MY COUN­TRY­SIDE

The TV pre­sen­ter on child­hood mem­o­ries of Wales and grow­ing pro­duce in her gar­den

Country Living (UK) - - Contents -

TV pre­sen­ter Alex Jones

I grew up in Car­marthen­shire and we were sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful spots. The Gower Penin­sula and Pem­brokeshire coast were a stone’s throw away, and we’d pass the hours in Rhos­sili Bay, which has of­ten been voted one of the UK’S best beaches. Our fam­ily hol­i­days were spent at the sea­side in Tenby, which was just

down the coast. When you’re a child, all you want is a beach to run around on like a lu­natic, and we did plenty of that. I loved hav­ing bar­be­cues by the sea, too. There’s a lot to be said for a stay­ca­tion – the only prob­lem is that the weather doesn’t al­ways play ball!

We also had a car­a­vanette – I can re­mem­ber mak­ing cups of tea in lots of dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions! We were quite an out­doorsy fam­ily – I’d re­ally like to repli­cate that with my son, Ted. Al­though I live in Lon­don now, I go back to Wales as of­ten as I can. I miss the peo­ple and the scenery when I’m away, but we make the most of it when

we’re back – my hus­band, Char­lie, goes fish­ing and we’ll go on long walks to­gether as a fam­ily. Some­times, we visit Og­more-by-sea in the Vale of Glam­or­gan – it’s

stun­ning. You can walk along the sand, through the dunes and up to the Merthyr Mawr Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve. When city life gets too much, it’s great to jump in the car, drive over the Sev­ern Bridge and soon be some­where com­pletely dif­fer­ent. It was a priv­i­lege to be made a mem­ber of the Gorsedd of the Bards, which is an as­so­ci­a­tion made up of po­ets, writ­ers, mu­si­cians and artists who have made a con­tri­bu­tion to Welsh cul­ture. It’s very rare that such a small coun­try still has its own lan­guage and a strong sense of tra­di­tion and her­itage. At school, we were taught to re­cite, sing and dance, and, for a shy child like me, it nur­tured some­thing that might not have de­vel­oped oth­er­wise. Tak­ing part in the TV series Hell on High Seas re­ally was hellish. We sailed across the Ir­ish Sea at four o’clock in the morn­ing, with waves crash­ing over our heads for hours on end – it was so rough, we had to be se­cured to the side of the boat at one point! Al­though it was hor­ren­dous be­yond all com­pre­hen­sion, we raised a lot of money for Sport Re­lief, which was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic! We have a beau­ti­ful gar­den in Lon­don, but it’s a bit smaller than I’d like. Char­lie and I love a trip to the gar­den cen­tre. I’m very into lilacs at the mo­ment, and Char­lie en­joys grow­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles – toma­toes, straw­ber­ries and pota­toes are my favourites. We had such a glut of cu­cum­bers last year that I had to beg him to stop grow­ing them! Char­lie used to be a pro­fes­sional chef, so we’re very into us­ing sea­sonal

pro­duce. There’s a lot of plea­sure to be gained from cook­ing with in­gre­di­ents that are in sea­son. In sum­mer, I can’t get enough of ar­ti­chokes, as­para­gus and cher­ries. En­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues af­fect us all. Like most peo­ple, we loved watch­ing the lat­est series of Blue Planet, but it’s heart­break­ing to see pol­lu­tion, lit­ter and plas­tic in our oceans. I think be­com­ing a par­ent has made me a lot more aware of what we’re do­ing and what we’re leav­ing be­hind for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Wing­ing It! by Alex Jones is pub­lished by Lagom at £14.99.

I love bar­be­cues by the sea – there’s a lot to be said for a stay­ca­tion

Alex grew up near Rhos­sili Bay (left) and spent many hol­i­days in Tenby (below)

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