My childhood garden backed onto a Luton train line: every nine minutes an engine thundered past. Despite this, my parents tried to replicate their ‘ground to hand’ Bangladeshi upbringing in our tiny plot. There was an apple and a pear tree, plus my dad grew pumpkins, radishes, coriander, mint – even grapes to make cordial. He refused to pay for overpriced veg at the corner shop!
It meant us kids saw all the stages food went through to reach our plates. Dad’s garden is still his pride and joy, though nowadays it’s sliced into three: one third for veg, another for grandkids, the last one for chickens.
I got my first detention for climbing a tree when I was 11
My grandfather is a farmer, so every year we’d visit him in Bangladesh and spend the whole time running, climbing and picking veg. So shinning up there felt like the most natural thing in the world. Back in school in the UK, dangling legs gave me away, and the teacher was horrified. I was pretty horrified myself: I’m such a goody two-shoes, I hated being in trouble. I never climbed a tree in England again.