When the TV Ground Force garden make-over team swoops in to transform some hapless plot into an eye-stretching fantasy in a matter of hours, Tommy Walsh's building skills are crucial to the success of each project. Whether laying decking, putting down paving slabs, building walls or pouring concrete, his contributions are the structural elements that help shape a garden and give it focus. Often relegated to the background behind his hyperactive colleagues, in Ground Force Practical Garden Projects
he has the stage to himself. The result is DIY heaven. If you have ever wanted to lay a patio, put up a pergola or erect a wall, but felt that the task was beyond you (perhaps rightly), then look no further. Tommy Walsh offers a range of robust, attractive and worthwhile structural projects for the small-to-average sized garden that should be within the competence of anyone capable of working out which end of a screwdriver is the business end. An introduction sets the would-be garden architect straight in matters such as planning, materials, basic techniques and safety; then follow sections dealing with Borders and Edges, Paving the Way, Timber Decks (something of a favourite of the author's) and Furniture and Features. A set of FAQs is followed by a list of UK stockists and suppliers. The only worry is that it's all made to look so reasonable and easy. That can't be right surely? --Robin Davidson
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It shows how far weve all come when a self-taught chef like me can harp on in public and in print, and not be hounded out of the place in a hail of couscous, Puy lentils and half-eaten banana tarte tatins. But, it seems, were no longer preaching to the unconvertible.
Theres a real sense of change pulsing through Scottish food culture. Chefs all over the country are getting hold of the best raw produce they can find and working wonders with it - which shouldnt be too hard, as what makes Scottish cooking unique is what makes it universal: fine produce. After all, you dont have to be a person of consequence to make the best out of good ingredients.