• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

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Because You’re Worth It

IMG_0891Nowadays I spend my days writing, drawing, driving and chatting. Such is the flabby life of the garden designer/journalist: I do physically garden but generally only for myself and only in my own garden. I have not been employed to wield a purposeful spade for quite a few years.

However, it was not always thus.

A decade or so ago I was mostly a manual labourer. Every day I wore muddy boots and drove a pick-up truck. I shovelled stuff, dug holes, hauled paving stones and laid bricks. My hands were pleasantly calloused and you could bounce a coin upon my abdominal muscles.

I had a lot of delightful clients in whose gardens I passed many happy days.

One of the most important moments was, obviously, tea breaks. Most clients provided tea at various points during the day.

One brought out tea wearing not nearly enough clothes. Her biscuits were very plain.

Occasionally they just left the kitchen door open – a generally successful option except for the day when my dog (a charming animal called Wilson who I bought, for £8, from a stall in Shepherds Bush Market) decided that it was wet outside and he would be much more comfortable curled up in the middle of the clients’ large, white bed.

He looked terribly comfortable but the cleaning bill for a King Size Damask Bedspread rather knackered the profit for that job.

I have always judged my clients (as every workman does) on the state of their biscuits.

A rich tea was seldom enough.

A Penguin was tantamount to a inappropriate advance.

A chocolate digestive ensured that we cleared away all the rubbish.

A Trio meant that we were prepared to turn the Radio down.*

The very best was a client in Dulwich, South East London. I can still (if I close my eyes and float away) remember eating plain chocolate Bahlsen biscuits in her garden. It was damp, cold and my hands were filthy but that experience was very close to ecstasy. Similar, I think (and you might feel that I exaggerate here), to being plucked from a raging sea.

Or tumbling weightless through distant nebulae.

Or rolling naked in soft grasses.

Or riding a speeding horse through fragrant pine forests.

Or stroking Mariah Carey with a kitten.


If anybody has the gall to deny that the Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuit is nothing short of a God among baked goods then I will spit in their eye.

James Alexander-Sinclair

*I once did a garden for Florence and the Machine’s mother. We played very loud Wagner, I seem to recall.

How very pretentious, I hear you say.

Absolutely spot on but pretension is the prerogative of youth, many architects and some garden designers


16 Responses

  1. “One brought out tea wearing not nearly enough clothes. Her biscuits were very plain.”

    This maybe the finest pair of sentences in the history of the written word. And I’ve just realised that since Lila’s fab JCC post (https://biscuitencounters.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/i-travel-in-biscuits/) a while back I read these biscuit posts in JCCs voice.

  2. Stroking Mariah Carey with a kitten? And as for the lady with very plain “biscuits” . . . I don’t know what to say!

    I think I’ve been rendered speechless.

    Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuit . . . great choice!


  3. A loud cackle emanated from across the pond about the Mariah Carey toss off. You must have been quite popular among those needing garden work done. I might have hired you myself, the muddier the better. Oh, were you writing about biscuits?

  4. James,
    You don’t say if the Choco Leibnitz were milk or plain chocolate – it makes quite a difference. The latter are, as you say, out of this world, espcially when put in the fridge to cool.

    I can picture those very plain biscuits now!

  5. Pity me people ~ I have never tasted a Choco Leibnitz, milk or otherwise. They are just that wee bit too dear for my budget, I am but a photographer, and therefore very poor 😦

  6. All worship at the biscuity altar of the Leibniz! I wonder whether Mariah Carey has ever tried one…? All I want for Christmas is Choco Leibniz.

  7. Mmm Choco Leibnitz, Plain if purchased…. either if given out!

    I can never resist biting off the chocolate overhang all the way around the edge, before devouring the rich tea stylee base and remaining chocolate topping in two chomps max.

  8. Why aren’t there any pics with this post. Not everybody is German and knows what a Leibniz biccy is. BTW the Germans may have lost the war but have you Brits realized they are trying for world domination via their tasty biscuits? The fiends! Gives a whole new meaning to the buyer beware thingy, doesn’t it?

  9. damn you all and your happy tales of this biscuit! I’ll just have to save my pennys and one day…….oh, one day.

  10. I’m sorry but I felt that post was verging on soft porn. I’m glad that list of ecstatic experiences stopped when it did!

    Clients have introduced me to Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers & Lotus biscuits: both worthy additions to the best biscuits list.

    Oh yes, & personally I prefer the orange flavoured Choco Leibnitz

  11. How about Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference dark chocolate stem ginger biscuits? Evil but deliciously devine…

  12. That should be divine – fingers can’t cope with brain speed as per usual…

  13. I am now feeling worried about what signals I have been giving out to the various ‘artisans’ who have worked on my house over the years. I have a feeling the best I offered was a chocolate digestive. Thank the lord I never offered them Bahlsen biscuits (although I may keep these in mind for the rather hunky window cleaner and/or Chris Beardshaw should he ever call round).

  14. Nice habitat photo…

  15. Reading James’s elegant embodiments of the Choco Leibniz experience, I feel moved to a confession. I ate an entire packet of them last night (plain, of course). Please don’t tell my wife. I bought them for her, but the right moment to give them just didn’t crop up. I’m sorry. I know I don’t deserve your pity, but please, someone, tell me it isn’t such a bad thing to have done. They were just sitting there. It wasn’t my fault. Oh God. I’ll buy her some more. At lunchtime. I swear.

    Oh, and thanks for listening.

    By the way, Choco Leibniz are on offer at Tesco at the moment.

  16. The fact that you have provided me with such valuable information about Tesco means I would forgive you anything right now!
    I too can share in this wonderous biscuit, today even, if I want! I shall buy some and see what all the fuss is about, the price won’t play on my mind if they are on offer. Plus we have 2 seperate viewings for our house in the morning – how fancy to offer them a Choco Leibniz, could close the deal.

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