Now that you can buy garden pods in John Lewis, it’s definitely the future. Some of us may have fallen behind and be living in the past with old-fashioned flowerbeds etc. In which case you need to catch up quick by updating your garden design.
I’ve pointed out before that you’ll need an invisible shed.
Here are some other super-modern solutions to common problems.
1. Tiny plot
City gardens tend to be small, so consider extending upwards or downwards. You could try an underground lake, or planting vertically. Take a structure like this:
Plant strawberries laterally up the sides. Then slide down the chute with watering can in hand for efficient and fun irrigation.
2. Long, thin garden
Normal swimming pools simply waste space with unnecessary widths. If you’re someone who only swims lengths, consider installing a Swimming Trench.
However thin your garden is, you’ve room for one of these. And for all weather swimming, the addition of a polytunnel over the trench will mean you can grow tomatoes along the side.
3. Shady beds
Make the most of what you’ve got. If a dominant tree eg a leylandii is casting a shade over your plot, just use it to your advantage to add an extra ‘garden room’:
4. No garden at all
Don’t worry – in the future, even if you live in a tower block with no access to a lawn, you can still go camping:
Dreaming = free and fun. Done correctly, it can fill those apparently useless sleeping hours with adventure. For the benefit of mankind, we have tested the following notorious dream-causing foods, to see which has the most spectacular results:
This is probably the most famously dream-inducing food in popular myth. To test this thoroughly, we ate a large amount of Gorgonzola pizza shortly before bedtime.
Result: Tedious dreams which are mostly administrative – having a lot of visitors turn up without enough beds, people whose invitations I haven’t replied to, packing suitcases for a plane that’s about to leave, etc.
Conclusion: Quantity, but not quality.
Eating chocolate before bed seems to be widely associated with having bad dreams.
Sounds like a myth invented by unscrupulous, tooth-protecting parents. Sceptical, the subject ingested a combination of “double chocolate” mousse, hot chocolate, and a few truffles to be on the safe side.
Result: Surprisingly, that parental threat turns out to be completely true. An almost text-book nightmare follows: a figure suddenly sits up in the next bed, in the style of Whistle and I’ll Come to You, and says, “I am The Undertaker.” It’s all downhill from there.
Conclusion: Listen to your mother.
Spicy food is often blamed for vivid dreams. We ate at a Sichuan restaurant, where all the food is exceptionally fiery.
Result: A cascade of dreams. I am at a banquet wearing a gaberdine mac which I realise will infuriate the king. I am being chased so turn into a bird, and fly over a pub where I overhear the owners discussing the secret recipe for their special burgers (they use coconut). My fortune is made! And so on.
On the minus side, my fellow guinea pig complains that he’s spent the whole night fighting imaginary gatecrashers at a student party.
Conclusion: Impressive, but may require a lie-in afterwards.
There’s a reason why the surrealists loved lobsters: they and other shellfish have long been thought to cause wild dreams.
A recent trip to the French seaside gave us the opportunity to test this out.
Result: A night packed with entertainment and strangeness. Robots made of blue-and-white patterned porcelain; people playing boules on a dark river with candles in paper boats; using a saw like this:
Conclusion: Deluxe dreaming. Highly recommended.
Times are hard – these days, if you want luxury you’ll have to forage for it. Fed by Birds is here to help, so we bring you cocktail recipes derived from the land. Let Ray Mears drink sap; we expect something a little more exciting from the wilderness.
Vodka and Nettle Cordial
As served by Lady Strange.
100g freshly picked nettle tips
100g freshly picked young blackcurrant leaves
1 kg granulated sugar
40g citric acid
500ml boiling water
Add the sugar, citric acid and water to a large saucepan. Heat to 60 degrees C. Add the leaves and remove immediately from heat. Cover and leave for a week, stirring daily. Strain and bottle. Keep in refrigerator.
Add vodka to taste.
1/2lb hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup vodka
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Hazelnut liqueur preparation:
In a glass bottle or jar, steep the chopped hazelnuts in the vodka for about 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, gently shaking the bottle every day. Gently pour the contents through a strainer or sieve, pressing hard on the nuts to release all the flavor.
Follow this by 2 strainings through slightly dampened cheesecloth or large coffee filter; loosely cover the contents with plastic wrap, since the process may take several hours.
In a very small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over moderate-high heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Stir in the vanilla. Funnel into glass bottle. Cover tightly; shake to blend. Let mature at room temperature, or slightly cooler, for at leat 3 weeks.
For martini, combine 1/2oz hazelnut liqueur with 1oz vodka with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve.
1lb haws washed and lightly crushed
6oz caster sugar
1 1/4 pint brandy
Put the berries, sugar and the brandy into clean lidded jar. Stir well. Put on the lid.
Store in a cool place for 3 months, shaking the jar daily for the first 7 days. Strain the brandy through a brewing sieve into a jug. Do not squeeze the sieve. Pour the liqueur into a clean bottle and cork.
5-6 Elderfower heads
8 pints boiled Water
1 1/2lb sugar
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
Put the elderflower heads and sliced lemons in a fermentation bucket and pour on the water. Leave to soak for 24 – 36 hours. Strain through a cloth or fine sieve and add the sugar and the vinegar. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved. It doesn’t keep much longer than 3 months.
Capillaire is a syrup popular in old English drinks:
Infuse 2oz maidenhair fern in 11/2 boiling water, and 2lb of loaf sugar, which pour while boiling hot on 2oz more of the fern. In 10 hours strain clear.
For the punch:
Take 1 quart of mild ale.
1 glass of white wine.
1 glass of brandy.
1 glass of Capillaire.
Mix the ale, wine, brandy and Capillaire together with the juice of the lemon and a portion of the peel pared very thin. Grate nutmeg on the top, and add a bit of toasted bread.