28 March 2014

Nature + Nurture = One Mad Old Bat

My post yesterday, about the joys of sniffing home grown tomatoes got me thinking. Mainly about how I got to be the way I am today....... a nutty old bat more comfortable in wellies than in heels, with not a dress or a skirt to her name but with cupboards full of practical, boil-washable clothes and snuggly warm fleeces and a drawer full of thermal undies! Odd really because this hasn't always been the case. I have, in the past, attended more balls, cocktail parties, parades and garden parties than I can even remember and for many, many years my wardrobe consisted entirely of smart clothes, ball gowns and cocktail dresses with not a pair of wellies in sight, just dozens of pairs of fabulous shoes that would have been ruined by the merest sniff of a puddle. In the past, I would never have dreamed of leaving the house looking anything other than well-dressed and well-groomed. Today, the only things well-dressed are my salads and the grooming is reserved for the dogs although, if it's a special occasion, I will, very reluctantly, brush my hair. It's very liberating and I wouldn't change it for anything.

When I was a child, my Grandparents had an allotment. It was a fabulous place. It had a fabulous greenhouse filled with tomato plants and cucumbers, it had apple trees and rhubarb plants, rows and rows of beans and peas, cabbages, cauliflowers, turnips, and potatoes, in fact it was full to the brim with rows and rows of fabulous fruit and veg. It also had the cutest little shed in the world. It had a little camping stove for making tea, a table and chairs and a little built-in bench along one wall. It even had little curtains at the windows. I always wanted to live in that shed, it was my idea of bliss. Still is. I spent many hours at the allotment grubbing around in the soil, helping with the planting and harvesting and loving every minute of it. 

My Granddad was an amazing gardener who could pretty much grow anything and all our fruit and veg came either from the allotment or from his back garden. My nan baked delicious bread. She baked amazing cakes and perfect pies (although my dad always used to tease her by telling her that the filling didn't go right to the very edge of the crust), she pickled cucumbers and onions and red cabbage and like my nan, my mum is also a lean, mean, baking and pickling machine. She is also now the gardening-guru of the family and her veg production, from a few raised beds, grow-bags and planters puts mine entirely to shame. So, it's not too hard to see where I get my love of gardening and baking from. Sadly though, at the moment, my green-fingered enthusiasm completely outweighs my actual gardening know-how but, I'm ever-hopeful that in the not too distant future, my gardening skills will magically improve and I too will become a gardening goddess. 

So there you have it! I totally blame my family for the way I am today ..... Thank god for family! They stand you in good stead when things get tough and luckily, that's what mine did for me and it's apparently very true what they say, we eventually turn into our parents! As I get older, almost certainly because of them, I'm finding myself, more and more, drawn to that simpler life. I don't care if I have the latest gadgets, the biggest, flattest tv or the newest model of mobile phone in fact, as long as it works I don't care how old it is or what it looks like and more and more, I seem to be reverting back to the fabulous spirit of thriftiness of my parents and grandparents and quite frankly, I am so much happier for it. 

 Having said that, I wouldn't give up my perfectly formed, beautifully shiny, ridiculously gorgeous new mixer for all the nature and nurture in the world :-)


  1. At one point nan and grandad even had someone who was obviously sleeping rough coming into the shed at night and staying for the night then going before anyone got there so nan left a bottle of milk,tea bags and a packet of biscuits every day for him..he always tidied before he left so nan and grandad didn't mind xx

  2. Hoorahh for Kay, loved your post,i used to shop 'till i dropped,can't be doing with it now HATE it infact,would much prefer to make my own or spend my hard earned pennies on home made/produced goods when needed.
    Have a FAB day
    Best Wishes to you
    Sue xx

  3. Really enjoyed this post which rings some bells with me in how different my past is to the present. I didn't have a pair of wellies till I was well into my 30's and I didn't have a single pair of jeans in my wardrobe - as you say, how times have changed. Although to be fair I don't think my family passed on any gardening genes so I'm not quite sure where that came from. But, like you, I wouldn't have my life any other way now.

  4. It's good to take the best and most useful that's there and leave the fluff for someone else.

    Victoria in Indiana

  5. Loved this post. I think you somehow outgrow dressing up and realise there is more to life. I would rather be in scruffy clothes in my garden than anything or anywhere else.

  6. Yes I can identify with this- I happily go out and about in no make up and scruffy clothes and have just as much if not more fun and less worry now I am not so self conscious, I guess its a benefit of aging!

  7. The only time I bother with make-up and wear my pearls is when I need to visit Waitrose. It's kind of expected there, isn't it?

  8. Haha that is so true. I was in Waitrose yesterday and I was getting a few weird looks because I had just been out with the dogs and was ..... how shall I say ..... less than pristine :-) It makes me laugh, My money is just as good as the loud braying woman in front of me telling the cashier that her Porche was oh so lovely but she couldn't get much shopping in the boot. It totally made my day lol