Date: 16 January 2009
Originally published in: Telegraph.co.uk website (UK)
Written by: Sylvia Roger
Wild child with green fingers who loves eating off the land.
Like everyone else I’m always haring around, but fortunately at the moment my husband Hal (Fowler, the actor) is free. We met in the musical Tommy and we have two kids, Harry, 10, and Rose, eight. I pick them up from school on Friday and after a snack they settle down to do their homework.
This term we have really been training them to understand the benefits of getting homework out of the way so they can enjoy their weekend. We have a large open plan kitchen/dining room and we have provided all the stuff they need, pens, rubbers, rulers, so that there is no excuse for it turning into a nightmare.
Then we get the weekend off to a good start by going out for a meal. It’s a rest from cooking and a relaxing way to catch up with the children’s news. Harry is just beginning to show signs of being interested in fashion and Rose is a bit of a tomboy, like I was, so we’ll all probably be wearing jeans. We go to one of the local restaurants. It’s usually an Italian in a village near Welwyn Garden City. After the children are in bed, Hal and I relax with a glass of wine, any wine – it’s usually red in winter – and discuss our plans for the weekend.
The clunk of the fridge door wakens me on Saturday morning. It signals that the children are up and foraging for yogurt and it’s time for me to amble downstairs to put the coffee on. Harry will start asking for a full English breakfast. It’s the only day we have one and Hal will usually oblige, topping it off with black pudding.
Afterwards, they all go to the swimming club and I catch up with the gardening. I can’t wait to get out there. Clearing up the borders and vegetable beds, planting bulbs – it’s an integral part of my weekend. When I got married in 1996 there was no garden, just a blank half acre. I wanted to know how to make it work so I signed up for a course at the local college. I went on to do a City and Guilds evening course at Capel Manor College and gardening became a passion.
Like London, our garden has been sprawling outwards ever since and we now have over two acres with lots of trees. Hal and I work as a team and grow vegetables and fruit: raspberries, beet, chard and apples.
Often the kids are invited to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Otherwise we might take Jess, our Airedale terrier, for a walk along the river Mimram.
Sometimes we have neighbours or other parents in for a meal. If I’m cooking it will be something with rice, perhaps a Thai curry. If Hal’s in charge they will get a roast. We use the vegetables fresh from the garden. I want the kids to see that cooking is a part of everyday life as it was when I was a child. They both enjoy making simple meals like scrambled eggs.
I’m really inspired by expert cooks, especially Nigella, who has helped me to expand my repertoire. At home I’m always dipping into cookery books; novels, like The Book Thief are mainly for when I’m on a music tour. And I love watching food programmes on television because living off the land is the lifestyle we aspire to. I never buy ready-made meals. I’m happy being at home and getting stuff done, but on Saturday evening I make myself stop. We light the fire and snuggle up to watch a film – something romantic. I hate violence.
Rosie is showing signs of being a good singer and Harry is having private music lessons from a friend who pitches up on Sunday mornings. We can hear his efforts at heavy rock on his electric guitar as we plant bulbs.
My mum and dad (rock ‘n’ roller Marty Wilde) and the rest of the family live close by. We are all into music and landscape gardening. Occasionally we all meet up, but I’m determined not to spread myself too thinly. The weekend is very precious.
TV personality: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. ‘I admire his lifestyle.’
Restaurant: Le Beaujolais, 25 Litchfield Street, London WC2 (020 7836 2955).
Place: my two-acre garden. ‘Gardening is my passion. I grow vegetables and fruit.’
Activity: taking my Airedale terrier Jess on family walks
Kim Wilde appears on the Here and Now Tour 2009 across the country in May. Tickets are on sale now: firstname.lastname@example.org Hotline number 0844 847 1726