My Su­per Seven

Gar­dener, writer, broad­caster and all round hor­ti­cul­tural hero ALAN GRAY shares his Su­per Seven cul­tural picks

EDP Norfolk - - People -

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.

by Nigel Slater, pub­lished by Harper Collins

Above: The Christ­mas Chron­i­cles: Notes, Sto­ries and 100 Es­sen­tial Recipes

Be­low left: Net­flix se­ries, The Crown

Be­low right: Holkham beach

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