LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Grandfather’s lifelong hobby has somehow grown on me

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My grandfather has long brought us gifts from his garden. Always managing to place a mystery bag bulging with groceries on the bar in the midst of putting the kettle on, hugs all round and pulling a paper out of thin air before he settles down on the sofa.

It’s almost like our own version of Ready Steady Cook, as my mother never knows what the bag will bring, but she always manages to make something tasty from it.

Some of my earliest memories I have are of sitting in his little glass greenhouse watching him work, and similarly my father remembers spending time in his grandfather’s orchard. So I suppose it was just a matter of time before we started cultivating our own cuisine.

A while back I told you about my weekend of hard work lifting slabs. The reason for this was to make some room for raised beds. And let’s just say we are beginning to see the fruits, or rather vegetables, of our labour.

We used to plant potatoes in buckets and tomatoes in growbags, but now they happily live in our little allotment alongside carrots, radishes, beans and more.

There is also something that might be a marrow or might be a courgette – we aren’t completely sure. Either way it has gone mental and will probably outgrow the garden soon. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I came home one day to find it making itself comfortable in front of the telly.

While we are still a way off living the good life, or even making a plateful – at last count we had four beans and four blueberries, a discovery my father proudly announced by saying ‘that’s one for each of us!’ – I have to admit it’s quite exciting and very rewarding.

I am told it is very in fashion at the moment. And any trend this tasty is fine with me! After all, food prices are soaring, the weather’s usually pouring...what other excuses do you need to grow you own?

* The magic lingers

I finally saw the last Harry Potter at the weekend. And with a wave of a wand my childhood was over.

It is a scary thought that when the first book hit the shelves I was just nine years old.

And yet all these years, pages and cinema trips later I still found myself entranced by JK Rowling’s magical imagination. Even critics have to confess it is no mean feat to have got a generation to read, especially in an age dominated by video games and gadgets. laura.cartledge@jpress.co.uk