It has been really interesting being asked questions – they tell me quite a bit about the people who have asked them, and this time the questions have been intriguing to say the least, and I’ve definitely had to think about the answers to some of them! So without further ado – here we go!
Nicola asked “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?”
Answer: You know, this one had me stumped. I should come forth with some wonderful place like Outer Mongolia (I hear it’s lovely at this time of year!), but really there are few places that excite me more than certain places in England. I remember wanting to spend time in India because their traditions and customs – meditation, respect for nature and one another – make me think that India is well-ahead of its time. Take Ayurveda for instance, they’ve been using this holistic medicinal health-care system for millennia, and it works. But the place I most wanted to visit, and when I was a child, to live, was Nunavut. As a child I was engrossed in the thought of living a completely self-sufficient life, and although maybe a wee bit cold for my liking, I’d love to travel there and know true isolation. As I write this I’m seeing a pattern of wanting to find something “deeper”, this may be a recurring theme!
Anastasia asked: “For us who dont know much about growing our own food – what would be the easiest and simplest vegetable to grow?”
Answer: This is such a good question and it’s using my veg-growing knowledge, fantastic! The easiest veg to grow include potatoes, which can be grown just about anywhere from an old bucket, to a plastic bag, to a small garden border. They are trouble-free for the most part, and just need earthing-up every now and then. Peas are also on the list, they germinate easily and as long as you have some bean-poles for them to scramble over they’ll be happy to grow anywhere and will ‘fix’ nitrogen into the soil! Runner beans, courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes and lettuce are all really easy to grow and maintain, and would make a fantastic introduction to gardening!
Sarah asked: “I was surprised at how many people find blogs so quickly, what surprises you most about your readers (and commenters). Which of the locations that people visit from surprise you?”
Answer: This too is a really interesting question. I love that everyone who comments give really constructive feedback, if I’ve asked a question for instance about my ethical shopping post, the ideas and feedback I got from that gave me the impetus to write more. As did all of my food activism posts. I also really admire other bloggers’ work, and love reading the diverse output that is shared with the Online Community. I do get some funny search-engine referrals though, usually “vintage tits”, “pretty nips” or somesuch, which makes me smile because heaven knows the people who search for such things must get a shock when they actually view my site! But I do get lots of searches for information on various things – “vintage look cake stand”, “bunny rolls”, “how to stop dandelions growing”, “transplanting prunus kojo no mai” and “the problems when making a victoria sponge”. It’s lovely to know that someone has found you completely by chance and then becomes a permanent reader – especially when they say hello!
Marie asked: “Hi Tash, As a former resident of the north-east, I am intrigued as to where you live. My family are originally from Middlesbrough – a long way from Southern Ontario – although I still have family in Yorkshire (North & West) and Cheshire. And how so many readers had found you – any idea?”
Answer: I live in a tiny little town (east of the middle!) in Northumberland whose name I tend to keep off the ‘net for privacy’s sake – we haven’t lived here very long (2 1/2 years now), and moved when my husband re-located with work (neither of us are from the North). However we have fallen in love with the region, especially for the beautiful coastlines and wonderful pastoral countryside that surround us. Our families are spattered everywhere, and we seem to be the “black sheep” for moving so far away! As for how so many find me I’m not sure, I’ve been blogging over 2 years on this blog, and it takes dedicated posting, commenting and writing of interesting subject matter to keep people reading. At least that’s what I look for in other blogs I visit :) I spent most of those 2 years with very few comments, but I find that people will stick around if they like what they read!
Katie asked: “What is the best book you ever read and why?”
Answer: It’s hard to put my finger on one particular book, I think that books find you, rather than you finding books if you know what I mean – the right book for the right time. But whenever I’m asked that question I always have to say one of the best is Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. A true story, it was made into a film “October Sky” a few years ago, which is how I found out about it in the first place. It’s a story of struggles and hardships paying off, and at the time it was a book I really needed. It came to me when it should’ve, and remains to this day one of my favourite books. But I couldn’t leave things like Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier or any of the Falco mysteries off the list.
Nà asked:”Do you make jam or cordials? if so what is your favourite and would you like to swap recipes???”
You know what, I haven’t yet made a cordial but I keep hearing mention of them around the ‘net! I know I’d love to try an elderflower cordial as they are everywhere at the moment, and they smell so divine. But I have made jam. Last year I made redcurrant jam, blackcurrant jam and Wedding Strawberry jam! The Wedding Strawberry was using up all of our leftover strawberries from the wedding and putting them to good use. It was delicious. I love making chutneys too, and as we have over *20* tomato bushes this year, I’m thinking chutney will be the dish of the day come August! I’d love to swap recipes, I have a lovely tomato chutney recipe that works without fail!
Amy asked: “What made you decide to be more environmentally friendly and organically minded?”
I’ve always been acutely aware of the environment, I was a wild child running around barefoot and loving being close to nature. That has always been my ideal. I also derive enormous amounts of pleasure from growing my own food and moving closer to my ultimate goal of being completely self-sufficient, not only in food but for energy use and life in general. It’s very, very hard to achieve but I believe it’s possible to go most, if not all of the way. As for being environmentally friendly – the environment is everything to us as human beings. It is the air we breathe, the sun we see and the rivers we swim in. It is life, and if we don’t protect this fragile world of ours, it won’t be there for others to enjoy. I see this as my primary goal in life, to protect the world. It literally means the world to me. I don’t think anything kicked it off, but a profound love of nature and the self-sufficient life-force that encapsulates the world and keeps it going.
Lesley asked: “What is your earliest memory? And what are your happiest childhood memories?”
Gosh it’s hard to remember. My childhood seems to have a timeless quality, what I thought were my earliest memories I have been reliably informed were actually when I was around 6, and I have been told memories I thought older turned out to be from when I was tiny. I remember leaving nursery-school and sitting, with my wonderful grandmother, eating a Curly-Wurly in the Cathedral and looking at the enormity of such a place. We weren’t there for the religious nature, I think it was just a place for my grandmother to sit down and try to keep me entertained for a bit! One of my happiest memories is being taken over the Brecon Beacons and seeing all the ferns turning their Autumn gold colours. I must’ve been around 3 or 4.
Thanks so much to everyone who participated, it’s been really fun (hark on at me!) and very interesting! But as I’m working tomorrow (at work = heatwave!) I must get to bed! Have a fantastic weekend :)