My first post.

BLESSED CALM, gardening in Warwickshire – organic vegetables and fruit – after a rollercoaster few days finding out more about business networking, LinkedIn, Twitter, media training etc for various Sunday Times features. My thanks to super-networkers Andy Lopara, Will Kintish, Rory Murray, Mike Southon,  Jo Spragg and Steve Sutherland (former commercial director of Charlton Athletic, now working on Olympic sponsorship for Greenwich and ABA), marketing author Chris West,

PLUS voice and presentation coaches: Ken Rea, Charmian Ingham, Katie Ledger and clients Deborah Jeff (Seddons solicitors), Annick Devillard (The Rooster PR) and Faisal Islam (BT)

WARWICKSHIRE TENNIS: Mixed fortunes for the men’s and women’s sides at County Week, Group 1, Eastbourne last night. Men who won 4 out of 5 matches, finished runners-up behind champions Herts – great performances by youngsters Andrew Fitzpatrick, Maniel Bains and Elliot Barnwell + stalwarts Steve Lee, Nathan Rooney, James Southwood + captain Gary Naughton.

Depleted Warwickshire women captained by Katie Shaw, sadly relegated after taking title last year – missing former junior champion Hannah Grady+ former GB no 1 Louise Latimer but building for the future with rising teenage stars. Special mentions for Hannah James, 19, and Jess Jackson, 20, + the experienced Luisa Cowper and Leyla Ogan. 15-year-old Manisha Foster, sister Anjoli, 17,  Celia Fraser, 17  and Aimee Jarrett, 20, all showed promise. I’d tip them to bounce straight back up to Group 1 after next year’s County Week, if they can bear the attritional battles at windswept Frinton, Cromer or whichever seaside venue  is chosen for Group 2.

GARDENING: Digging clutches of new potatoes, large, rude organic carrots, many shaped like bunches of bananas or with bizarre phallic-looking protruberances that would certainly have caused a riot on ‘That’s Life’ (‘Tee-hee!)  plus second crop of radishes and small but crisp cauliflowers. Slugs have only just about been persuaded to share the cabbages with us – tight, crisp heads full of holes like old lace. The hottest small peppers you ever tasted are ripening in the greenhouse: these nearly blew my old man’s head off last year when he munched a whole one – for about two seconds – and was still crying half-an-hour later.  Vast armfuls of courgettes, though I am leaving selected marrows to swell to huge proportions (I hope) and  feeding and protecting them in the hopes of improving on last year’s second place at Wellesbourne Horticultural Show.

Also picking pounds of giant raspberries the size of loganberries and the last of the redcurrants and blackcurrants A first, disappointing crop of blueberries – handfuls of peaky-looking pale blue-green berries so far despite the plants sitting with their roots swathed in best well-rotted Warwickshire horse manure – thankyou Freckles and Mabel – plus potash from the gently  smoking muck-heap and blood, fish and bone.

Time for a run and some circuit training after too many 16-hour days spent interviewing and writing latest crop of articles.


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