Sir Paul McCartney, why is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall pretending to be a vegetarian, bloggers-win £200 voucher and wine tasting day

1. A pig, a bear, a herring, a squirrel and a wood nymph were highlights of the Royal Parks half marathon last weekend. The pig was promoting Percy Pig sweets and my two year old shook hands with it. The bear scared the little boy, while the idea of the herring-portly comedian Richard Herring-trying to complete the 13 miles scared St John’s Ambulance volunteers. Dressed as wood nymph was model Nell McAndrew, who ran the race in one hour 25 minutes. There were 12,500 runners and 40,000 spectators. The child and I walked some of the course. He liked the London Eye best, thinking it was a waterwheel. Other celebs I saw included swimmer Adrian Moorhouse as well as 70 Daily Telegraph staff. Apparently Mark Goodier, Jonny Searle and soap star Angela Griffin ran. Former competitors ex Miss GB/”Olympic hopeful” Rachel Christie didn’t, nor did Ben Fogle. I swore I’d retire if Fogle ever beat me, or if Chester the squirrel did either. Ted Appleby (aged 2 weeks) did not take part.

2. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has written River Cottage Veg Every Day! I’m glad he is stopping trying to make vegetarians ‘convert’ to meat, as he has in a previous series. Now HFW says ‘we need to eat more veg and less flesh,’ which is a bit of a u-turn. But he has spent 15 series promoting meat eating. I bet the 17th does too. The again, I’m glad he is promoting vegetarianism, and as ever, his programmes are nice to watch and are a lot better than gardening programmes in going outside the ‘recipe and how to cook it’ formula (read ‘how to plant it’ in gardening TV/media).

3. I was quite impressed by the Evening Standard Food magazine. Rather than just recipes (in gardening this is the ‘how to plant a plant’ section, the mag covered trends, new openings, organics, art and dining, eco-movements and more, with some in-depth articles. Why don’t gardening mags even try to do more than ‘how to plant a plant’ and ‘what a nice garden’?

4. Green person of the year:Gisele Bündchen- Supermodel;Miguel Bose- Musician/actor; Sir Paul McCartney– Musician. My vote is for Macca, who has done a lot for vegetarianism, which does more to make the planet green than gardening.

5. We’re banned in China. A contributor tried to blog from China last week but Google blocked HortWeek I’m told.

6. Garden Museum curator Christopher Woodward has completed his swim from Gibraltar to Africa to raise money for the Landscape Institute archive. It took 4hr 11 mins and he beat the times of David Walliams and James Cracknell. CW had to wait a week for the right conditions but spent just five minutes in Africa before getting the boat back to Gib. CW has become a cycling martyr after being arrested for cycling in Trafalgar Square. He took the case to court because he was freewheeling with both feet on one pedal. The bobby took a hard line and also was cruel about CW’s cut glass accent. Free the Trafalgar One!

7. Garden News has done a scare story about a new pest set to invade GB. It’s citrus longhorn beetle. HW covered this two years ago.

8. Sun p45 12.10.11 has amusing Alan Titchmarsh iv with ‘Betty Brisk’ who covers ‘celebrity etiquette and daily dilemmas’ in comedy Q and As. AT is promoting new novel The Haunting (£18.99 Hodder) AT: ‘I have now banished the suspenders to the bottom drawer’, ‘I’ve often wondered what an unlikely sex symbol looks like’, the Queen was referring to my appearance at Sandringham WI AGM where the ladies were very welcoming.’

9. Titch’s 31 Oct talk at Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington has only sold 100 of the 500 tickets available for the charity event. The event is being promoted by giveaways at Amateur Gardening, HW etc. It’s quite cheap and AT is the biggest draw in gardening by some distance. I’d go if it wasn’t for the Garden Retail awards on the same night at Grosvenor House (we have held the awards at Royal Garden).

10. I’ve gone Linkedin mad. Want to reach 500 because then says 500+ rather than the exact number. My strategy is only to send invitations to people I’ve spoke to and who I’m likely to talk to again. I’m at 400 so far. 11. Shire Books has sent me a range of their latest gardening titles following a piece I wrote for the Guardian. Thanks Shire.

12.Geoffrey Smith lived at The Laurels in Barningham, Yorkshire where some of the Applebys lived in the 1700’s.

13. Ted Dexter Appleby was born last month. Here’s a pic.

14. Have a piece on dating in garden centres with Sarah Beeny/My Single Friendin latest Amateur Gardening 22 October. Apparently gardeners who keep orchids are “advernturous in the bedroom”. I took my Lynx, Brut and book of chat-up lines, feeling unchivalrous because Ted was due to be born that day. Find out if I scored in AG. Also a piece on saving Scaleby Castle in Cumbria mag October 2011. A a piece due in Guardian Saturday magazine on November 19 about how to get the best from your garden centre.

15. I’ll be sending out my Garden Media Guild advice to judges and list of likely winners in the next installment. So look out for that.

16. Freebie of the week. Report/get drunk event.“Loire Valley Gardens Savoir Vivre”
Workshop – presentations & panel discussions – networking lunch,

20 October 2011 – 10.30 to 17.30, RHS Horticultural Conference Centre, London

10.30Workshop opens, teas & coffees
NB the workshop will continue throughout the day and will allow for one-to-one discussions with the owners of the
gardensandrepresentatives of the region, there will also be regional specialty tastings.

11.00Morning presentations on “Garden festivals and events; is this the future?”
Panel: Chantal Colleu-Dumond and Prince Louis-Albert de Broglie

12.30 – 14.00 Networking Loire Valley lunch and wines, during the workshop

15.00Afternoon presentations on “A variety of gardens and gardeners in just one region”
Panel: Patricia Laigneau, Guillaume HENRION and Princesse Marie-Sol de la TOUR

16.00Media Award announcements and presentations, teas and coffees

17.30Workshop closes

17. LoveTheGarden.com will give a £200 restaurant voucher to the blogger who comes up with the most ravishing recipe based on fresh tomatoes. To be in a chance to win this appetizing prize or one of three cookbooks by James Ramsden, people must write a blog post about the Taste for Tomatoes competition including their most cherished tomato recipe and email the URL of the post to entries@lovethegarden.com before 19th October 2011.The judge will be James Ramsden, author of the cookbook Small Adventures in Cooking and the popular food blog www.JamesRamsden.com. He will especially be looking for surprising recipes that bring out the unique flavour of fresh tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are extremely versatile – they can be used in salads, salsas, soups, sandwiches and many other dishes. Bloggers are allowed to include all tomato varieties in their recipes, from big beef tomatoes to sweet cherry toms and from the Yellow Roma to the Russian Black. Each type of tomato has its own unique flavour and texture and the aim of the competition is to find a recipe that brings out the best in the tomato of your choice.The Taste for Tomatoes competition is LoveTheGarden’s third culinary contest this year. They are organizing these competitions in order to make vegetables more popular in the British Kitchen. The Creative with Cabbage competition was won by blogger Karolina with her Cabbage & Mushroom Pasties.David Hall won the Potty for Potatoes competition with his Hot potato, bacon and nasturtium salad. For more details and terms and conditions of entry, visit the vegetable garden competition page at LoveTheGarden.com.