to serve 2 tbsp sherry vinegar 2 large free-range eggs 6-8 thin slices serrano ham 50g green or black pitted olives, quartered lengthways EMMA LEE; RII SCHROER wenty years ago, Spanish food meant stodgy paella with pitchers of oversweetened sangria to most of us. British chefs Sam and Sam Clark had just opened Moro, a neighbourhood restaurant in London, but you’d be hard-pressed to name a Spaniard working in a professional kitchen. That’s changed now, as smoked paprika has become a store-cupboard staple and we gobble up plates of pricey, intensely flavoured jamón ibérico in chic tapas bars. Smart drinkers are ditching prosecco in favour of small-producer cava. In London, it’s standing room only at José tapas in Bermondsey Street; the Barrafina bars have queues around the block. The hottest opening of the year so far is Sabor, the bar and restaurant from Nieves Barragán, the Basque-born ex-Barrafina chef who serves up whole roast piglets and Galician milk puddings. Much of the credit must go to José Pizarro, chef owner of José, as well as restaurants Pizarro and José Pizarro in London. The Spanish chef came to the capital 19 years ago, with just a few pounds in his pocket. He came in search of excitement, as “Spain at that time was just Spanish food, no diversity,” he told me. “From the moment I touched down, I say, I love this country, this diversity, the colours, the smell, the tastes, the craziness. In Spain we didn’t have that 20 years ago. It was a very old-fashioned, divided country.” In fact, Pizarro has held on to both his pronounced Spanish accent and his love of the food of his childhood, which he has championed from the start. He was brought up on his parents’ farm in Extremadura, a region of Spain considered a backwater even by the people who live there. There were dairy and beef cattle and pigs, plus copious fresh vegetables from the plot. His mother and grandmother ruled the kitchen, while little José looked on longingly. “It was nothing fancy, the food, just good. My mother would tell me to go away, don’t come in the kitchen. I was a boy, I was meant to be helping my dad. I was more into being naughty.” A favourite game involved knocking on the doors in the village and running away – a trick that once had his mother removing her slipper and flinging it at his retreating back. In Britain, Pizarro worked for a series of Spanish restaurants, including the now-closed Gaudi, and set up the Spanish importer Brindisa’s restaurants. Persuading Britons to eat real Spanish food was an uphill struggle at METHOD Break the bread into a bowl and sprinkle with 250ml water. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. Quarter the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds into a sieve set over another bowl. Roughly chop the flesh and rub the juices from the seeds through the sieve. Discard the seeds. Put the tomato flesh and juices into a liquidiser with the garlic and sugar, if using, and blend until smooth. Squeeze as much water as you can from the bread, add to the liquidiser and blend once more, then with the motor still running, pour in the oil, the vinegar and one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt. Leave to chill for at least two hours. Before serving the soup, lower the eggs into a pan of boiling water and cook for nine minutes. Drain, cover with cold water, and when cold, peel off the shells and chop into small pieces. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add two slices of ham and fry for about 30 seconds on each side until crisp and golden. Lift on to kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining ham. Once cold, crumble into small pieces. To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with the egg, ham and olives. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and serve. Chargrilled leg of lamb with a fennel and lentil salad This is a wonderful recipe to barbecue, but you can get the same effect by starting it off on a large ridged griddle to give it a good colour and smoky flavour, then transfer to the oven in a roasting dish to finish it off. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS ½ tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns 2 tbsp chopped herb fennel or fennel fronds For the fennel and lentil salad 1 large bulb fennel 300g green lentils, such as pardina 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Finely grated zest of ½ lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice 150g black olives, pitted METHOD Mix the oil, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and pepper together in a dish with a pinch of salt. Add the lamb, turn it over a few times to coat well, then cover and leave to marinate 2.5kg leg of lamb, butterflied For the marinade 6 tbsp olive oil Leaves from 1 large rosemary sprig, finely chopped 2 large garlic cloves, crushed Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon at room temperature for at least an hour or in the fridge overnight. If you are barbecuing your lamb, preheat the barbecue to high. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. To make the salad, thinly slice the fennel bulb, drop the slices into a bowl of iced water and leave in the fridge to crisp up. Put the lentils into a pan, cover by 5cm with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until just cooked, adding a teaspoon of salt five minutes before the end of cooking. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, lemon juice and zest, with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the lentils and place in a bowl with the lemon dressing. Leave to cool. Season the lamb with salt and place, skin-side down, on the barbecue and cook for 12-15 minutes on each side, moving it around to avoid any flare-ups. Alternatively, preheat a ridged griddle over a high heat, reduce the heat and griddle the lamb for five to seven minutes on each side. Then transfer to a roasting tin and roast for 20-25 minutes. The meat is cooked to medium when it is 60C at its thickest part. Lift it on to a board, wrap loosely in foil and leave to rest for five to 10 minutes. To finish the salad, drain the sliced fennel and dry it well. Stir this into the lentils with the black olives, herb fennel or fronds, and a little more seasoning to taste. Carve the lamb into slices and serve with the salad. 9 10 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** Braised peas and jamón with eggs FOOD & DRINK Roast chicken with cava and apples J CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 EMMA LEE first. Nouvelle cuisine was still in evidence, and the big plates of Hispanic food, all about flavour rather than presentation, seemed bemusingly rustic to some. “People didn’t know our flavours and ingredients,” he explained. Now every year Pizarro sells 500 whole hams of jamón ibérico – costing around £500 each – at his three London restaurants, at around £20 for a plateful. “I would never have thought that would happen when I arrived,” he said, helping himself to a sliver of the ham from the plate on the kitchen island. But fewer than two decades on, he not only has three restaurants, but four bestselling cookery books on Spanish food to his name. The second, Spanish Flavours, has just been republished and there is a fifth on the way, based on the cooking of his beloved Extremadura and neighbouring Andalusia. No wonder the Spanish government has recognised him for his success promoting their food. The key to great Spanish cooking, Pizarro told me, is the ingredients. “They have to be amazing or you can’t do anything. Never cut corners. Eating with your friends at home – it’s what it is all about.” Like his mother’s slipper, right on target. Spanish Flavours by José Pizarro (Kyle Books, £16.99) is out now, available at books.telegraph.co.uk THE SPANISH STORE CUPBOARD The ingredients José Pizarro can’t do without dressings. PIMENTON AKA SPANISH SMOKED PAPRIKA SAFFRON Essential to give the proper smokiness to Spanish dishes. La Chinata pimenton, £2 for 70g, sainsburys. co.uk VERMOUTH VINEGAR There’s more to Spanish vinegar than sherry vinegar. Try gentle cava vinegar (a favourite with chef Mitch Tonks) and the vermouth version, a staple of Pizarro’s salad Vermouth vinegar £8.65, lunya.co.uk The best quality saffron comes from La Mancha region. La Molineta saffron, £14.25 for 2g, bascofinefoods. com RICE Spanish dishes taste best when made with Spanish rice. Calasparra paella rice, £5.25 for 1kg, souschef.co.uk JAMÓN IBÉRICO Nothing compares to the intense savouriness of jamón ibérico, Iberian ham This dish was very popular when I was a student. It is easy to make and filling – perfect for your pocket. These braised peas (without the egg) would make a lovely side dish, maybe with a piece of grilled chicken or fish. You can bake this recipe in small, individual dishes as well – easy for a simple supper for one after work. from pata negra pigs. The finest is marked “bellota”, meaning the pigs are fed with nothing but acorns foraged in woodland for at least the last two months of their life: 5J ham is acorn fed for three months. Cinco Jotas (5J) ham, prices vary, cincojotas.co.uk OLIVE OIL José Pizarro is launching his own extra virgin olive oil, made with Morisca olives. Available from Pizarro restaurants and at josepizarro. com in a few weeks, £15 for 500ml. In Spain, roast chicken is not traditionally served with a slightly thickened gravy like in the UK, but after living here for 10 years or more, I like to do some things the British way. However, I take a tip from my mother and combine chicken with apples, which doesn’t seem to be very British. Why not? It’s delicious, especially if you serve it with some more cava! SERVES TWO INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp olive oil 100g finely chopped shallot 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 450g shelled peas, fresh or frozen 100ml homemade chicken stock 75g thinly sliced serrano ham, finely shredded 2 extra-large, free-range eggs METHOD Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the shallot and garlic, cover and cook gently for five minutes until soft but not browned. Stir in the peas and chicken stock, part-cover and simmer for five minutes until the peas are tender and the liquid has reduced to leave them just moist. Stir in the serrano ham, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Break the eggs on top of the peas, season lightly and cover the pan. Leave to cook gently for five minutes, or until the eggs are set to your liking. This is delicious eaten with some crusty fresh bread. SERVES FOUR TO SIX INGREDIENTS 1.5kg free-range chicken 4 fresh bay leaves 2 large thyme sprigs Olive oil, for greasing the bird 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 bottle chilled cava 4 small dessert apples, such as Cox 25g butter, plus 1 tsp, softened 2 tsp caster sugar ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 100ml chicken stock 1 tsp plain flour METHOD Preheat the oven to 200C/ Gas 6. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and then stuff with the bay leaves and thyme. Tie the legs together with string, then rub all over with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place into the centre of a large roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and scatter the onions and garlic around the chicken. Stir them into the cooking juices, season lightly, pour 50ml of cava over the bird and return it to the oven for 45 minutes, basting it every 10 minutes with another 50ml of cava. While the chicken is roasting, quarter, core and peel the apples and cut them into small wedges. Melt 25g butter in a frying pan, add the apples and fry them for two minutes until they begin to brown. Turn the slices over, sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon and continue to fry for a further two minutes until they are just tender and nicely golden. Remove from the heat. When the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear, lift it on to a board, wrap it in foil and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Scoop the onions out of the roasting juices, add them to the apples and mix well together. Season lightly to taste and keep warm over a low heat. Tip the roasting tin so that the remaining pan juices pool at one end and skim off the excess fat. Then place the tin over a medium high heat, add another 100ml of the cava and the stock and rub the base of the tin with a wooden spoon to release all the caramelised juices. Strain into a small pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced and well-flavoured. Mix the soft butter with the plain flour, whisk it into the gravy and simmer gently for two to three minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken. Spoon some onions and apples on to each warmed plate and put the chicken on top. Pour over the gravy and serve. The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** Pan-fried sea bream with a salad of oranges, red onion, capers and black olives The region of Valencia is famous for its citrus groves and particularly its oranges. There they regularly make a salad using flaked salt cod, oranges, onion and black olives, but I like to serve it with a cooked fillet of fish. This salad is also lovely made with blood oranges when they are in season. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS For the salad 4 small oranges 1 small red onion 4 tsp small capers, rinsed and drained 16 black olives, pitted and halved For the vinaigrette 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tbsp sherry vinegar 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish For the fish 8 x 75g fillets sea bream 1 tbsp olive oil METHOD Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each orange Orange, almond and pine nut tartlets These little tarts are so moreish. The flavours combine to create a not-too-sweet pastry that can be savoured any time of the day. They are perfect for a dinner party dessert or warm from the oven for a teatime treat. 65g icing sugar 125g chilled butter, cut into pieces Finely grated zest of ½ large orange 1 large egg yolk 4 tsp orange juice INGREDIENTS For the filling 175g butter, softened 175g caster sugar Finely grated zest of 2 small oranges 2 large free-range eggs 40g self-raising flour 175g ground almonds 75g pine nuts, toasted 40g chopped mixed peel, plus extra to decorate 4 tbsp shredless marmalade, to glaze For the pastry 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting METHOD For the pastry, sift the MAKES EIGHT INDIVIDUAL TARTLETS OR ONE 23CM TART flour and icing sugar into a food processor with a pinch of salt. Add the butter and orange zest and process briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolk briefly with the orange juice. Tip the crumbed mixture into a bowl, stir in the egg yolk and orange mixture and bring the dough together into a ball. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes, then remove from the fridge and, if making individual tartlets, cut into eight pieces. Thinly roll out the pastry and use to line either eight 10cm, lightly buttered tartlet cases with sides 4cm deep or one 23cm, loose-based tart tin with sides 4cm deep. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Put a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat it to 200C/Gas 6. Line the pastry case(s) with foil and a thin layer of baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for a further three minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/Gas 3. For the filling, beat the butter, sugar and orange zest together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding the flour with the final addition. Fold in the almonds, pine nuts and chopped peel. Spoon the mixture into the case(s) and smooth over the tops. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes for the individual tarts, 35-40 minutes for the large tart, until golden, and a skewer, inserted into the centre, comes away clean. Remove the tart(s) from the oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, warm the marmalade with two teaspoons of water in a small pan. Brush the tart(s) generously with the marmalade, scatter with the remaining mixed peel and serve warm or cold. 11 and slice away all the skin, ensuring the white pith is completely removed. Then cut either side of each segment of fruit, close to the dividing membrane, down into the centre of the fruit, and place into a bowl. Halve the onion and very thinly slice it, on a mandoline if possible, then separate the slices. Add them to the bowl of orange segments with the capers and black olives and mix together gently. For the vinaigrette, whisk the orange juice, sherry vinegar and olive oil together in a small bowl and add some seasoning to taste. Stir in the chopped parsley. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Rub the bream fillets with oil and season on both sides. Add the fillets, skin-side down, and cook for four to five minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Carefully turn the fillets over with a palette knife and cook for a further two minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to finish cooking in the heat of the pan. Gently stir four teaspoons of the vinaigrette into the salad and adjust the seasoning to taste. Spoon some of the salad on to each plate and rest the fish fillets on top. Drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette over the fish and serve garnished with the parsley. These tartlets are perfect for a dinner party dessert or warm from the oven for a teatime treat Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** FOOD & DRINK Go the whole hog with a rustic Victorian feast At least the peasants of the 19th century had the occasional blowout to look forward to STEPHEN HARRIS I recently read a news item which suggested that the healthiest diet ever recorded had been that of a Victorian farm worker or peasant. I have to admit I was very pleased: I had always thought, somewhere deep in the back of my mind, that this must be the case. It might be due to an overexposure to Victorian literature at a young age. Try as Thomas Hardy might to ruin everything with his fatalism, I still wanted to work on Bathsheba’s farm. Charles Dickens wrote about the harsh world of the new urban working class. But reading Hardy, I still felt the country life might be a good one – my rose-tinted, young-fogeyish specs filtered out the suffering in Far from the Madding Crowd, and saw only the rural idyll. The rhythm of life in the country is important, as it gives hope in winter, when all can seem grim and gloomy. The celebration of summer at harvest time is something to be shared with the army of pickers and workers on the harvest. In Britain we lost something by being the first country to industrialise and I think it was a certain closeness to the land. The 1851 British census was the first record of any society where more people lived in the cities than on the land. As the peasant class dwindled, we lost the deep roots of our food culture – roots that survived longer, and to some extent persist today, on the European mainland. This disconnect between city and countryside is particularly stark when you think about seasonality. The different stages of the agricultural year have a built-in logic: bleak winter slowly turns to spring, when the cultivation of the land for summer is a process that brings hope, and the need to preserve that abundance means that the bleakness of winter can be offset with careful planning. At least until the weather intervenes. Today’s recipe is exactly the kind of thing that a Victorian country dweller might have eaten as a bit of a celebration. Obviously, they wouldn’t have been able to eat a shoulder of pork every weekend, but this recipe will feed a lot of people with little fuss. If the recipe had a name it would be something like “pork boulangère”: it is simply a shoulder of pork laid upon well-seasoned potatoes and onions. Ensuring that the cooking vessel has a good depth means that the potatoes and onions steam as they cook, the fat is released by the pork, and its skin develops a good crackle – meaning that the dish needs little attention. It could be brought to the boulangerie or bakery and cooked in his oven along with those of other villagers who had no oven of their own. I would just give one warning and that would be the age and size of the pig. Experience suggests that the skin of a larger animal will not give good crackling, so my advice is to press it. If it feels hard, then remove the thin outer layer of skin as it won’t give you a good crackle – it’ll more likely break your teeth. If the pig is younger, and the outer layer of skin is soft when pressed, then scoring and salting will give you great crackling. So if you’re feeling nostalgic, crack open a Thomas Hardy – he is also now not just a fine novelist but a great beer – and wallow in misplaced romanticism as you pile into this rustic feast of a dish. Stephen Harris is chef-patron of The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, whose many awards include the No. 1 slot in the latest Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards ANDREW TWORT & ANNIE HUDSON FOR THE TELEGRAPH 12 Roast shoulder of pork with potatoes and onions Olive oil, for rubbing the pork Sea salt Apple sauce, mustard and savoy cabbage, to serve Any leftovers make great sandwiches. METHOD Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Slice the onions thinly and scatter in the bottom of a roasting tray with a decent-sized depth (about 8cm), and of a size that snugly fits the shoulder. This allows the potatoes and onions to steam while the pork roasts and crisps. Using a mandolin, cut the potatoes into thin slices and mix with the onions in the roasting tin. Season SERVES SIX TO EIGHT INGREDIENTS 2 large onions 3 large baking potatoes 1 star anise 4kg shoulder of pork (I find that if the skin is soft to a prodding finger you will get good crackling. If the skin is hard then it is better to remove it as you will only get tough skin, despite it looking good) these well and add the star anise. Score the skin of the pork so that the knife penetrates the outer layer. Rub oil on to the pork and then sprinkle with salt. Lay the pork shoulder on top of the onions and potatoes. Roast the pork for about four hours until the skin has turned to crackling. Allow the meat to rest in the roasting tin for at least 30 minutes. This will ensure the juices cool and some will be absorbed by the potatoes. Next, move the pork shoulder to a carving board. It should be possible to run the knife along the bone of the shoulder and carve downwards to get good slices of meat. Serve the slices of meat with the potato and onions, which will have absorbed the juices and fat from the pork. I like to serve this with apple sauce, mustard and savoy cabbage. The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 13 *** and burgundy, said: “I’ve tried a lot of wine from different countries, and after that I thought, ‘Australian wine is very good’.” There have been no end of myths generated around China and its potential for making – but more especially consuming and buying – wine. Most prevalent is the idea of China as a two-headed dragon, that on the one hand (or, rather, head) might suck the world’s vineyards dry and create a global wine shortage; on the other, that might begin to produce its own wine on a vast scale, the likes of which the world has never seen. f you’re still laughing at At first the story of China and its stories of Chinese wine adventures in wine was all about fine drinkers ordering Lafite, wine, initially from Bordeaux, now and then diluting it with also Burgundy. Its impact on the fine Coca-Cola, you’re out of wine market has been well date. Chinese taste has documented: in the years preceding become more 2011 Asian buyers sent the price of top sophisticated, and more bordeaux into orbit, before a crash educated, and it’s happened very from which prices are now recovering. quickly. A more telling tale is the one We also hear a lot about the Chinese of businessman Wang Zhe from penchant for buying minor Bordeaux Guangzhou who recently pitched up chateaux – about 160 are thought to be at a Hunter Valley vineyard wearing a in Chinese hands, though last year red hoody and Prada loafers, and Jane Anson, Bordeaux expert for announced he liked the 10-year-old Decanter, warned that up to 40 of chardonnay he was drinking so much those “could be back on the market”. that he’d like to buy the entire vintage. Now the Chinese thirst is Wang Zhe, whose cellar is diversifying. The story of Wang Zhe is apparently already full of bordeaux telling. China imported 746 million litres of wine last year, almost double the volume that went CHATEAU MUSAR 2006, recommendations I made CHA into the country BEKAA VALLEY, BE in my top wines under £10 in 2013, according LE (14%, Waitrose, list. Wow. If you want some LEBANON to Chinese £1 £18.74 down from £24.99 you had better hurry. Also customs un until 3 April) e incredible grab one of these informatio This information. mags of mellow, barrelequiva is equivalent to C Chateau Musar is still aged rioja, made by La tha half of more than L Lebanon’s most famous th and Rioja Alta. Smooth wi all the wine re red: a very unmodern us bottle round, a luxurious produced in bl blend of cabernet ends. to share with friends. Austral (As it Australia. sa sauvignon, syrah and happe happens, AUSTRALIAN ci cinsault, with a farmyard Austra Australian SHIRAZ 2017, w ul of whiff and a noseful i wine is A AUSTR 4%, AUSTRALIA (14%, fu furniture polish. This is exper experiencing M&S, £ £5.50) ch it a good chance to catch Chin a Chinese at on offer, and it’s great boom thanks boom, So juicy juic is this very y if with lamb, especially to a fr free-trade easystralian easy-going Australian spices are involved. agreem agreement red that t I’m signed at the MAGNUM OF THE tem all it tempted to call end of 2015 SOCIETY’S beau eets beaujolais meets st that steadily JA EXHIBITION RIOJA shir shiraz. All im cut import 2010, SPAIN (13.5%, mul mulberries, tariffs, which will The Wine Society, £30) 0) blac blackcurrants and red be scrapped plum plums, it’s smooth and completely in es I’ve just seen the sales brig bright and very 2019. According figures for TWS goo good value. to figures from China isn’t just an importer of prestige reds – it’s set to become a producer on a vast scale VICTORIA MOORE I WINES OF THE WEEK W Wine Australia, last year wine exports to mainland China rose by 54 per cent in volume, to 153 million litres.) The lion’s share of what China imported was red – Chinese wine drinkers still prefer its prestige – but among whites, chardonnay and riesling are popular. The effect is noticeable: buyers from British supermarkets tell me they are beginning to find it harder to source cheaper Australian wine because so much of it is being shipped to China. For some new wine producers elsewhere in the world, such as those making English sparkling wine, the Asian market is key to the business plan. But China has vineyards, too. Accurate statistics are hard to come by but Lenz Moser, an Austrian who makes wine there, refers me to Alibaba Buyers tell me it is harder to find cheap Australian wine because so much is shipped to China Big Data which I suspect is still best treated as a best guess, rather than gospel. According to this, China produced 1.137 billion litres of wine in 2016. I recently tried some of them at an event put on by the International Wine and Spirit Competition. The tasting consisted of bottles that had been entered into the competition and were considered good enough to win a medal. I can’t pretend I will be putting any on my drinking list, but what struck me was the clear sense of progress. The whites had a credible freshness and tasted of the grapes they were made of (this is not always the case with emerging region wines). The reds weren’t quite on track, but they were closer than I had antic anticipated, and some had a pleasing Bord Bordelais herbal quali Many of the quality. wine were from wines Xinji Xinjiang, in the nor north-west where, acc according to The Oxf Oxford Companion to Wi Wine, 21.5 per cent of Ch China’s vineyards are pla planted. A number cam from Ningxia, an came autonomous region about 750 B miles from Beijing. “In so far as peop think of Ningxia Chinese people pl at all, it is as a place of deprivation backwardness according to and backwardness,” Jiayang Fan, writing in The New Yorker. Ningxia accounts for a smaller China vineyards but it percentage of China’s kn is becoming well known outside China and offers an illustration of how we might expect to see Chinese wine yea In Ningxia, grow in coming years. they have set about making wine with diligent persistence and ambition. g There has been government win route similar to investment in a wine the ones you find in France. Alibab Big Data, According to Alibaba Ningxia has 100 act active wineries, with a further 80 under construction and 50 that have applie applied for a warrant. The vineyard area covers acre 79,000 acres and is set to by double by 2020. To put this into conte context, Marlborough, in New Zealand, Ze has 59,000 ac 59,000 acres. Eu The European luxury goods con conglomerate LVMH h invested here, establishing Chandon China Chi in 2013. The sparkling wine outpost outp makes fizz from locally grown g grapes, to be drunk on the local market and claims to have produced the first Chinese sparkling wine “to international standards”. It’s also in Ningxia that Moser works, based at Chateau ChangyuMoser, a winery that looks like a cartoon French chateau, complete with moat, a string of fountains, and that most modern of accoutrements, a 54,000 sq ft tasting room. The extraordinary chateau cost €70 million (£61.35 million), and was constructed in an impressive two years flat. It’s as potent a symbol as any of the potential force of China’s relatively new entry into the modern wine world. Now we watch to see where it goes. ILLUSTRATION: ZOË BARKER FOR THE TELEGRAPH The riddle of the two-headed thirsty dragon 14 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** DAYS OUT DAY T R I P P E R This Scottish market town thrives on its links to Burns – but that’s just how its people like it, says Tom Ough ALAMY; IAN RUTHERFORD FOR THE TELEGRAPH T here are more than a few British towns that are best viewed in total darkness. Dumfries is one of them, but before its residents fill my pockets with red sandstone and hurl me into the river Nith, let me explain – by way of a trip to its famous camera obscura. It’s lunchtime on a grey Wednesday in Dumfries, and I’m standing in the small, round, creaky-floored room at the top of a decommissioned windmill. It’s pitch black: I can see precisely nothing. Then the museum attendant (for the windmill is part of the Dumfries Museum) pulls a rope, an aperture opens above us, and Dumfries appears on the drum-like tabletop in the middle of the room. There’s the red of the sandstone, the green of the grass, the silver of the cars that are snaking across the New Bridge. Birds swoop across the fulminating weir. It’s a projection (entering via a small shutter, light is reflected downwards by a mirror and, passing through a convex lens, casts an image on to the table), but the detail is exquisite and the movement of the people, water and birds has a fluidity that I’ve never seen on a television screen. “We try very hard not to look into people’s houses,” says the attendant hastily. The camera obscura was built in 1836, a time when Scotland was rosy-cheeked with Enlightenment endeavour. It was funded by local astronomy enthusiasts, and is the oldest continuously operated one in Scotland. This makes it Dumfries’ second-biggest claim to fame – with a tip of the hat to its being named Scotland’s happiest town last October – the first being its association with Robert Burns. There is so much Burns here, indeed, that lying in a darkened room seems the only appropriate response. Scotland’s national poet lived here from 1788 until his premature death in 1796, pen-pushing at an excise house by day and constructing lyrical Scots nationhood by night. He was doing L E T ’ S V I S I T… DUMFRIES Dumfries THE MUSEUM There’s lots of local history besides Burns, including Roman occupation. Find out more at the excellent Dumfries Museum – where you can also find the camera obscura. THE WALK Dumfries was a finalist for the Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood award this year, and while the town as a whole isn’t particularly pretty, its historic riverside area is a good place for a stroll. Try the Burns Trail – more details in the Robert much more by night, in fact, drinking in pubs that survive to this day and fathering several of his 12 children here. Many of Dumfries’ 50,000-odd inhabitants must be direct descendants, which might help explain the town’s devotion to him. As we changed the direction of the shutter with gentle pulls of a rope, a wider spread of Dumfries fell upon the tabletop, including the Burns Mausoleum, where even in a churchyard – kirkyard, I mean – full of preposterously ornate red sandstone tombs, Burns’ is the finest. The remains of Burns, along with those of his wife Jean Armour, lie beneath a gravestone that is visible through a glass pane and a wrought iron gate. When goggling at the grave earlier, I trod in the footsteps of one John Keats, who wrote a poem about his visit to the tomb. Keats, too, understood the discomfort of visiting a windy graveyard on a wet day in March, writing in the poem that “The shortliv’d, paly summer is but won/ From winter’s ague for one hour’s gleam.” Fortunately, it’s very easy to pay Burns the respect of visiting his favourite pubs. After leaving the camera obscura, I followed in his The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 TAKE THE HIGH ROAD Devorgilla Bridge is one of Scotland’s oldest *** THE POET NAT I O N O F SHOPKEEPERS The Robert Burns Centre and the Robert Burns House are good places to learn about Rabbie’s life and work. Celebrating Britain’s unique retailers SIMONE PICKERING MISS PICKERING, STAMFORD I went to school here in Stamford; that’s how I knew about the building. It was built in 1463 and over the years has been just about everything. In living memory, it was a cobbler’s. An elderly gentleman sometimes comes in; he worked here when he was 11, running the shoes back to clients. Then it was a fishing tackle shop, then a jeweller’s, a mobile phone shop – and for 10 years it’s been my florist’s. Valentine, my whippet, is the second shop dog; he’s only three. He’s incredibly popular – I don’t really know what all the sensation is about. He sits in the window as that’s his favourite place, so we’re known as the shop with the dog in the window. We have a running joke as to how many people are coming to see the dog and how many to buy flowers. I think overall it’s the flowers, but a huge number come for Valentine. I think Mother’s Day is my favourite occasion. We get little ones with their pocket money coming in for a bunch for their mums, which I adore. I suggest flowers such as ranunculus and hellebores; they’re all so beautifully scented and coloured. Living in a small town, I have plenty of regulars. There’s a gentleman who orders flowers for his mother to be delivered, and I’ve never met him, even though I’ve been talking to him for 12 years. My regulars aren’t necessarily people who come in every week or every year. THE FOOD footsteps by going to the Globe Inn, a cosy, wood-panelled pub whose stone walls made me invisible to the camera obscura’s wandering eye. Doonhamers (the people of Dumfries) are such a friendly, unflappable crew that I doubt they mind the idea of appearing on the camera obscura tabletop. Perhaps, in idle moments, they wonder how they look from up there. Fortunately, Burns is good for unwitting surveillance as well as the beauty of Scottish life and language: “O, wad some Power the giftie gie us/ To see ourselves as others see us!”. THE MAUSOLEUM It’s in St Michael’s Kirkyard, which is up the hill from the river and would be worth a trip even if Burns had never been buried here. ANDREW FOX FOR THE TELEGRAPH THE PUB For Rabbie-tinged history, visit the High Street’s Globe Inn. For a modern local favourite, visit the Cavens Arms. You’ll need a booking, but try Home, the restaurant above the Coach and Horses inn that overlooks the river. Its menu is mostly British and French fare, and the food is easily the best in town. Sometimes you never meet these people and yet you become so familiar with them. I love interacting with my customers face to face, and that’s why I started photographing them for my Instagram account. I was getting so bored of endless pictures of flowers – when floristry is your job, that’s all you see. I wanted to bring the shop alive so that people would understand that it’s not just about the flowers. It’s much more about people. I’ve always got a camera set up in the shop. Some people will actively try to get Florist floor: Simone Pickering themselves in a picture; some you’ll have to ask. Generally it’s the more eccentric ones who want to do it. We’re now turning the pictures into a book. I love being able to give little insights into an interesting corner of Middle England. Some of the time fact is stranger than fiction. Someone once said floristry is about people and flowers are just a pretty accomplice. We deal with people at such joyful times and such sad times, sometimes in the space of a day, so you have to have an understanding of human nature to do it well. Interview by Pip Sloan Doggy in the window: Valentine 7 St Paul’s St, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2BE; misspickeringflowers. squarespace.com Instagram: @misspickering 15 16 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** FAMILY LIFE THREE’S COMPANY Princess Charlotte, right, can discover a happy medium Is being the middle child really as bad as they say? ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; JULIAN SIMMONDS With a third child on the way for the Cambridges, it’s a hot parenting topic. Catalina Stogdon investigates the pros and cons of fitting in at the centre C hristian Hood showed all the classic signs of “middle child syndrome”. Squeezed between an older sister and younger brother, he suffered from low self-esteem and constantly sought attention, which translated into being disruptive at school and getting into fights with his older brother. It drove his parents up the wall – and straight to parenting school. “I used to feel guilty that I was an awful parent and that my children were doomed,” says his mother, Melissa Hood, a former solicitor. But a parenting course they took when Christian was seven changed everything. “It transformed our family life,” she says. “My husband and I learnt how to look at the children differently and realised they weren’t just doing things to wind us up.” Christian was dyslexic and his behaviour meant him being heaped in “negative” attention. “We learned to turn it into positive attention – and the bad behaviour dropped away.” Christian, now 28, is a successful graphic designer, with a baby daughter of his own. Hood was so inspired by the classes she attended for her middle son that she retrained as a parenting coach (theparentpractice.com) and has been helping families regain equilibrium for the past 18 years. The concept of “middle child syndrome” – where middle children feel they miss out on parental attention and are overlooked in favour of their siblings – has become a hot topic in the parenting world of late, due partly to the imminent arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child – and the position in which it will place Princess Charlotte. Type the words “middle child syndrome” into online parenting platforms and all manner of hysterical threads rear their ugly heads. On Netmums, with its seven million monthly users, some parents blame the scenario for all of their middle-born’s ills, while others admit they have considered not having a third child for fear of destroying their family balance. “Our generation is much more conscious of birth order, mainly from our own personal experience,” says Annie O’Leary, editor in chief of Netmums and a mother of two. “Mothers who are middle children themselves often feel that they were ignored as children and make an effort not to pass that treatment on to their own offspring.” But parents need not despair, says Linda Blair, the Telegraph columnist, who has researched the effects of birth order for 25 years, after becoming intrigued by the patterns displayed by her three children. Along with the way our parents raise us, and genetics, Blair considers birth order to be the most important factor in shaping our personality. However, she does not believe that being a middle child should be treated as though it were a type of disorder. “There are problems and advantages to every birth position,” she says. “Parents should play on the positives and help children cope with the negatives.” Statistics suggest a middle child is the one who is least likely to seek psychological help in their life, Blair, a clinical psychologist, observes. “They are usually well adjusted because they have to contend with people under and above them. A middle child is a negotiator; they make good team players.” Hood, a middle child in a family of five siblings, never felt disadvantaged growing up. “The first child occupies a space where they have the full attention of their parents, but they also suffer all their parents’ lack of expertise. By the time the second and third come along, parents are more relaxed.” Bundy Mumford, 38, a mother of two who lives in south-east London, considers herself fortunate to have been in the middle position growing up. “I never felt ignored or overlooked. I didn’t have to do everything first, like being the first at school, so it was less scary for me. And my friendships with my siblings was very close as there wasn’t a big age gap between us. My older sister always bangs on about how her position was the worst.” Not every grouping of children is the same, of course. The closer the age range, the more likely that children will compete for parental attention and the greater their rivalry. The same sex heightens this even more; I see it with ‘I never felt ignored… my older sister always bangs on about how her position was the worst’ my three sons (there are two years between each). My middle child will sometimes scream to have his voice heard, or adopt a “punch first, ask questions later” strategy (he’s three, so let’s hope it’s a phase). However, Dr Catherine Salmon, associate professor of psychology at the University of Redlands, California, who started researching birth order 24 years ago, argues that being the middle child is actually the best spot in the family pecking order. In her book, The Secret Power of Middle Children (Penguin), Dr Salmon contends that middle-borns, although overlooked when younger, often go on to be agents of change in business, politics, and science – more so than firstborns or the youngest. “Middles are self-aware and flexible, they tend to deal well with others – in the workplace and at home. History shows them to be trailblazers.” So what of the royal soon-to-be trio? “If the Duchess of Cambridge has another boy, Charlotte will be in a unique position and therefore won’t be the classic middle child,” says Salmon. “If it’s another girl, there may be significant rivalry; suddenly she’s not the only princess any more – literally.” But is it time for parents to stop feeling guilty that the child at the centre is missing out? “The only guilt you may feel is that you are going to be a little more tired, because you now have two hands for three children,” says Blair. “Parents shouldn’t worry about not giving the kids the same amount of attention every day,” adds Dr Salmon. “It’s an impossible task. Better to have a natural relationship with your children, and not overthink, which leads to neurotic parenting. That doesn’t help anyone.” PARENTING MIDDLE CHILDREN Foster different interests in all of your children and don’t get hung up on treating everyone identically. It helps the younger ones work out where they fit in. In a busy family, schedule one-to-one time with each child. Use staggered bedtimes to give each child individual attention. If a child complains of not getting enough attention, empathise with them rather than justifying your position. It will make them feel appreciated. Don’t compare your children – it can make them feel inferior. Saying: “Why can’t you be more responsible like your older sister?” is never helpful. BRAIN GAMES The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** X1 Our pull-out on the last Saturday of every month, with a great selection of puzzles to challenge you Solutions on last page of Brain Games Solutions on last page of Brain Games X2 *** Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph BRAIN GAMES The prize competition solutions will appear in Brain Games on April 28. If you would like to receive a copy of the answers before then, please email email@example.com or send an SAE to: Puzzle Answers 31/3/18, “Saturday”, Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 0DT. Today’s answers, plus the Feb 24 prize solutions, are on the last page of Brain Games The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** Telegraph Puzzles The website for games lovers puzzles.telegraph.co.uk Solutions on last page of Brain Games X3 X4 *** BRAIN GAMES SOLUTIONS Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph Telegraph Puzzles Access thousands of games and puzzles puzzles.telegraph.co.uk All new Telegraph puzzle books ONLY £5.99 EACH Call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk Offer price valid at time of printing. Please add £1.99 for Standard Shipping or £3.99 for Premium for all orders. Lines open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-5:30pm and Sunday 10am-2pm. Calls cost no more than 5p per minute from BT landlines (other networks may vary). Please refer to the Data Protection Notice in today’s Personal Column. The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 17 *** E X P E RT T TIPS Gardening Helen Yemm,, Stephen Lacey n Lace ey and Jackk Wallington gton Pages 21 & 24 J O B S T O D O N OW / R E P T O N F O R B E G I N N E R S / N EW FAC E S AT C H E L S E A SOW ANNUALS JONATHAN MOSELEY FLORIST, BROADCASTER AND WRITER Start sowing seeds of cut flowers to get some quick colour back into the border. I’d personally recommend cornflowers (shown far right) – I adore the dark red ‘Black Ball’, it is so beautiful! – together with a mixture of pink, blue and white love-in-a-mist (nigella); these should be in flower by early June. Plant Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’ to arrive a little later. Create an Easter table arrangement by lining a basket or old terracotta pot with plastic and putting a loosely scrunched ball of chicken wire into it. Fill it with foliage such as golden choisya, variegated euonymus, pieris and stems of forsythia, together with narcissi, grape hyacinths and Anemone blanda. Alternatively, use twisted stems of willow or hazel to make an Easter tree. Arrange them in a heavy vase and hang eggs from the branches. Around the base add ranunculus or, for a real statement, you could use pots of Fritillaria imperialis. If it’s cold, there is no shame in going to the florists for plant material – anything to bring colour to our lives! ( jonathanmoseley.com). SPRING TO ACTION Warmer soil gives you the chance to sow seeds outside CHECK SOIL TEMPERATURE JEKKA MCVICAR HERB EXPERT My tip for checking whether the soil is warm enough to sow seeds outside is if you can sit on it without knickers. If you garden on an allotment this may be embarrassing, however, in which case use the back of your hand or elbow, as if testing the temperature of a baby’s bathwater. Jekka’s Herbetum is open April 6 and 7 ( jekkasherbfarm.com). MARK DIACONO GARDENER, COOK It’s not strictly necessary, but I always chit potatoes – partly because I always It’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for A couple of mild days (fingers crossed) is all it takes to get your plot summer-ready. Naomi Slade quizzed the experts for ideas to get you started MULCH BORDERS STEPHEN CRISP HEAD GARDENER AT WINFIELD HOUSE Mulching is an important job for this weekend. Use home-made compost or other organic material to lock in the moisture and set the garden up for the year. It is also time to deadhead hydrangeas and cut back half-hardy sub-shrubs such as caryopteris and BUILD RAISED BEDS, SOW TOMATOES MICHELLE CHAPMAN GARDEN BLOGGER AND ALLOTMENTEER Easter is a great weekend to start projects, as you have enough time to get them done. I am a big fan of raised beds – you can make them yourself using scaffolding boards from a DIY shop or those from woodblocx.co. uk are extremely effective. Raised beds keep early sowings out of the wet and you can sow salads and carrots now, no matter how small a space you have – just put a bit of horticultural fleece or a cloche over the top if the weather goes cold again. On my allotment you see lots of people putting up pea and bean netting, ahead of planting out. I also shred my spring prunings and use them to mulch the pathways, as it will save time later. It is not too late to plant out raspberries, as long as they are pot-grown and not bare-root, and you can certainly still sow tomatoes indoors. I will be trying ‘Losetto’, from Mr Fothergills this year, as it is said to have some blight resistance and you can plant it out as late as July and still get a crop – a good one for those playing catch-up (veg plotting.blogspot.co.uk). santolina. Annuals fill gaps and are long flowering and colourful, so sow cleome and nicotiana. Take time to think about what you expect from your garden and evaluate what needs to be done, while you still have time. Other than that, eat lots of chocolate eggs! have and partly because it is a way of quietly stating that it’s time to get on with it. All potatoes do well when planted at this time of year, but ‘Pink Fir Apple’, ‘International Kidney’ (aka ‘Jersey Royal’) and ‘Vitelotte’ are on my list every year for their flavour. I place each potato eyes up in an egg box in good light to develop shoots ahead of planting. When the shoots reach 2cm or so, into the soil they go (otterfarm.com). GETTY; GAP; HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY; ANDY BOAG; JASON INGRAM CHIT POTATOES 18 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** GARDENING GET DAHLIAS STARTED A HELPING HAND Ditching new pots at the tills means using less plastic MIRANDA JANATKA KEW TROPICAL NURSERY SUE BEESLEY BLUEBELL COTTAGE GARDENS & NURSERY Gardening has a green and wholesome image, but a total dependence on plastic is its less eco-friendly secret. Short-lived black plastic is everywhere, precisely because it doesn’t break down when exposed to the heat and damp of a plant nursery – unlike biodegradable alternatives. At my nursery we’ve been thinking hard about how to reduce our plastic usage without putting off customers through higher prices or inconvenience. We’re moving towards labels that stick on to the pot rather than into it – they’re still plastic but use much less. This year we’ll also trial biodegradable labels to see how long they last. We only use sturdy reusable carry trays which last 10 years or so. And we’re offering customers the option to de-pot their plants at the checkout, leaving pots behind for reuse. We’ve recently launched a completely plastic-free mail order option, using waxed paper and gummed paper tape. It takes about twice as long to pack, but we’re taking that on the chin in the spirit of playing our part. There is plenty that gardeners at home can do. For example, there are now several kinds of biodegradable pots available, made out of coir, rice husks, cardboard and peat (visit greengardener. co.uk, twowests.co.uk and seedpantry.co.uk). Another approach is to try to avoid using any new plastic – the idea is reuse and repurpose. Rather than buy plastic pots, plug and seed trays, visit a local nursery and ask if they have surpluses. If you do have to buy new ones, choose better quality rigid pots and try to avoid black as it’s the hardest colour plastic to recycle. Used plastic containers and tins will make good plant pots as long as they are well cleaned and have holes punched in the bottom. Store all plastic items, including polythene covers and bubble wrap, out of sunlight. They’ll last much longer as UV degrades them and they become brittle and tear. Meanwhile, hessian makes an excellent protection against frost – better than horticultural fleece, which is made of spun polypropylene – although it is not translucent. Finally, talk to your local garden centre and make it known you are looking for plastic alternatives. It’s vital that gardeners speak up so that the message gets into the supply chain (bluebellcottage.co.uk). STAKE, CUT BACK AND POT ON PHILIPPA BURROUGH OWNER/GARDENER AT ULTING WICK, ESSEX Walk around, look at the borders and make notes. It is an ideal time to work out what to do with gaps; you can still start bulbs such as gladioli and lilies, and plant out hardy annuals that were sown in autumn or early in the season. Stake herbaceous perennials now, before the foliage grows too lush and tall. Push delphinium supports into the ground and use hazel cuttings, woven to add interest, before the plants they are to support start flowering. Any late-season grasses, such as pennisetums, should be cut down now as the new foliage should be visible and the worst of the frost has passed. Last year’s foliage will be pretty scruffy by now. In the greenhouse, check for plants that need potting on before they can be planted out after the last frosts. Annuals need room to develop good a root structure to ensure maximum impact. Finally, do some edging in the borders. A session with a half-moon tool to correct any wobbles, followed by an edge, will instantly smarten everything up (ultingwick garden.co.uk). DATES FOR YOUR DIARY IN APRIL Find inspiration and new plants in a month of spring shows APRIL 1-2 SHROPSHIRE Plant Hunters’ Fair to raise funds for the beautiful 12-acre Dorothy Clive Garden. Top-class nurseries wll offer a tremendous variety of plants. Entry to garden and fair £4. 10am-5pm; Dorothy Clive Garden, Willoughbridge, Market Drayton, TF9 4EU (01270 811443; plant hunters fairs.co.uk). APRIL 5-JULY 12 GLOUCESTERSHIRE It’s the centenary of the birth of Rosemary Verey, “queen bee of English country house gardening”, and to kick off the celebrations Barnsley House hosts a “meet the gardeners” tour and lunch on April 5. The Grade II listed building turned boutique hotel was once the Verey home, where she created the world-famous gardens that live on to this day. The tour and lunch costs £37 per head and starts at 11.30am (barnsleyhouse.com). APRIL 7-8 CORNWALL Cornwall Garden Society’s Spring Flower Show takes place in the glorious grounds of Boconnoc Estate. Expect magnolia and daffodil displays, inspiring show gardens from the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and more than 120 stands by talented nurseries. Tickets £10 for adults, under-16s go free (cornwallgarden society.org.uk). APRIL 13-15 BERKSHIRE The inaugural Ascot Spring Garden Show at Ascot racecourse, with specialist nurseries offering plants for sale, stylish garden accessories and six show gardens by Chelseawinning and emerging designers. The Savill Garden and Windsor Great Park are nearby to make this a great day out for gardeners. Ascot Racecourse, High St, Ascot SL5 7JX (ascot.co.uk). APRIL 13-15 CARDIFF The RHS Flower Show in the grounds of stunning Cardiff Castle will this year embrace Visit Wales’ “Year of the Sea” with themed gardens and features to inspire. Youngsters’ activities all weekend; experts on hand to advise gardeners of all abilities (rhs.org.uk/cardiff). APRIL 14-28 SURREY Dunsborough Park Tulip Festival (below) takes place over four days in the “Rediscovering Magnolias”; plus an array of award-winning specialist nurseries with gorgeous plants for sale. Tickets £8 adults, £3 children (greatcomp garden.co.uk). APRIL 18-JULY 22 LONDON SE1 The exhibition Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman celebrates British artist Cedric Morris (1889-1982), who founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Benton End, Suffolk. Morris achieved national stature both as a plantsman (he is still renowned as a breeder of irises) and a painter. Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Rd SE1 7LB (020 7401 8865; gardenmuseum.org.uk). APRIL 20-MAY 3 KENT spectacular grounds. Teas provided by various charities on April 14, 19, 21 and 28 for visitors to enjoy as they take in the beautiful tulip meadow display (dunsboroughpark.com). Historic Hole Park kicks off its 2018 season with the Bluebell Festival (below), when visitors can also see the latest additions to the impressive gardens. Light lunches, delicious homemade cakes and local produce are all sold at the coach house, produced APRIL 15 KENT Spring Fling, plant fair and lecture at Great Comp Garden. Spring tree specialist Kevin Hughes will be giving a talk on APRIL 21 SOMERSET Annual West of England Auricula and Primula Show held by the National Auricula and Primula Society, with judging at noon. Show opens to public 2-4pm, tickets £2. Saltford Hall, Saltford, near Bath BS31 3BY (01530 810522; aricula andprimula.org.uk). APRIL 22 CHESHIRE from the fruit trees and apiary at the estate. For the full list of events, visit holepark.com. Arley Hall Spring Plant Fair is a chance to browse the stalls of specialist nurseries selling plants and shrubs. Plants grown in Arley’s award-winning gardens also on sale. Tickets £1.50, redeemable against entry to the stunning gardens. The Gardener’s Kitchen café is open for meals or tea and cake. Parking free, dogs welcome on a lead. 10am-4pm, Arley Hall, Northwich CW9 6NA (01565 777353; arleyhall andgardens.com). APRIL 20-22 EAST SUSSEX APRIL 26-29 NORTH YORKSHIRE APRIL 14 WEST MIDLANDS The Plant Hunters’ Fair at Sandwell Valley Park is a new event within the 660-acre Sandwell Valley Country Park. Specialist nurseries will bring shrubs, trees, perennials, rare species and heritage varieties; enthusiasts are on hand to give advice. 10am-4pm; Salters Lane, West Bromwich B71 4BG (01270 811443; planthunters fairs.co.uk). place all day, such as a demonstration from the Huxley Birds of Prey and wonderful music from The Jazz Trio. Tickets £7 adults, £3 for children. Firle Place, Firle, Lewes, Sussex BN8 6LP (the gardenshowonline.com/ gardenshow_firle/). The Spring Garden Show returns to Firle Place for its 11th year, bringing a wealth of gardening experts and specialist growers, garden-related goods, arts and crafts and delicious local food. Activities will be taking Harrogate Spring Flower Show, a celebration of the best in horticulture with spectacular show gardens, Secret Sheds, plants, floral art and food. Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate HG2 8NZ (flowershow.org.uk). STUART KIRK CUT DOWN ON PLASTICS Get dahlias going inside the greenhouse for a great display in summer. When buying tubers, check they are solid and firm like good potatoes. If you overwintered your own, cut off any parts that are rotting or damaged. Plant each in a 3-5 litre pot and bury all the connecting tubers, with the growing point up, just under the soil surface. Water sparingly until new shoots appear, after which increase watering. Keep cool but frost-free and resist feeding until planted out. The same treatment works well with gloriosa lilies, such as Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’ and even with ginger from the supermarket. Dahlias started early and grown slowly make the strongest, most floriferous plants, and will be less likely to need staking (@miranda_j). The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** DIVIDE YOUR FAVOURITES TOM STUART-SMITH GARDEN DESIGNER This is the cusp of the year, the point where the garden switches from hibernation mode to full throttle. And it is the one weekend that I never go away! It is also the last moment – at least in the south – when you can plant herbaceous plants without having to water. Divide your favourite plants and spread them out – it is so wonderful when you split one plant and get 10. If you have one favourite, Paeonia emodi, for example, you can have four if you divide it and distribute it around the garden. And it is a great time to reduce the thugs that are taking over; take this opportunity to get rid of some and restore the balance. It is so easy to have a garden which is too much of a collection of plants, rather than a symphonic creation. GARDEN SHOP THREE PANDA-FACED WILD GINGERS Chosen by plant hunter Lark Hanham JOIN A COMMUNITY PROJECT Find your nearest Incredible Edible site (incredibleediblenetwork. org.uk) and join one of their projects. If there is nothing nearby, get in GIVE THE LAWN SOME TLC DAVID HEDGESGOWER, LAWN EXPERT The weather in the run-up to Easter this year has been different, to say the least. If temperatures do creep up and we’re not covered in snow, then the lawn can be lightly mowed this weekend. As the weather continues to improve, some light work around feeding, aeration and scarification to control thatch won’t go amiss. But if it stays cold and wet, there is no harm in waiting a bit longer (david hedges-gower.com). GAP PHOTOS; ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; RII SCHROER; ANDY BOAG; CHRISTOPHER JONES; MARIANNE MAJERUS SARAH VENN OF INCREDIBLE EDIBLE touch and we’ll help you to set up your own – it is a great way to bring people together, have fun and grow free food. If you plan to spend Easter in your own garden, look for local nurseries. They are often open when chain nurseries are shut and you might pick up a gem (independent plantnurseriesguide.uk). Rarely offered in the UK, the plants nicknamed panda-faced wild ginger are an unusual group of hardy perennials, botanically known as Asarum. The genus is native to East Asia and can be seen among trees and ferns on woodland floors where they slowly spread each year. Asarums belong to the Aristolochiaceae family, which consists of about 70 species. Most are admired for their highly ornamental, glossy cyclamenlike leaves and their bizarre flowers, which can be described as velvety with vivid black-andwhite marks, hence the nickname. Asarums are often seen on top designers’ plant lists for ground cover. Over time, they form neat clumps of low-growing, robust leaves that thrive in shade in fertile, humusrich soil. The key to success is to apply lashings of leafmould around their crowns to stop their shallow rhizomatous roots drying out. They’re deer and rabbit-resistant, and also hardy to -4F (-20C). TAKASAGOSAISHIN This attractive Taiwanese asarum is admired for its highly ornamental, glossy, evergreen leaves and its shimmering grey, weblike pattern. Its habit is low and compact, and over time its symmetrical, heart-shaped leaves form an attractive, dense, evergreen ground cover. The burgundy and white-mottled three-lobed flowers appear from March until May. Height 6in (15cm). ‘GIANT’ This extra-large asarum with almost rubbery, cyclamenmarbled foliage has giant black flowers with contrasting white eyes. Grow this sought-after perennial in a pot where you can enjoy its handsome form as it flowers through April and May. The leaves look polished and the flowers are close to the ground above the rhizomatous roots. Height and spread 10in (25cm). ‘LING LING’ ‘Ling Ling’ is a super specimen for a mixed perennial container. The forest-green leaves are more matt than the other two, but its white blotches make it an appealing cultivar. One of the easiest asarums to grow, it works best with specimens with dissimilar leaves for a bold contrast. Small brown-and-white felt-textured flowers can be seen through May and June. Height and spread 6in (15cm). HOW TO BUY Buy the mix of three (one of each) for £12, the mix of nine (three of each) for £25 (save £11) or buy the mix of 15 (five of each) for only £37.50 (save £22.50). Plus P&P at £4.95. Supplied as young plants in 14 days. Order at gardenshop.telegraph.co.uk/asaru or call 0333 772 0325. Your contract for the supply of goods is with Hayloft Plants Ltd. Offers subject to availability. Offer closing date is April 31 2018. 19 20 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** GARDENING REPTON IN VIEW Simon Lea won first prize in the IGPOTY Repton competition for his picture of Warley Woods in Smethwick, West Midlands, left; Bridget Davey’s shot of The Rockery at Woburn Abbey, right, was highly commended A guided walk with Mr Repton Humphry Repton’s work is just as important and inspiring today as it was two centuries ago, says Tim Richardson IGPOTY; ALAMY 1 WHY REPTON NOW? This year marks the bicentenary of Humphry Repton’s death in 1818. The Gardens Trust is co-ordinating a programme of exhibitions, talks, walks and conferences called Repton200 (visit thegardenstrust.org). Over a 30-year career, Repton designed more than 400 gardens including Longleat (Wiltshire), Woburn Abbey (Bedfordshire) and Russell Square (London). His signature style comprised rolling parkland and decorous clumps of trees, with the addition of flower gardens, conservatories, formal terraces and shrubberies near the house. Such ornamental elements had been missing in the gardens of Capability Brown. Repton believed that this allowed for a gentler transition from house to garden, arguing that a clear separation between the agricultural landscape and the house was a necessity. Repton suggested that more formal garden areas created a kind of “buffer zone” between a house and its garden or park. This became a key tenet of Regency garden style. 2 REPTON THE ENTREPRENEUR Repton only decided to move into landscape design when he was 36, following several false starts in other businesses. He successfully established The red book was probably the most original ‘selling tool’ ever devised himself as both a theorist and as a practical landscape designer, marketing himself as the “heir” to Brown and distributing business cards that advertised his services as a “landscape gardener” (he was the first to “brand” himself in this way). Unlike Brown, who never wrote any books and was notoriously reticent about explaining the ideas behind his work, Repton published several important books which remained influential long after his death – notably in the United States, where these publications provided a key to the “landscape style” for the many designers who could not come to England to see “the picturesque” at first hand. Repton’s writings betray a confidence which could be interpreted as arrogance or bumptiousness, especially by those clients who were implicitly criticised in print for failing to realise or maintain his design ideas as he had envisaged. RED 3 THE BOOKS Probably Repton’s greatest innovation was not a landscape feature, but a way of selling his ideas to potential clients. He devised a way of presenting his plans using unique “before and after” watercolour images, beautifully bound in red leather (hence the term Red Book). A single or double-page would depict a “before” scene of a particular part of the estate. However, on closer inspection the reader would find that the watercolour incorporated a flap of paper that could be pulled back to reveal the designer’s proposed changes painted beneath – whether that be the addition of a picturesque lake and bridge, the serpentining of an entrance drive or the inclusion of a clump of trees for dramatic effect. The Red Book was probably the most original “selling tool” ever devised by a landscape designer. Many English houses still have a Red Book on the shelves of the library – whether Far-seeing: theodolite at Woburn Abbey the family ultimately employed Repton to carry out the work or not. VERSUS 4 REPTON CAPABILITY BROWN Landscape consultant and historian John Phibbs is best placed to make a judgment on the relative merits of the two designers. He published a pair of books about Brown in 2016 (his tercentenary year) and is currently working on two books about Repton, which will appear in 2020 and 2021. The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** IN HIGH PLACES the defects of every situation. Secondly, it should give the appearance of extent and freedom by carefully disguising or hiding the boundary. Thirdly, it must studiously conceal every interference of art. However expensive by which the natural scenery is improved; making the whole appear the production of nature only; and fourthly, all objects of mere convenience or comfort, if incapable of being made ornamental, or of becoming proper parts of the general scenery, must be removed or concealed.” Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803) ‘E’, 6 NOPLEASE It is the most common mistake made in gardening history: writing “Humphrey” instead of Humphry. It’s one quick way of ascertaining whether a self-described “garden historian” knows what they are talking about. The Gardens Trust even considered making promotional badges reading, “It’s Humphry – without an E”. Humphry was a common spelling in the 18th and 19th centuries: the chemist Humphry Davy, for example. 7 REPTON AND AUSTEN “Brown’s landscapes can be described as rational,” he explains. “They were all about forms and shapes. Repton’s landscape style was endeavouring to elicit an emotional response, especially as his career went on. By the time you get to Endsleigh [in Devon], you have the Dingle, which is really a garden of sound – with all the cascades around you, it’s like a sound organ. It’s a very atmospheric place. The same is true of Repton’s use of ‘the burst’: whenever he could, he arranged it so that the way you first saw the house was immediately after coming through an area of dark woodland. This was designed to build up an emotional response. Brown never did anything like that.” The novelist was well aware of the activities of the celebrated landscape gardener, not least because he had been commissioned to produce a Red Book for Stoneleigh Abbey, in Warwickshire, the seat of her mother’s family. The plans were never executed. In chapter six of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen treats of the Repton style in customarily ironic vein. Mr Rushworth tells of the effects of an “improver” on a neighbouring estate MASTERS OF LANDSCAPE 8 DIFFERING VIEWS Busts of Brown, above and Repton, below, for the garden Moving plants mid-flower may go against the grain for some, but it’s a risk worth taking, says Stephen Lacey T BEST REPTON GARDENS TO VISIT While some of the detail of Repton’s designs – the flower gardens near the house, the shrubberies – have perhaps inevitably been lost in most cases, we can still appreciate the broader sweeps of his vision: the tree plantings, the siting of lakes, the dramatic routing of entrance drives and the sudden vistas. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, is perhaps the most intact Repton landscape open to the public. Sheringham Hall, Norfolk, is a memorable maritime garden. Endsleigh, Devon, is now a secluded and exclusive hotel. Port Eliot, Cornwall, hosts a well-heeled music and literary festival. EVENTS 9 REPTON IN 2018 Alan Titchmarsh is a great admirer of Repton and has a bust of the designer in his own garden. Anyone who wants to emulate him might like to consider a new Repton bust which has been produced by Haddonstone, £399. A bust of Capability Brown is also available for the same price (haddonstone.com). ON 5 REPTON HIS OWN STYLE “The perfection of landscape gardening consists in the four following requisites. First, it must display the natural beauties and hide P E R S O NA L G ROW T H and how his own estate at Sotherton suffers by comparison: “It wants improvement, ma’am, beyond anything. I never saw a place that wanted so much improvement in my life; and it is so forlorn that I do not know what can be done with it.” “Your best friend upon such an occasion,” said Miss Bertram calmly, “would be Mr Repton, I imagine.” Outdoor theatre: a winding drive at Uppark House was a Repton signature Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey (until Oct 28) is an exhibition documenting Repton’s work for the Russell family (who also commissioned his work at Endsleigh). The Woburn Red Book (1804) was the most elaborate he ever produced and will be on display for the first time. (woburnabbey.co.uk). Repton Revived, an exhibition of Red Books, designs and watercolours by Humphry Repton, is at the Garden Museum, London from Oct 17-Feb 3, 2019. The exhibition brings together the greatest number of Red Books for more than 30 years. Rethinking Repton is an exhibition at the RHS Lindley Library in London, May 3-June 22, a collaboration with third year students on Writtle University College’s Landscape Architecture and Garden Design course, that looks afresh at his gardening principles. Repton Rides, led by Tatton Park’s head gardener, Simon Tetlow, is a unique opportunity to see Repton’s design of 1792 by guided cycle ride at Tatton Park, Cheshire on April 18. The Celebrating Repton Family Picnic, with Northamptonshire Gardens Trust at Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire, is on June 30. Winners of the 2018 International Garden Photographer of the Year Repton Competition will be on show at Sheringham, Norfolk, from Sept 2 to Oct 29 (igpoty.com). CHRISTOPHER JONES The Duchess of Bedford and garden manager Martin Towsey with Repton’s Red Book for Woburn Abbey, below left; rhododendrons at Sheringham Park, Norfolk, below right he tolerance of plants is remarkable, not just to yo-yoing temperatures but to the rude incursions of gardeners. Flowering on a balmy morning, with the pleasurable tickle of a visiting bee on their pollen-coated anthers, suddenly they get a fork speared through their roots and they are catapulted skywards. I have just been moving hellebores. Many growers do not consider this the optimal time for this job (which is early autumn), but it suits me. Moving plants around when they are in flower saves you having to rely on a dodgy memory: you see exactly where you want them and how they will look. So, if I think I th it, I do. can get away with I am moving the m hellebores from h under the beech trees where shade and drought have started to affect their performance. e Vine weevils are e, I also active there, have been slow to realise; for a couple of years, hostas and ferns have been weakening, too. Now is the perfect time for a counterattack with nematodes, and I have just sent off for some. Meanwhile, a second wave of box blight has hit me, this time on the fat globes and 5ft-high cones that structure the beds around a small circular lawn. Early last autumn I came back from a week away to find grey patches, and within days it was spreading wildly. The worst-affected topiaries I extracted immediately; the remaining bushes I will monitor but fear they will also be gone by the year’s end. It is a lightly shaded area, and as substitutes I thought I would try the looser evergreen shapes of Osmanthus delavayi – smaller and slower growing than O. x burkwoodii, but with similar tiny leaves and white flowers – and Tasmannia (formerly Drimys) lanceolata, which has attractive red stems and creamy flowers (it can be clobbered in a freakishly cold winter, so fingers crossed). But some gaps I will leave open, and it is here I am installing the hellebores. After moving and/or dividing they invariably take a year’s sabbatical, but then bloom again robustly – especially with the TLC of chicken manure pellets and mushroom compost now, and a couple of liquid feeds in early September. With them are clumps of snowdrops and crocuses that I have been splitting for the past month or two. I have also started to add spring bulbs. In a stuffed stuff garden like min mine, it is hopeless w wandering around with bulbs in the autumn, trying to rremember where th there are spaces. Ev Every spade inserted int into the soil pro produces a ghastly cru crunch from a bulb alre already present. So I plant all my bulbs in small pots, and as they come into flower in the spring, I gently decant them. For big bulbs that like to grow deep, you can plunge the pots a few inches below ground for the winter, lined up in the veg patch, say; or you can just plant the bulbs a bit deeper when you turn them out of their pots, as I do. A few dozen pots of Scilla siberica are already planted, united into rivulets of rich blue. They are echoing the pools of bicoloured blue grape hyacinth, Muscari latifolium, that has naturalised the other side of the path. And now I am putting in daffodils – the large ivory-coloured ‘Mount Hood’. I thought I would also try the damson allium, A. atropurpureum. Its cousins, ‘Purple Sensation’ and A. cristophii do well here in light shade – I wonder if it will, too… 21 22 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** GARDENING KATE SAVILL Green fingers with a gold touch Artisan garden design, Chelsea 2018, above; Radio 2 Chelsea 2017, right A new generation of garden designers is making waves – so look out for some fresh faces at Chelsea this year. By Annie Gatti MICHAEL McGARR The cactus-filled Future Spaces garden won a gold medal at Tatton Park 2017 I t’s an exciting time to be a young garden designer. The market is buoyant: there are plenty of home owners who want stylish outdoor rooms to complement their revamped interiors and are prepared to pay decent money for them. But the attractions of this career – creativity, working with plants, running your own business, building relationships with clients – also mean that there is plenty of competition. So how can aspiring young designers make their mark? And where do they want to take garden design? The RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is a good place to start as it hosts the Young Designer of the Year competition, which has kick-started the careers of Hugo Bugg, Tony Woods, Sam Ovens and Tamara Bridge, all of whom now run their own studios. Last year the award was won by Lithuanian Ula Maria Bujauskaite, 25, who HOW TO GET ON WILL WILLIAMS trained in landscape architecture in Birmingham. Her winning garden (shown far right) was a confident marriage of a contemporary office structure with naturalistic planting set in a sandy, gravelly landscape. Like many other young talents, she looks to natural landscapes, rather than to the work of established designers, for inspiration – her Tatton garden echoed elements of the Baltic coastline of her childhood holidays. Bujauskaite, who explored the role of gardens and landscape in palliative care for her master’s degree, is one of a growing band of young designers who wants to make gardens that have an added dimension. “I think it’s really important that designers help people connect with nature,” she says. “I like to make spaces that become part of people’s lives.” A commitment to making sustainable gardens is also a driver for young designers. Whether it’s natural and long-lasting materials, water manage- The Summer in Sussex garden won silver at Hampton Court in 2016 ment, biodiversity or native planting, they research, they experiment, and it’s a noticeable shift away from the “design for design’s sake” approach. As veteran designer Jo Thompson observes: “When I was training, in my mid-30s, the word sustainability was mentioned a few times but at that time, things were imposed on the landscape. Now designers are much more aware of touching the ground lightly, of planting that doesn’t look over-designed.” Another winner at Tatton was Michael McGarr, 32, whose Future Spaces design (top left) challenged visitors to think about the gardens we need to make to withstand extreme weather. His split-level rain garden, described by designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin as “the best show garden I’ve seen in years in this country”, combined exotics, including mature cacti and yuccas, with more familiar species such as alder and birch, all chosen for their ability to cope with extreme conditions. Bespoke sculptural rusted steel struc- Get some professional training (check out the Society of Garden Designers, sgd.org.uk, for advice on how to choose a course) and continue to build your skills after graduating. Spend time working for an experienced designer, learning how to run a design studio and win projects. Get first-hand experience with a landscaper of how to build a garden. Hone your CAD skills. Boost your planting design knowledge by taking a planting design course or working in a specialist nursery. Use social media, especially Instagram, Pinterest and specialist apps like Houzz to get your name out there. Network locally. tures provided alternative greenhouses. McGarr, who runs a studio in Wigan, thinks that food is key to connecting people, especially the younger generation, with the outdoors. “It’s up to garden and product designers to take the kitchen garden of yesteryear and recreate it in smaller gardens,” he says. “We are experimenting with aquaponics and hydroponics, and growing edibles on green walls.” Tom Massey, 31, who won the Society of Garden Designers’ Student Design of the Year in 2015, shares a love of ornamental and native grasses with many of his generation, who have moved away from the clipped shapes of classic design to more naturalistic plantings. For Massey’s gold medal Sanctuary Garden for Perennial at Hampton Court 2017 he wove calamagrostis and molinia grasses through bands of colour-themed perennials, creating a relaxed rhythm through the spiral design. It’s that combination of contemporary elements with naturalistic planting that appeals The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** TONY WOODS says Wilson. “Instead, young people are often choosing a shared route to an end result.” For newly qualified designers, working with a fellow designer or landscaper is a way of combining skills to make something bigger and more exciting. Bristol-based Kate Savill, 29, learned the workings of a busy studio with Adam Frost. Last summer she collaborated on a design for BBC Radio 2 Ebb & Flow garden, Chelsea 2018, at Chelsea with Tamara Bridge, whom above; John Lewis roof garden, right she met when she was a finalist of the 2015 RHS Young Designer his age, also left school at 16. He got competition. They landscaping experience and, having are planning more saved half the fees (his parents paid the joint projects in remainder), then became the London the future. College of Garden Design’s youngest Savill believes diploma student. Assured and ambitious, he attributes the take-off of his working in Frost’s business to the exposure he got from studio was an his first Hampton Court Show garden essential top-up in 2016, an urban garden inspired by after her horticultural training and walks along the South Downs (pictured she still does visubottom left). “The shows are als for him, part great publicity in terms of time. Annie Guilthe public but they also get foyle, head of deyour name out to the trade,” sign at KLC for 18 he says. years, recommends this approach. Tutor Andrew Wilson, “I always encourage my students to who spotted Williams’ drive work in a practice for as long as they at interview, sees a confidence in the younger genercan,” she says. “There is so much to ation that was not so evident learn in this profession that it makes when he was starting up. sense to spend time in a large studio “My generation said, ‘Well I before branching out.” might finally be good enough But ambitious young designers are to get to Chelsea’ but this impatient to make their own gardens. generation says, ‘Why can’t I Massey, who is making a show garden get there now?’” for the Lemon Tree Trust at Chelsea A website, says Wilson, is 2018, eased himself into running his Winner of the Tatton Park Young no longer enough to get your own practice by working for a studio Designer of the Year award, 2017 name known, and work rolltwo days a week. “That’s the ideal,” he ing in. Creating show garsays. “I was lucky, some designers dens, doing pop-ups, don’t allow you to work on to sponsors and commercial clients. festivals and community events such as your own stuff.’ So, when John Lewis was canvassing Chelsea Fringe, and using social media One of the hardest things ideas for its Oxford Street store’s roof- are the ways forward. Instagram is the to learn on a design course, top, it was a pop-up garden full of eco essential platform for aspiring designhe says, is the software. As a elements such as green walls and roofs, ers – it’s visual and, says Bujauskaite result, those who have masrecycled materials and repurposed con- who already has close to 2,000 followtered it are snapped up by tainers, that its designer, Tony Woods, ers, it allows you to express your perestablished designers, many then 29, felt would draw in a younger sonality – with Twitter and Pinterest of whom still prefer to hand audience. Three years on, the expanded useful seconds. draw. Massey, who tutors in garden is framed with native hedging, CAD (computer-aided deThis generation of designers are also planters are filled with pollen and nec- much more likely to collaborate. “The sign), is excited by its potentar-rich shrubs and flowers, and there old idea of, ‘I’m the prime designer and tial. “The technology we are even strips of wildflower meadow I know what I want’ has been shed,” have now, such as augoutside the boundary hedge. mented reality or SketchUp Woods left school at 16 and took a 3D models of gardens, can practical route to becoming a designer, show clients how their garwhich included working for a nursery den will look at 4pm on a Dewith a catalogue of 15,000 plants and cember afternoon. That’s learning to abseil. It’s finally paid off – only going to improve.” his design and build company, which There’s no doubt that beemploys 14 people, last summer coming tech-savvy is a key skill, pleted London’s first pontoon floating but what marks out these pocket park at Paddington Basin. successful designers is their Will Williams, who at 22 is already passion for plants and drive Design for Chelsea 2018, above; gold running his own studio and winning to make gardens that bring medal winner at Hampton Court, left commissions against designers twice people closer to nature. CHELSEA U P DAT E From invasive species to a recycled garden, here’s a roundup of what to look for at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 NEW FROM HARDY’S TOM MASSEY JMA PHOTOGRAPHY; CAROLYN HUGHES; JASON INGRAM; MMGI/MARIANNE MAJERUS; TIM HOWELL; BRITT WILLOUGHBY DYER ULA MARIA BUJAUSKAITE A slew of exciting new plants arrive at Chelsea every year – and Hardy’s Cottage Plants will bring some of the best, as they have done for the past 30 years. One of their latest introductions is Polemonium yezoense ‘Kaleidoscope’ (above). The foliage emerges cream flushed, deep pink and red, and matures to bronze green with creamy yellow variegation, maintaining a pink flush. Its purple-blue flowers reach 24in (60cm) tall and it makes a good compact plant for the front of a sunny or partially shaded border, or in a container. Ranelagh Gardens. Louise Gardiner was commissioned by Pukka Herbs to produce a layered appliqué-embroidered garment that, fittingly in the centenary year of votes for some women, aims to capture all that is feminine, powerful and potent about womankind, and encourage creativity, by highlighting our important connection with the soil through the magic of herbs and plants. The “Cape of Empowerment” was influenced by her experience of teaching her skills to women across the world. WELL-BEING IN PLANTS The theme of wellness and the mood and health-boosting properties of plants has been a persistent one at Chelsea for a few years – it’s the message the RHS has chosen for its INVASIVES ON SHOW Also in the Great Pavilion, with Japanese knotweed the new bogey plant for home owners with an eye on their insurance premiums, the Property Care Association promises a garden of invasive plants, “The Enemy Within”, to raise awareness of the problem of garden escapees. own plot on Main Avenue by designer Matt Keightley. In the Great Pavilion, Indoor Garden Design has announced a collaboration with Ikea for an open-plan home office installation that showcases the healing power of plants (above). Expect trendy house plants and creative display ideas. THE WESTON GARDEN Expect to see buddleia and montbretia (above), sharing the naughty step with Japanese knotweed. HERBAL ART The Artisan Studios are a new niche at Chelsea, clustered in Multiple gold medallist designer Tom Stuart-Smith makes a low-key but no doubt electrifying return to Chelsea with a garden in the Great Pavilion to celebrate the 60th anniversary of arts charity the Garfield Weston Foundation. He promises that everything to the smallest item is recycled and, unusually, the public will have full access. 23 24 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** T WO H O U R S ON THE VEG PLOT HELEN YEMM THORNY PROBLEMS PRICKLY BUSINESS Give shrub roses a hard prune to remove any diseased shoots Add colour to meals with edible flower power, says Jack Wallington STAY SAFE WITH BAMBOO I want to grow some bamboo plants for screening purposes in my small town garden, but I don’t want to get it wrong. Would it be safer to grow them in pots? SUE BERRY – VIA EMAIL Yes, to be on the safest of safe sides, you could consider growing your screening plants in large containers (heavy wooden tubs suits them well), in which they would be happy for several years. The containers will give the plants additional height, so you could perhaps go for one of the smaller, most delicate-leafed fargesia tribe (F. nitida is upright while F. murielae is weepy). Taller, slightly more bulky bamboos that provide good screens are found in the genus Phyllostachys. These can also be grown in containers, but because they form looser clumps they will only be happy in containers for five years or so. Neither of these is invasive, however, so if you plant them in the ground and annually “groom” them (removing about one third of the oldest stems every year or so once they are well established) they stay where they are put. Phyllostachys nigra has stems that turn jet-black with age. Equally fetching is goldenstemmed P. aurea. Both of these look particularly good if their lower side-shoots are cleanly removed to show off their true colours. BADGER BOTHER The lawn in my north-facing garden has been dug up by badgers that have evaded all my attempts to block their entry. Is there any way to deter them? SUE WILKINSON – VIA EMAIL I wish I could offer an easy solution to this problem, but there simply does LETTER OF THE WEEK RESCUE FOR ROSES For Andrea and Chris Brown, here are some guidelines for rescuing sickly and timidly pruned modern shrub roses. Start by giving the roses a severe prune to remove the woodiest, most diseased and unproductive old shoots from as close to the ground as possible. Strong loppers or a pruning saw, used with considerable resolve, may be necessary for this. If there remain any younger, green shoots, completely remove any that are drinkingstraw thin, and, using secateurs, cut the rest back to within a few inches of the base, to a point just above a leaf scar (which may be hard to find) that faces the outward side of what will be a renewed bush once it recovers (think of a candelabrashape, if it helps). Hard pruning will have removed a lot of diseased material, but you will do well to spray preventively throughout TIP OF THE WEEK Untidy but still-green penstemon stems still standing from last year have been protecting tiny shoots at the base of their semiwoody framework that will grow and flower in July. Now is the time to cut back that old growth – and also any remaining stems of big sedums and deciduous grasses. the coming season, with a systemic fungicide (such as Fungus Fighter Plus), once the new shoots start to appear from the leaf scars, and hopefully also from just above the graft (the knobbly joint twixt stem and root) in due course. Then drench the soil with Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic, from garden centres or naturalgardensolutions. com. (Get past the slightly folksy name: this stuff, used either as a soil drench or spray, really boosts rose health/strength and is not seem to be one. So, I’m clutching at straws on your behalf, somewhat: The fact that your stripy visitors are only destroying the lawn suggests that they are after worms, chafer grubs or leatherjackets, which they apparently adore. You could try using a biological control for grubs and leatherjackets at appropriate times of the year (see greengardener.co.uk). However, if your north-facing lawn is shady and damp, it is most probably worms they are after. A spray-on-tograss product (CastClear) that sends worms elsewhere is unlikely to help – worms are hardly likely to just pop conveniently back over the boundary into Badgerland. Then there is the slightly indelicate suggestion (often put forward) of dousing your boundary in human urine. I fear none of these rather desperate measures is recommended by leading UK rose breeders). Follow this with a good dollop of organic matter (rotted manure or compost) around the base of each rose, taking care not to bury the graft. Keep an eye on new buds, rubbing off with finger and thumb any “doubles”, or those that will create branches shooting off in the “wrong” direction (it’s that candelabra thing again) and thus avoiding pruning dilemmas in the future. likely to put off a determined brock family. (Readers, any real success stories would be welcome.) A more reliable deterrent would cost more money, of course, involving the installation of a 30in (70cm)-high mains or battery-powered electric mesh fence, which delivers a shock just powerful enough to deter but not cause real harm. You could talk to the people at electricfencing.co.uk. SEND YOUR QUESTIONS Write: Gardening, The Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT Tweet: @TeleGardening Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For more tips and advice from Helen Yemm, visit telegraph.co.uk/authors/helen-yemm Helen Yemm can answer questions only through this column. ALAMY GAP PHOTOS This week: how to rescue ailing shrub roses, buy the right bamboo for a small garden, and how to banish badgers Tasty mouthfuls: striking courgette flowers As a distinctly mediocre cook, I always look for ways to improve my rather average meals. Recently I was served a starter garnished with viola flowers – passers-by could hear the light bulb switch on in my head. Violas are for sale in nurseries now, so plant them in pots for months of colour and use a few to decorate an Easter meal. Edible flowers aren’t a shallow exercise in looks – they have depth of flavour and texture. I grow nasturtium ‘Alaska Series’ on my allotment, adding the flowers and variegated leaves to salads for a peppery taste. Calendula (pot marigold) petals are similar, in different shades of orange, I grow ‘Sherbert Fizz’. Discard the bitter centre and sprinkle the petals on salads. Sow seeds of these annuals outside this week and they’ll self-sow for years to come (thompson-morgan.com). In summer, the chunky petals of daylilies or courgettes create a mouthwatering talking point. Borage, rosemary and chive flowers all make great additions to salads, sandwiches and sauces and are a mild alternative to the leaves. Moving on to dessert, flowers to sprinkle on cake, ice cream and yogurt include dianthus, monarda, roses and Lonicera japonica, the honeysuckle species. All are perennials, buy and plant them now (burncoose.co.uk, crocus.co.uk). For a parma violet flavour try Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ (fibrex.co.uk). Adventurous gardeners can eat the fleshy petals of pineapple guava, a small tree, for a delicious fruity flavour. Those of smaller pineapple sage are similar. Not all flowers are edible, so only nibble those recommended by trusted sources and even then, do a taste test. I once ate the flowers of a Begonia rex, which began sweet but left a rather strange aftertaste. Jack blogs at jackwallington.com; Twitter @jackwallington; Instagram; @jackjjw The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 S FEATURES THE DA D B E AT Harry de Quetteville’s tales from the fatherhood front line PLAYING IT STRAIGHT T he desire to be a performer has been with me since I was a little boy. I lived in a fantasy world and I loved using my imagination. I was fascinated by trains and so in my little garden in Grantham, Lincolnshire, where I grew up, I would have a make-believe train where I acted out all the parts: the driver, the guard signalling with his flag, and the train moving off. I also used to perform little plays in the nursery, much to my parents’ bewilderment. They thought I was a bit odd, because they were such down-to-earth people, as did my siblings, who used to say, “he’s not like one of us, is he?” I remember the first time I was taken to see the travelling circus when it came to Grantham. If those circus people had said, “would you like to run away with us?” I think I would have gone. That was when I first thought I wanted to be an actor; not a star or a celebrity, just someone who performed. Even now I’ve achieved that dream and I am well known, I don’t think of myself as a star. I’m just so happy that at my advanced age people still want me to perform. In September 1939 I was on the cusp of a wave; I was nearly 16, I’d just got my colours for cricket and rugby and boxing at St Paul’s School in London and I’d been offered the lead in the school play and I was very excited. But then war came. My parents took me away from school and sent me to a ghastly place in north London for the rest of the school year until I passed my school leavers’ certificate. My Parsons (r) with his family as a child, above left; receiving his OBE in 2004 with his wife, Ann, below ANDREW CROWLEY; BBC; IAN JONES What would your younger self make of your life today? I F I C O U L D S E E M E N OW NICHOLAS PA R S O N S clocks and mechanical things – but the desire to act didn’t go away. I would slip off 9 4 , br o a d ca s t e r a n d a c t o r after a day’s work or at weekends to do impersonations parents asked me what I wanted to do, for the Scottish Command’s troop and I replied that I would be an actor. entertainment, or local radio They thoughtt that was ridiculous. broadcasts and amateur productions. ncle got me a position Instead my uncle appr At the end of my apprenticeship, I alled Drysdale’s, which with a firm called paren “I did that told my parents, made pumps for ships on the for you, now I’m going to be Clyde. It was unbelievable; I an actor.” Th They were didn’t know what they were horrified. talking aboutt to begin with. f The next few years, in the d, because of But I survived, late Forties and early stinct: you have my acting instinct: r Fifties, repping for a pport with to create a rapport theatre in Bromley, ce and get your audience Kent, were hard. I them on yourr side. I would be performing ne of the remember one diffe a different play in the g to me and chaps coming aftern afternoon and re OK, saying: “You’re evenin for six days a evening Nick, you’re OK. You w one day off week, with gh.” make us laugh.” where I learnt all my I did enjoy the lines for the next ip – I still apprenticeship B it was where week. But g with like tinkering m craft. And I learnt my If the forecasters are right, you will be up to your knees in snow as you read this. Happy Easter! I am livid. Were it not for the fact that my reptilian constitution means I effectively shut down in the cold, I would be delivering an animated protest at the very highest level. And will no one think of the garden! For the third time in as many months, our tiny shrublings – fatally deceived by a burst of spring-like warmth – will be walloped by frost. Farewell, salvias. Nice to know you, geraniums. Mother Nature, eh? La donna è mobile. The monsters are as bemused as the blooms. One day we trot off to the park as though preparing to join Shackleton’s expedition, swaddled in oilskins and strapping a hot water bottle to each hand. The next they tug frantically at zips and buttons to strip to their T-shirts in the sudden sun. All children’s clothing ought to come with rip-cords, frankly. Sure, I am a temperature freak, scarfwrapped in June. Absolutely, I admit it’s Forget geo-thermal power, let's hook up our underfives to the national grid after lots of sitting in impresarios’ offices, pleading to have an audition, I gradually started getting jobs. Some of the jobs I’ve had over the years have been significant, like The Arthur Haynes Show, which actually started very badly before going on to be the top comedy show on independent television. That was the turning point of my professional life. Because of that success I became known nationally. I became the quizmaster for Sale of the Century, which was very successful for 14 years. But after it finished, people had pigeonholed me as a quiz show host and it took a while for my acting career to progress again. I’m still doing Just a Minute, which started in 1967. At first I didn’t want the job of chairman, I wanted to be on the panel. But I stepped in as a favour. I must have done something right because I’m still doing it. I also have a one-man show that I go around the country with. What makes me want to perform at my advanced years is the same desire I had when I was a little boy: I like being in front of an audience. If they’re having fun and laughing, then I’m happy. Interview by Jessica Salter odd that the ring finger on my right hand only thaws out between mid-July and late August. But isn’t it weirder just how much heat all toddlers seem to chuck out? Our tiny humans have to triple their height in a mere 15 years, yet they’ve always got energy to burn. Forget geo-thermal power, let’s hook up the nation’s under-fives to the national grid, I say, we’d be toasty. After that age, though, the universalities of infancy end. It’s happening now, with Mole. Quite suddenly he has stretched out, angular, long and thin, his profile sharp and grown-up where Cosmic still has round baby-traces in face and limb. Last weekend, their legs, slight and sturdy, blurred through the kitchen doors into the garden as though a secret chamber to the house had been rediscovered. “Is spring the first season, Daddy?” asked Mole, always keen to pin life down. “I think so, Moley.” “And then summer?” “Oh yes. Then summer.” “Can we get the paddling pool out?” Cosmic chipped in, a little premature. Beloved and I pootled about, noting the tiny green shoots indicating the garden’s survivors. The boys happily turned their own circuits. It’s always easier out here. Aren’t we all ready to pack winter away? *** 25 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** OPEN ROAD SHINING EXAMPLE Car grooming expert Karl Heath’s hard work pays off Spring into action with a bucket and sponge Jeremy Taylor meets the car-washer who advises royalty to find out how to clean his classic Land Rover – without damaging it JOHN LAWRENCE FOR THE TELEGRAPH 26 I t used to be the weekend ritual – as much a part of the routine as mowing the lawn and a Sunday roast. Now washing the car has virtually disappeared off our driveways – consigned to the metal dustbin of nostalgia along with Raleigh Chopper bikes and glass milk bottles. Back in the Seventies and Eighties, applying a bucket of soapy water and a sponge to the family saloon in all weathers was regarded as a sign of manliness. Today a third of men and three-quarters of women surveyed admit they have never cleaned a car in their life. Washing the car used to be a chore to some and a labour of love for others. Whether it was the inexplicable joy of polishing a chrome bumper, or the time-consuming struggle to extract dirt from an intricate alloy wheel, Sunday morning with a hosepipe was a way of life. Nowadays, we take the easy route – often paying for our motors to be pampered at pop-up car washes. Hundreds of them have sprung up at redundant petrol stations, or in the far corner of supermarket car parks. Sunday shopping, lifestyle activities and more football on television mean we have less time to love our cars. Karl Heath cut his teeth washing cars as a young boy, practising on his grandfather’s Ford Prefect. Since then he’s become something of a jet-setting jet-washer expert, flying around the world as Autoglym’s international technical services manager. He’s cleaned cars and trained people to do the same for the King of Thailand, the late Queen Mother and a host of celebrities. Among his most satisfying jobs were polishing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and giving Lady Penelope’s FAB 1 Thunderbirds’ Rolls-Royce a buffing. Autoglym also has a Royal Warrant to the Queen and the Prince of Wales – Heath cleaned the Aston Martin DB6 convertible that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drove out of Buckingham Palace after their wedding in 2011. His team also teaches Royal Household chauffeurs how to wash their cars. His latest challenge isn’t quite up to that level but will still demand all the bottles of potions and lotions he keeps in his immaculate van. My 1972 Land Rover Series 3 lives on a farm in the Cotswolds and has to cope with wet dogs and children on a regular basis. Heath’s first stop is inside my garage, where he surveys a random collection of cleaning products with dismay. Many are well past their sell-by date – some of the polishes have separated like rancid milk. He even uses an alkaline tester to see if my usual shampoo JET SET Heath applies a foam mix to the paintwork and leaves it on for 10 minutes to lift the top layer of dirt. Above, he vacuums dirt from around the engine bay TOP TIPS FROM A CAR-WASHING EXPERT Soften dried-on bird droppings with a damp cloth first to avoid scratching the paintwork. An automotive air blower will dry a car in minutes but can costs hundreds of pounds. A dog hairdryer does the same job and is cheaper. Always use clean clothes when polishing your car and machinewash them afterwards. Resist the temptation to polish a car in bright sunlight – products cure more quickly when heated and are much harder to remove. Use cotton buds to clean inside dashboard air vents and other inaccessible places. could actually be damaging the Land Rover’s paintwork. I escape with a ticking-off before Heath attaches his jet washer and goes to work. He says: “The days of a bucket of water, plus a splash of washing-up liquid that might actually strip the polish off paintwork, have long gone. Nowadays people who clean their cars properly want a system – one that involves proper equipment and chemical proven solutions.” He begins by spraying the car with a foam gun mix, left on the paintwork for 10 minutes to lift the top layer of dirt from the surface. “It’s important not to wipe at this stage as the abrasive dirt is still on the bodywork,” he says. Heath uses a jet wash to remove the foam, which has created a Land Rovershaped snowdrift on the driveway. The car is washed again by hand, removing more stubborn dirt, before it is hosed down, dried and a resin polish applied to restore gloss to the dull surface. “This is the bit I like the most, the polish puts the shine back. That wonderful finish is finally sealed by applying a high-definition wax. You then have the pleasure of standing back and seeing your face in the paintwork. It should last for months.” That all sounds a little labour-intensive to me – we’ve been on the driveway for three hours – isn’t there a faster way to put the sparkle back into your bodywork? Heath confides a twobucket system is perfectly acceptable. “Always use one bucket for the soapy mix and the other just for water. After you have dipped a sponge in the soapy water and used it on the car, rinse it out in the second bucket every time. It stops the sponge becoming ingrained with particles of dirt that can scratch the paint.” Heath says that despite spending his working days polishing vehicles, he is never tempted to visit a car wash at the weekend. “There is a satisfaction in doing the job properly – although I’ve yet to persuade my son to pick up a sponge and clean my car.” The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** MATERIAL WORLD BLOWN THEIR CHANCE ‘The days of a bucket of water and a splash of washing-up liquid that might actually strip the polish off paintwork have long gone’ HONEST JOHN EXPERT ADVICE The dealer you can trust is on hand to answer your questions on car problems and consumer issues DARK FOREBODINGS? TREADING CAREFULLY Karl Heath hoses down the Land Rover’s wheels, and, below left, brushes dirt from the number plate ‘BETTER TO REVIVE THAN RESTORE’: KEEPING YOUR CLASSIC CAR CLEAN Is it really worth keeping your classic clean? Henry Allaway runs Universal Classic Cars Storage in Hampshire – custodian to 400 exceptional vehicles worth tens of millions of pounds. The firm’s dehumidified warehouse is home to everything from E-type Jaguars to modern hypercars, with a 60,000 sq ft building that has entire rooms dedicated to Porsche, plus Italian and British marques. He says: “I always say that it is better to revive than restore – I’ve saved customers thousands of pounds on respray work just by showing them what is possible with the right cleaning products and techniques. “Even the dullest paint can be brought back to life. A good detailing job in our studio can take up to three days but we’ve worked for three weeks on preparing individual cars for concours d’élégance d events around the world.” ys Allaway says rs that customers ft have been left n stunned when en they have seen their revived rst cars for the first ing time. “Detailing m in is an art form itself. It’s not b the sort of job e you do on the driveway, butt any cleaning routine will u only save you money and effort in the long run.” I was forced to accelerate hard to avoid a car wandering into my lane and my 2007 Mercedes E320 CDI belched a big plume of smoke when I did this. It has covered 85,000 miles but it has been regularly maintained and is running well. I don’t think any smoke can be a good sign, but should I be concerned? IL That is not surprising. It might simply have been blowing off soot that had collected in the rear silencer, especially if you don’t do many long journeys. On the flipside, it might be due to worn injectors, failing valve stem oil seals or, more likely, failing turbo bearing oil seals. HART OF THE MATTER My Triumph Stag was registered in July 1977. When does it become eligible for historic vehicle tax exemption? SS It should be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty tomorrow (April 1). Im might buy a 2015 BMW 220i Active To o Tourer Sport auto with 12,000 miles, on owner and full main dealer one history, for £19,750. It has £7,475 his worth wort of extras but will the fact it has clo cloth seats affect its future resale va value, given that BMW is a premium brand? JG The supplying dealer of my daughter’s Audi A1 said there would be a charge of £52 to replace a blown rear light bulb – a new bulb was £3.60, and I would d have to book the car in for o do the job. Not being able to it myself because of ent arthritis, an independent bodyshop did the job in 10 minutes and refused to or the th he accept payment, even for n bulb. Once her service plan ve the has expired, we will give main dealer a wide berth. Is this a good idea? GR Not in an Active Tourer, which is more of a mini-MPV. And quite a lot of people actually actua prefer cloth seats. Take those extras with a pinch of salt. Some Som BMWs and Audis require at least lea £10,000 to be spent to bring t them up to standard Kia levels... CURRENT RANGE Nothing like this surprises me. There are some very greedy and short-sighted dealer groups. use of its reliabilit l of keeping it because reliability w mileage. Is there and the relatively low ncerned about anything I need to be concerned in the near future? DF RETURN TO VENDOR ions-compliant, It won’t be EU6 emissions-compliant, alised for so you face being penalised ntres from late entering some city centres next year. It would be a good idea o drive it de ecent regularly to decent o distances off 50 miles or ep the DPF more to keep ng. It’s also regenerating. n it on good to run superdiesell rather ary than ordinary diesel. We bought a used, 2015 Honda CR-V with 37,000 miles and took it to a local garage to have it checked. They reported an oil leak but could not identify exactly where it was from without further investigation. Should I return it to the dealer for a refund? GR Yes, you are correct. It’s good that your local garage merely inspected it and did not carry out any work without asking you. ABOMINABLE SALESMEN Why are some Skoda Yetis advertised as estates and others as hatchbacks? JT Databank predictive text. Some databanks call them “hatchbacks”, others “estates”. As soon as the advertiser writes in “Skoda Yeti”, the rest of the details are automatically filled in. It causes all sorts of rubbish, such as calling a Tiptronic torque converter auto a “semi-automatic”. DEPARTMENT S I might buy a 2017 Audi A4 Avant TFSI S-line 190bhp automatic, with 11,000 miles, for £26,000. Am I right in thinking you’ve had reservations in the pastt about the DSG G gearbox? TB h This will have the DL382 longitudin longitudinal seven-spe seven-speed wet clutch S-tronic trransmission. There T transmission. be een a bit of trou has been trouble t with it in the past in the notthing like that on Q5, but nothing transverse DQ200 unit. the transverse TAKING T TA AKING GOOD KIA I own a 2012 Kia Ki Sportage 1.7 CR S CRDI, which has 43,000 w 43,0 miles. I only do 6,000 m 6 miles a year. It is still m un nder warranty for f 18 under mo onths. I am thin months. thinking SHORT ANSWER Is The Highway Code regularly updated to recognise technical nts to improvements vehicles thatt ping shorten stopping distances? I am due to urse to educate attend a course iving in a me about driving 20mph zonee and I’d be advice IB grateful for advice. ave a The old Highway Code gave 0mph of 12 stopping distance from 20mph es “thinking metres, which is six metres e brakes distance” and six with the applied. As long as the driver is alert, a modern car should be able to stop in less – but if you’re attending a speed awareness course, don’t argue. Just sit there and listen. There’s really no excuse for speeding. CLEAN BRAKE? My 2015 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2 diesel is Euro 5 emissions-compliant. With regard to NOx emissions and the car’s resale value, are there likely to be kits available to upgrade cars such as mine to Euro 6 pollution standards? CD I’m afraid not. It would not make any difference to the car’s original emissions certification and adding a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system would in any case cost a lot more than £2,000. I understand electric cars and their limitations, but thought a hybrid ran on electricity provided by the battery and, when necessary, its petrol engine cut in to assist. I thought that, when running in petrol mode, the cha charge in the battery was maintained. If tha that is so, what is the point of a plug-in hy hybrid? JW EV capability, basical basically. A fully d plug-in h charged hybrid gives you e ran of 20-30 an electric range m Afte miles. After starting a plain y get very little hybrid, you immedi immediate electric range. Once On into the range. journ ney, as you say, journey, h will wil regenerate both batt b the battery. STICK STI ICK OR TWIST? My in-laws iin-la have had Da acia Sandero a Dacia Stepw way diesel from Stepway new. They only do 7,00 00 miles m 7,000 a year an nd are ar concerned and abou diesel a about part p particulate filters and other a eemi emissions equi equipment faili failing. Should they keep it or go for a n new, petrolengined model? DC It really depends dep on the deal they can get. The obvious Stepway to go for is the 90 TCe petrol. But diesel values have dropped sharply, so if the cost to switch is massive it would be best to stick with the existing diesel. FRIGID RESPONSE I must disagree with you about stopping the wipers in the upright position to prevent the blades being damaged by icing. Surely they are best left in the parked position and the screen de-iced prior to using the wipers? WJ If you go to any properly cold country you will see every car parked with wipers upright and away from the screen – the locals know best. WRITE TO HONEST JOHN We cannot accept postal queries. For consumer and used car advice, or car faults, email: email@example.com 27 28 *** GAMES It’s a Brain Games week – with great puzzles to try including Dango, Keijo, Gogen, Loop and classic Logic. You’ll find the Brain Games four-page pull-out, with the £500 Crossword and £100 Big X Sudoku, inside this section. Don’t forget that you can enter all our competitions by email Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph Saturday 31 March 2018 *** 29 GAMES 30 Saturday 31 March 2018 The Daily Telegraph *** Dear Graham How can we deal with our polite but unrepentantly noisy neighbours? Do you have any advice on how to deal with noisy neighbours? Next door to our terrace house lives a middle-aged professional couple, outwardly conventional. In summer they have late dinners outdoors, with all the windows open and clamouring and clattering until three in the morning, even on weekdays; this time of year is better but there are still people round most weekends, with what my children tell me is “dad music” audible until late, and various noises-off. We can’t pretend this is quite a case for the Environmental Health Agency, and we don’t begrudge them their social life. We just want to be able to sleep, and we feel they should know better – they’re considerate and friendly neighbours in other respects. Indeed, they were hugely apologetic when we raised the subject of the previous night’s bacchanal with them as light-heartedly as we could, in October. They just didn’t do anything about it. R & G, LONDON NW7 GRAHAM NORTON AGONY UNCLE The author, comedian and presenter advises readers. Send your problems to firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Graham My elderly father is threatening to boycott my brother’s wedding My only brother is getting married for the first time in August, although he has three grown-up sons with a former long-term partner. My reason for writing is that our 80-year-old father has told me that he intends to tell my brother that he has a fictitious holiday abroad booked, coinciding with the date of the wedding in order to avoid attending. My father is in good health for his age, travels abroad, drives himself locally and also lives near to the wedding venue. Their relationship is rather distant: my father disapproves of what he sees as my brother’s “alternative” lifestyle. But he has met the fiancée and has not got anything against her. It just seems he and his wife cannot be bothered to put themselves out to attend this family event. Should I tell my brother this information or keep it to myself ? I have tried to coerce my father to attend the pending nuptials without any success. I am in a dilemma – please help. TOM, VIA EMAIL MISTERNED.COM Dear Tom Tell your brother? Really? Because that would be helpful in what way exactly? Your brother has the only information he needs in order to plan his special day. Your father isn’t coming. The end. You might wish the world was a different, happier place where families all loved one another. But don’t let one old man’s Dear R & G LETTER OF THE WEEK Dear Graham My sister is hanging on to a legacy that’s not rightfully hers Three years ago my two sisters, J and G, and I received an inheritance when my parents passed away, a modest sum of £3,000 each. G lived out of the UK and had no UK bank, so J offered to pay it into her account. I was the executor so I duly paid both sisters’ shares to J, expecting that she would get the cash out for G next time she was in the country. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen: G didn’t ask for it. Now, though, she is back living in the UK. She has asked J for the cash, but J has been evasive: avoiding a reply, then saying she doesn’t know, then changing the subject. This has happened a few times. There is no financial reason why repayment cannot happen: J and her husband are well off. G doesn’t want to force the issue as she says her health would not stand the stress. But this will surely harm, if not destroy, their relationship, as G has confided to me that she is quite upset, and I can’t imagine she will just be able to forget it. I have to add that J has a history of failed family relationships: she has had no contact with her grown-up son for years, and has never even met his children. She has also cut off all ties with me since our parents’ funeral, despite my trying to contact her on many occasions, and now seemingly she doesn’t disapproval ruin what should be a day filled with celebration. As family dramas go, this one isn’t even that bad. Your father hasn’t disinherited anyone or cursed their union from his seat in the congregation. Rest assured you have care about her relationship with her sister. Should we try to resolve this in some way? A, BERKS Dear A I’m not a policeman or a lawyer, but to my untrained eye it looks very likely that J has stolen £3,000 from G. Unless you have some written proof of your intentions when you paid the money into J’s account, it may be hard to bring a case against her, but just ignoring it really doesn’t seem like an option. I understand that your sister doesn’t like stress, but if she enters the fray happy to accept defeat then I can’t see that it will be any more stressful than seething with fury about someone taking a large amount of money that is done everything you can to help. You have cajoled and encouraged the old man to be less curmudgeonly but to no avail. Go to the wedding and raise a glass to the happy couple, because sharing their joy will enhance your own. By rightfully hers. Clearly, J isn’t averse to falling out with people, but she must care about something. Would she be embarrassed if her husband found out what she was doing? Are they as rich as they would like everyone to think? If people knew they “couldn’t afford” to pay back a minor debt to your sister, it might motivate them to take out the keys to the bank vault. It is sad that your sister cares so little about her family, but don’t feel guilty. She created this situation and it sounds as if it is just part of a selfdestructive pattern. G may never see this money again, and I hope she is not in dire need of it, but J should be made aware that she has chosen money over a relationship with her siblings. Her loss. resenting their love, or disapproving of it, all your dad will gain is an afternoon at home drinking tea and watching Football Focus. Comparing your brother with your father, I would say it is definitely your dad who is the one missing out. WRITE TO US Email graham@telegraph. co.uk Write Dear Graham, The Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 0DT When appropriate, the best letter will win a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier Sartre may have thought that hell was other people, but presumably he never encountered people with poorly positioned speakers and a dodgy taste in music. I pity you. This is a problem as old as time, and as far as I’m aware there is no real solution. You have already tried the “friendly word” approach and you might consider using that technique a few more times to see if the message gets through. If you have been turning a deaf ear to this problem for many years they may not have taken your single complaint very seriously. If this approach doesn’t work – it won’t – then it is time to harness technology. I’m told there are marvellous new forms of insulation and even contraptions that promise to cancel out the noise. Ultimately the problem is one of compatibility. Neighbours tend to get along when they are mirror images of each other: two nice couples with young children may have the occasional disagreement, but there is bound to be a greater understanding. The couple living next door to you may be less than considerate because they lived through your children when they were babies howling through the night, or your own party-giving phase? Whatever happens now, this will never stop being a problem – because you will be listening out for it. A sound that a year ago wouldn’t have bothered you, will now keep you awake, grinding your teeth with indignation. I know it seems drastic, but if I was you, I would seriously consider selling up. At least your new neighbours might play better music!