Tuesday, 23 November 2010


As we know, bugs do not solely exist in the garden, the little critters are everywhere.

A while ago I was moaning about an infestation of Moths here - Glamorous Gardener: Moths - that were destroying my clothes.  Thankfully after getting rid of the carpet and all the fur coats in my dressing room I am finally moth free.

However, now please spare a thought for America who have an enormous infestation of Bedbugs.  OH MY GOD, these are so hideous.

A few years ago I visited a friend in Manhatten who told me about New York's infestation, but more recently it's all over the news because the little critters have made their way in to department stores causing them to close down.  My friend (being American and all) explained that this was happening because of tourists (and nothing to do with America - though, I haven't really heard of anywhere else other than the US being overrun with the critters).  This Guardian article explains more.

The most horrifying thing is that you can actually see bedbugs - I aways thought the were too tiny to see but apparently they're a little smaller than a penny.


Even more horrifying is that according to this EcoBugDoctor website, you shouldn't be sleeping with anybody if you think there's a possible chance you have bedbugs in your home.  No wonder it brought New York to a stand-still. 

I am thankful for my moths frankly.


Friday, 19 November 2010


This is me photographed in the garden for an interview for one of my favorite websites www.spitalfieldslife.com.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Fred Butler

Fred Butler makes things.  Lots of things.   

I can't remember where I first met Fred but I remember liking her because every day she wore a different colour from head to toe.  Lately when I've seen her however she has been multi-coloured.  She is like a little rainbow. 
Russella with Fred Butler 

Here's an example of something Fred Butler made for an Exhibition I went to see.  They're FLORAL paper accessories. 
 FLORAL paper accesory
 Fred is so nifty with her fingers that she's made things for billions of celebrities including Bjork, Lady Gaga, Paloma Faith and ME.  Most impressive (to me) is that she created the infamous Lady Gaga 'Telephone' hat, which I think is a pretty iconic piece now and I hope will one-day will be exhibited in the VandA.

Lady Gaga Iconic Telephone Hat By Fred Butler

Here's Fred teaching me how to make a 'Pound Shop Sensation'...

I love Fred. www.fredbutlerstyle.com

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Mole Man

The Mole Man is a character from a Marvel Comic book.  He is also however, a strange man that for 40 years burrowed under his £1million mansion just around the corner from me in Hackney.  A few years ago the Mole Man was evicted - the pavements around his home collapsed, he hit an electricity cable and the lights across the street went out, he caused £100,000 worth of damage.  And according to this Guardian article he was just building a big wine cellar...(?)

It is now a dangerous structure...
Here's some photo's of the Moe Man's house as it is today...

 Mole Man's House

Apparently no-one is quite sure why The Mole Man wants to dig holes but there's a funny quote from a neighbour in that Guardian article which is 'he's a hard-working man, he just doesn't use his energy in the right way'

Someone should probably have seen his digging potential and given him a job as a Mudlark.

Which brings me to my next event.  I'm having a 2-way interview with a mudlark on Weds 24th Nov at Rough Trade .
come and find out what it's like to be a Tranny or a Mudlark

Abney Park Cemetary

Today we think of London as being overcrowded with people.  Live and kicking people.  A couple of hundred years ago however, London was overcrowded with dead people.  The population increased but the small parish cemetaries remained the same size leading to overcrowding in the small Parish cemetaries (it will have been a bit like getting on the tube at rush-hour in the morning - dead faces squished up against each other).

This led to some rich folk opening up private cemetaries to appeal to the middle-classes - these cemetaries became known as 'The Magnificent 7'.

They really are magnificent.

The great thing about these cemetaries is they have become a haven for wildlife.  This week I was in Abney Park Cemetary in Stoke Newington wihch is stunning.  If you ever have American visitors you must take them to one of these cemetaries - with America being such a large new country they don't have overgrown graveyards dating back hundreds of years and they're always impressed.

In Abney Park, as part of the conservation of the cemetary, the conservationists have included facts about the various flora and fauna

Spotted Thorn

Horse Chesnut

The gravestones are up to 150 years old and are works of art.  I particularly like these ones that have been constructed to look like they have ivy trailing up them. 
 100 years on and most of the gravestones have real ivy climbing up them...

 The great thing about these cemetaries is that they are interesting during any season.  There's plenty to see in Autumn as masses of yellow leaves cover the ground and the Ferns and Ivy still cover the ground.

 Ferns and Ivy
 I don't want to show you too much of the cemetary as there's so much to discover but if you look around there's some interesting people buried here like the founders of the Salvation Army and Mr Frank C Bostock who it would appear was a Lion Tamer at the circus during the 19th Century and whose gravestone is a majestic sleeping Lion.
Let sleeping Lions lie.

In the middle of Abney Park cemetary is this beautiful old gothic chapel which was the first nondenominational chapel in Europe (not linked to any one particular subsection of Christianity)


This Chapel also forms the backdrop in Amy Winehouse's video for 'Back to Black', the Title Track of her hugely succesful second album.

Amy Winehouse 'Back to Black'

Monday, 15 November 2010

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Another Year

I've just been to see the new Mike Leigh film 'Another Year' which is one of the most poigniant films I've seen in a long time.  The film takes you on a journey throughout one year in the life of Tom and Gerri who love nothing more than to potter around their allotment.  The focus of the film is on Tom and Gerri's home being a stable environment in which friends and family can take temporary relief from their otherwise disappointing lives.

I think the allotment in the film was symbolic of life, death, regrowth, rebirth and yet at the same time it seemed to symbolise the similarities from one season to the next.  Much like in life, every year is different but basically throws up the same problems or fruits of success.

I highly recommend this film.  It's as British as Cox's apples.

Friday, 12 November 2010

A little of what you fancy

As it's Autumn, there's hardly anything going on in my garden except yellow leaves.  Having said that I've become completely obsessed with thorny plants to stop kids climbing over my fence - the Berberis I bought from EBay arrived and it's bright Orange berries are the pretty much the only colour in the garden right now...

 So I thought I'd take a few pictures of my new favorite restaurant called

Here's the seasonal veg on display...
Seasonal Veg
Some pears and cider
Pears and Cider
 I think these are poached pears or something - eaten with cream or ice-cream
Poached Pears
There is a lot of Orange in Autumn.

 This is my favorite bit that I think you should try at home.  Pansy's in pint glasses.
Pansy's in a pint glass

It is run by the lovely Elaine.  If you happen to be in East London I highly recommend it...