Day 26

tony

My adored friend Tony Howard came over to fix up my tiny little jungle of a garden.

This is like having Gordon Ramsey coming over to rustle up a cheese on toast, or Karl Lagerfeld darning your socks.

As well as being a big and real proper head gardener, Tony is a chef, but most importantly… my favourite dancing partner. We disco down and tear up the floor.

Tony used to be in the army and still smokes a cigarette with the red end tucked inside his palm, so his nickname – and Instagram tag – is @squaddietony. He’s really worth a follow.

He can also crack a coconut with his bare hands.

Two years ago I won one on the coconut shy at Port Eliot and I walked away saying, ‘Great – now what do I do with it?’ Tony took it from me and then handed it back in bits.

I love my friends. (I’m sure I’ll get onto his husband Derek in future despatches.)

I have made a chicken pie of such splendour I’m quite behind myself. I even made the puff pastry.

Thanks to Nigella Lawson, after years of cooking fear, I am now completely confident with all species of pastry.

The binding sauce is a velouté, made with the stock from the boiled-up carcass.

Get me.

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