I like a bit of chocolate, but my peanut allergy means I have to read the labels very carefully. One major annoyance is when I find the text "may contain nuts" or similar. The dilemma I face is that peanuts are not technically nuts – they are a legume, more like actual peas than nuts. Honest, it's true. So, when I read "may contain nuts" does the manufacturer appreciate this distinction (in which case I am safe) or are they including peanuts as nuts, as the common man on the street would most likely expect (in which case I am not safe)?

I asked Cadbury what their position on this is. Here's what I sent them:

As anyone in your industry likely knows, peanuts are not technically nuts – they are a legume. Can you clarify whether Cadbury labelling (e.g. on Cadbury Clusters) that says "May contain nuts"  includes peanuts in its remit or not? On a technicality I would think not and that I (as a peanut allergy sufferer) could eat the product with impunity. However it might be that you interpret "nuts" to include peanuts. Some companies specifically say "tree nuts" to be clear when they means nuts but not peanuts. I'm keen to understand Cadbury's position here so I know what's safe to eat and what's not. Thanks in advance. Either way, it would be helpful to all nut and peanut allergy sufferers if the labelling could be made unambiguous and I'd appreciate a comment on that more generally.

The response from Cadbury (over a month later, after me chasing them):

Thanks for your email

Our Technical area advise Cadbury labels Nuts when referring to Tree nuts. We would label Peanuts separately as they are not a Tree nut as correctly pointed out.

So, there's your answer, for Cadbury at least. It's a shame they didn't see fit to comment on perhaps using "tree nuts" in their labelling in order to be unambiguous.

Our kitchen had one patch of bare wall but nowhere to put cookbooks other than in a pile on a worktop. A perfect opportunity for some bookshelves! I planned a custom construction made from pine, comprising two uprights resting on the floor with four cross pieces (for three shelves and a top) with the whole thing screwed to the wall for rock solidness.


I originally expected to use 18mm thick sawn pine timber, but in B&Q it was clear that these were actually quite warped end to end – the top of a 2.4m plank was about 30 degrees twisted compared to the bottom so that it would have messed up the result something chronic. Instead I bought pine "furniture board" which is engineered from multiple pieces of pine glued together (edge to edge, not ply) which gives a much less lively result with hardly any warp whilst looking quite attractive. It's quite a lot more expensive mind you, and having waited 30 minutes for the timber cutting service to re-open after lunch I was told my 20cm wide boards were not suitable for the machine. At 2.4m long they weren't going to fit in the car so a hasty re-planning was required, resulting in the purchase of a number of smaller 25cm wide pre-cut pieces. I'm glad I went for that width actually as many of the books are 22cm and there's room to accommodate that depth from the wall even though I was worried there wouldn't be.

I had been keen to get all the lengths cut in store for a perfectly square, straight cut with identical lengths for all the shelves. I don't have a table saw so I was going to struggle to do this easily myself, but I was forced to saw the boards down to the right length with a hand saw. It was tough to get a good result here and to get them all the exact same length, but the flex in the uprights accommodated the differences. I simply put two number 8 screws into the end of each shelf to hold it in place, with carefully drilled countersunk screw holes, and that seems to have done the job. The countersink bit I bought recently is a godsend – it really makes the results look so much more professional.

A couple of simple metal angle brackets off the peg from B&Q allowed me to screw the whole ensemble firmly to the wall and it really is very rigid. Also note in the picture (click for bigger version) the 45 degree cut off on the tops of the side pieces and the cut-outs at the bottom to allow it to sit flush against the wall above the skirting.

Overall I'm extremely pleased with the result apart from one thing. I slightly lost track of of the height of my biggest books between start and end of the project, the result being that they don't quite fit on the shelves by a few millimetres. I'm kicking myself about this, but I'm a novice and I'll learn from these mistakes.


With a big expanse of South (ish) facing fence and an empty patch of soil I decided to plant a grape. It will be interesting to see how it does in our English climes, though global warming may be on my side. With any luck I'll be reporting back in a few years with pictures of lush bunches and even bottles of the finest home-produced wine. I can but hope. The variety is Pinot Blanc, which is apparently fast growing.

And yes, I know that weeding is urgently required (and in fact has been done since this picture was taken).