Paradise, was there ever a place with a less appropriate name? It has been difficult to follow the tragic events that have unfolded there in the past week and a half; the terror of one’s hometown being engulfed by a firestorm, consuming everything in its path, is unimaginable. At the time of writing there are 76 confirmed fatalities, and 1300 still unaccounted for; though in the chaos surrounding this disaster there is some confusion over the exact numbers. The fire has devastated an area of some 149,000 acres, that’s 232 square miles! Quite how a community rebuilds after experiencing something like this is difficult to imagine, but we are a resilient lot, so, like a phoenix from the flames Paradise will be reborn, but the physical and emotional scars will linger long after the rebuilding has been completed; and it will forever be saddled with one of the most ironic of place names.

The events in California make our Brexit navel gazing look a little self-indulgent. It’s a mess, but a mess of our own doing, and quite why anyone is surprised at this stage that the EU is playing hardball is beyond me? What the heck did they expect? They misguidedly expected to have their cake and to eat it…..well life is rarely like that. There was a terrific cartoon in yesterday’s Guardian, a day after a David Hockney ‘swimming pool’ painting sold for $90 million, showing Theresa May watching Michael Gove swimming towards her; I thought that it summed up very well the Machiavellian shenanigans of the previous days.

I had a very enjoyable day at the Healthy Living Festival in Clare today. I was there to promote the veg boxes in my own back yard, and to sell a few bits and pieces at the same time; both aims were achieved, and I even got to meet a customer that I had never set eyes on before. I have delivered to her for quite some time now, but the order and payment is made online, and I know where I have to leave the box, so there has been no particular reason for us to meet, but nonetheless it was nice to put a face to her name. There was plenty of singing, lots of talking about gut bacteria, and even community yoga that everyone joined in with. It was great fun, and the event helped to raise money for a Haverhill based charity (Reach Community Projects) that helps to lift disadvantaged people out of poverty – hoorah for them.

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that the apple season is over. Yes, that’s your lot I’m afraid, unless I buy some in, but I am dragging my heels on that. There will be plenty of oranges and lemons this week, and limited kiwi fruit. There will be Romanesco cauliflower, broccoli, cavolo nero, leeks, red and brown onions, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, a choice of spuds, Jerusalem artichokes, and mushrooms. I will be lifting some small celeriac, and there are some smallish Uchiki Kuri squash (approx.1kg). There are 2 types of apple juice, honey, and rocket pesto.

I am really late doing this tonight, so I’m going to leave it there, other than to say that I will be at Wyken as usual on Saturday, and Jennifer will be at Steeple Bumpstead. It’s the hell of the Christmas Market in Bury next weekend, so I will be avoiding the town like the plague as much as I can. If you are a Bury customer and you are affected by road closures as a consequence of the event, it might be an idea to miss a week, unless there we can arrange an alternative drop-off location.

Have a good week, it’s going to be a chilly one, so wrap up warm; it’s about time that we had some seasonal weather. It’s time that the ceanothus in my home garden stopped thinking that it was late spring, and the self-sown broad beans forgot about setting flowers, because it will only end in tears.

Self-sown broad beans flowering in the garden last week





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