Saturday 19 March 2016

The PINK SOFA meets writer, baker & gardener Anne Brooke

Ann and I met via social media. We share a love of cake and God, tho' perhaps not in that exact order. We also both have allotments, though she is far more proficient than I am. Anne is a bit of a Renaissance woman: she writes erotic fiction, fantasy, comedy, thrillers, biblical fiction and the occasional chicklit novel. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize (for novels set in London) and the Royal Literary Fund Scheme. The PINK SOFA is enjoying the luscious cake she made for this post, and may possibly leave a couple of slices for you. Or possibly not.

The Allotment Wife Has Her Say

''I never wanted to own an allotment – it was my husband’s idea (honest, gov) and I only went along the first time just to support him. Not that I was really that convinced by it all as we’re both working, we have no spare time, and most of all neither of us know a thing about gardening, let alone the mysteries of an allotment.

However, allotments have a strange ability to worm their way into your heart, and ours in particular was a lovely set up: eight raised beds, a shed (a man-cave for two!) and a soft fruit area. So it didn’t take long for me to be as keen as my husband about the joys of tilling the land (or scratching it with a trowel and sometimes with my bare hands anyway …), and maybe even more so. Because you don’t have to just grow veggies in an allotment. I’m a total flower tart but I hate cutting flowers from my own garden as it means I can’t gaze at them when I’m drinking my champagne on the lawn of an evening (dream on, eh). As a result, the concept of turning some of the allotment beds over to cut flowers was very exciting indeed. I left it to my husband to beat the veggies into submission.
So I began to write a blog on allotments and how much (and how quickly) they can take over your life: A Year in the Allotment (A Beginner’s Guide to Losing the Plot) grew (ha!) out of this seedling blog and is the story of our journey from total gardening ignorance to slightly less total gardening ignorance – well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a year is a mere drop in the ocean of gardening time. Along the way, we discovered we couldn’t tell the difference between celery and spinach, nobody really knows when a courgette turns into a marrow, the carrot fly is the Work of the Devil, and beetroot doesn’t have to be red.

I also fell in love with my rhubarb patch and became something of an expert in rhubarb crumble and even rhubarb cake – which I happily added to my weekly cake baking schedule. Yes, I really am a 1950s housewife writ large, but without their sense of style, sadly. There was also the rollercoaster ride of the Village Allotment Show  and whether our onions would ever be big enough (oo-err, missus …), not to mention Mole-gate and just how rude asparagus tips can look in a bed (an allotment bed I hasten to add – I’m not that strange. Well, not in public anyway ...)

So, get your pruning shears out and come and learn how not to lose the plot – happy allotmenteering to all!''

Find Anne and (for fantasy fiction).



  1. Oh my, another blog I'll have to follow. I would love to grow veggies on my postage stamp patch that I grandly call a garden. Maybe I'll get some tips from Anne! And I am intrigued by something else, Anne...erotica and biblical writer both? Not to mention comedy next to thrillers! Interesting!! I shall investigate...a lovely, funny post too. Thank you both!

    1. Hello, Vallypee! I reckon you can grow veggies - or flowers! - anywhere! Last year, I managed to grow the world's smallest lettuce and was very proud indeed, LOL! :) And, yes, I'm definitely all over the place when it comes to writing - I like to think that surely there must be something for everyone in there somewhere (much like my garden!!) All best to you, and thank you for commenting :)


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