My Super Seven
Gardener, writer, broadcaster and all round horticultural hero ALAN GRAY shares his Super Seven cultural picks
SINCE taking over East Ruston Old Vicarage more than 40 years ago, Alan Gray and Graham Robeson have created one of the most magnificent and widely admired gardens in the country.
Just over a mile from the beach, East Ruston Old Vicarage, near Happisburgh, is a magical place, bursting with vibrant colour, lush greenery and countless species of plants, flowers and trees covering some 30 acres. As he prepares for the opening of the gardens for a new season on March 3, Alan shares his Super Seven cultural picks – from addictive box sets to a fashion icon.
What am I singing along to?
The soundtrack Les Parapluies
de Cherbourg. I fell in love with it after a peice from it was played at a friend’s funeral. It is a beautiful piece of music which has these huge crescendos and is full of emotion. I like to play it at full volume in the car.
What am I reading?
The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. There is a no-nonsense approach to Nigel Slater’s writing and cooking which I love. For anybody who doesn’t know how to cook, his books are a great place to start. I love that he is incredibly knowledgeable about the fruit and vegetables he grows and really, he is a gardener and cook all in one.
What I am wearing?
Always Vivienne Westwood! When a new collection comes in, they actually hold pieces for me until I can get to the store in London. They know what I like. It started with the pirate boots with buckles all the way up the side – I fell in love with them and in turn with Vivienne Westwood.
What am I watching?
The Crown. I absolutely love it and cannot wait for the next season which apparently will have Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman in it. I appreciate it isn’t exactly accurate, but it is a remarkable show and it is beautifully done. I came to it late and was immediately hooked.
What am I listening to?
Dare I say Woman’s Hour on Radio 4? Several of my male friends also listen to it, because essentially it is a good magazine programme. I have listened to it for years and the content is outstanding. I also love Desert Island Discs, I think Kirsty Young does a brilliant job.
Where do I love to visit?
There is something magical about the north Norfolk coast, in particular Holkham beach. We only live a mile or so from the beach here and really should go more. It is incredibly cleansing going down to the sea, I always feel invigorated and it is great for refreshing the mind, your health and wellbeing.
What am I eating?
I go in cycles with food and at the moment it is very much nourishing, homely food – anything with a crust. I love cooking steak and kidney pies, mince beef and onion patties, all served with vegetables from our garden. We freeze our broad beans and peas to give us plenty of stock over the winter, and really nothing else, taste wise, comes close.
Above: The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories and 100 Essential Recipes
Below left: Netflix series, The Crown
Below right: Holkham beach