Saturday, 16 August 2008

Just in Time North to South on Horse Back

Top Talk

I caught up with ‘Belonging’ actor Steffan Rhodri as he came back from horse-riding. I’ll be ‘living’ in the saddle soon,” he explains, “so I’m preparing.” Also known for his role as Dave the bus driver in Gavin and Stacey, Steffan is taking part in the ‘Amswer Justin Time Horse Ride Challenge’ that is raising money and awareness of pancreatic cancer; a disease that claimed the life of talented TV director, editor and performer Justin Smith.

Leaving Tallacre Beach, near Prestatyn in North Wales at 11 o clock on August the 25th Steff, together with Shan Cothi, Brychan Jones, Brychan’s wife Sian, Justin’s sister Branwen and friend Chris Lewis will be riding the (roughly estimated) 287 miles down through Wales arriving in Ogmore on the 14th September. “I’m the least experienced rider,” confesses Steff, “but I have discovered I’m very good at mapping the routes and finding little bridle paths and Rights of Way. And we’ve also organised some amazing events and concerts at various towns along the way.”
The Twin Town actor, continues, “ I think the most magical thing is going to be seeing Wales as a spectacle. I feel I know Wales well as an Actor but really it’s only the towns, and roads between them, that I ever see. I’m looking forward to riding over mountains, through valleys and rivers.”

Does his appreciation of the countryside mean he’s also a keen gardener? “I’m the World’s Worst Gardener”, he claims adamantly. “I had an allotment once and after spending a day trying to clear it I gave up. I hated it. Dad was a good gardener and my sister has followed in his green footsteps but in some weird sort of transaction I am more like my Mum and would rather do the cooking. In fact,” he admits, “in every relationship I have had I’ve made it clear that I will do the cooking to avoid gardening – it’s always been a kind of trade off.”
For more details, the itinerary, event information and to make a donation to the Welsh based Charity, pop into or call Harlequin Agency 07966704548

Seasonal Spuds

Enjoying the taste of new potatoes straight from the garden at this time of year reminds me to prepare a later harvest for Christmas dinner. There is still just time to plant Carlingford tubers, known as Christmas New Potatoes, in large pots or tubs, so they can be moved into a shed or greenhouse to protect from frost. Available from or call 01473 688821. Dearer than other seed potatoes, they are worth every penny.

Back to Our Roots

Alternatively, have the’ new potato taste’ at Christmas by storing August’s potatoes. Lift new potatoes now and place uncooked, unwashed and unblemished potatoes in a biscuit tin. Cover with slightly damp silver sand (not builder’s sand: silver sand is low in iron oxides and salt and is used in children’s sand pits) which can be bought from most garden centres and DIY Stores. Then bury the tin about three feet deep and dig up on Christmas Eve. This old-fashioned method of storing veg is known as the ‘clamp’ method and works well with any root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and beetroot.


I think there is a niche for a ‘summer wellington boot’. And coming close to that, for kids anyway, is a fantastic range of waterproof footwear from They stock little frog, bumble bee and ladybird shoes and ankle boots that would make Gok Wan weep. Also available are ‘paint your own’ wellies – ironically, a great idea for keeping kids amused on rainy days. Call 077767 497443 for more details.