Things To Do in Barnes, Battersea, Cheam, Clapham, Epsom, Fulham, Kingston, Putney, Surbiton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Wimbledon

We all love a goosegog

Picking gooseberries is a painful experience.

The bush has a habit of getting back at you with needle-like spikes. But, to offset this, the fruit is wonderful. It makes excellent pies - with a topping of a smidgen of cream. Now, before you turn the page to do something more exciting, like looking at the contents page or watching cement dry, I must explain why I found myself knee deep in a gooseberry bush in the middle of August.

Well, the TV packed up. This is a disaster that rates with the demise of the dishwasher or a boiler blowing up; it is a lifeline to the outside world; it is what civilization is all about - or is it? Is it not a One Eyed Monster that keeps us shackled to our armchairs, dependent on royalty journalists to impart the latest gurglings of George Windsor, desperate to know who has won The Voice or what really happened in Corrie? There was a sense of freedom about the house. The house blossomed with silence. That old standby radio came into its own; entertainment without the annoying pictures – you could make up your own.

Those half-read books get finished, time is available during waking hours rather than just last thing at night. The morning paper is read thoroughly before reaching the recycling pile. Meals take longer with the possibility of a small port to finish. Conversations take longer and cover more interesting topics. A visit to the allotment in the cool of the evening… Now this was a bit of a downer, that wretched gooseberry bush leaving wounds and scratches, but, it is a small price to pay for the return to life as before the presence of the One Eyed Monster.

The Eye likes to be current. Talking of gooseberry bushes, I was a tad annoyed when production refused to let me rewrite the Eye after the birth of George minutes before we went to press last month. There is a rumour, put about, that Kate and William invented having a baby. I can say categorically that this is not true. We, in Wimbledon and Putney, got the hang of this ages ago, with some success.

Fashion tip: There have been a few grumbles recently that I have been letting readers down by not giving my usual fashion tips. Well, I can let you into a secret now that the latest fad is blue polka dot frocks, as worn by Kate as she came out of hospital. So - should you have any left-over rolls of fabric from the late 50s - get stitching. Now is the time to make a fashion (and commercial) killing. Remember you read this first in T&L.

Tony Kane is founder of Time & Leisure Media Group and editor of the Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Putney editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.