Recorder letters: Living off the land, Fairlop Waters Nature Reserve, gluten free, KMT and Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 August 2018

Living off what you can grow brings a special type of discipline to life. Picture: MELISSA PAGE

Living off what you can grow brings a special type of discipline to life. Picture: MELISSA PAGE


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Insight into farmers’ challenge

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

I have been growing my own vegetables for many years now. The whole back garden is turned over to veggies plus I have an allotment.

There are good and bad years for growing. The present heatwave conditions mean it is a battle just to keep the crops alive, in the hope that the rains come one day.

The whole process though of trying to live off what you can grow, really does bring a special type of discipline to life.

It means really only eating things in season. So tomatoes start coming in late July, early August, running through to late September. Lovely fresh tomatoes throughout the summer. But if you are going to stick to growing your own, it is only then that tomatoes should be eaten. It’s not a case of tripping to the supermarket and buying whatever you want whenever you fancy it.

Broad and runner beans come from June through to September. Excess of these can be frozen and eaten during the rest of the year.

Courgettes and squashes also come in during these months. The latter can be stored to eat as winter closes in.

Kale and broccoli prove good staples for the winter months, providing excellent greens from around November through to April and beyond.

There are many other things of course. Onions, potatoes, salad crops like lettuce, spring onions, radishes etc.

The aforesaid represent my very limited efforts to be self-sufficient in vegetables. The plus is the satisfaction that comes with growing your own, the freshness of the food and the joy of being able to go out and pick the crop whenever you want it.

Drawbacks are sometimes a lack of variety and over production. I’ve found there is a limit to what can be done with a courgette. I regularly produce far too much of one crop.

Last year, it was broccoli, which I was trying for the first time. It is a great crop but so much was produced that I ended up supplying the road for a while.

It can be a case of over production or total failure on a variety of crops, so it’s always touch and go. What growing in this way does do is to offer an insight into the challenges that face the farmers, who produce food for us all.

When growing on an industrial scale to live, you cannot afford to have all your onions fail for some unknown reason. The challenge must be immense.

What is interesting if you try to grow all your own veg is the mixture of the joy that comes from achieving that goal but also an appreciation of the limitations that such an approach places on eating habits throughout the year.

It is though an exercise that I would recommend to all, a chance to reconnect with the earth, create something special and enjoy the rewards of your own endeavours.

Gravel dust will have health cost

Raymond Small, Huntsman Road, Hainault, writes:

Well done 85-year-old pensioner, Ron Jeffries, for being prepared to lay in front of lorries to prevent the destruction of part of Fairlop Waters Nature Reserve.

Politicians were happy when the nature reserve got designated because it raised their green credibility. Most people would take this to mean that the land would be protected and managed to preserve its animals, plants and physical features.

If gravel extraction goes ahead the term ‘nature reserve’ means nothing. Not only will it destroy valuable wildlife, but the effect of gravel dust in the air and noise being generated from heavy machinery will have a cost of people’s health.

How will we be able to trust our politicians in the future when they claim to be care about the envronment?

Please open gluten free food shop

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

Please can some entrepreneur open a shop selling gluten free food only in Ilford? He’ll become very rich.

At the moment most shops only have a small selection of gluten free foods.

Kenneth More’s widow at KMT

Ken Gaunt, Greenslade Road, Barking, writes:

To all theatre goers of the Kenneth More Theatre – a date for your diaries not shown in the new brochure and definitely not to be missed.

The KMT is proud to announce that Angela Douglas, wife of the late Kenneth More, will be giving a evening performance at the KMT on Sunday, October 28. Angela is also responsible for all the memorabilia displayed in the KMT about Kenneth.

Angela was married to Kenneth from 1968-82 and nursed him towards the end of his life when Kenneth died of Parkinson’s disease in 1982. She will be talking about her life with the great man.

Angela was a star in her own right and appeared in a number of Carry On films such as Carry on Screaming, Carry on Cowboy, where she played Annie Oakley, and Carry on up the Khyber along with many other film roles. She also had numerous television roles including Gideons Way, The Avengers, Z Cars and even Coronation Street.

Angela put her career on hold for a number of years and after Kenneth’s death she returned to acting appearing in Doctor Who, Peak Practice, Soldier Soldier etc. Angela has also written a number of books.

So come along theatre goers, remember October 28 and book a ticket to find out about the great actor Kenneth More and the man he was.

Brexit must be carried out

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

Referendums are the best expressions we have of real democracy, government by the people.

In 2016 every individual registered to vote was asked: the EU, yes or no? People responded in a massive turnout. They knew that leaving might involve hardship but voted on principle – to be free of rule from abroad.

The decision must be carried out. The opponents of Brexit say the margin of victory was insignificant. No. It was clear. 17.4 million voted to leave – numerically the largest vote ever for anything or anyone in Britain.

Some say that people didn’t understand what they were voting for or were led astray by Leaver lies. But research by Rob Ford, professor of political science at Manchester University, shows that people made up their own minds and that they didn’t trust what politicians from either side said.

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