Alex James is "happiest" in his garden.

The Blur bassist - who became a cheese farmer when the group went on hiatus in 2003 - enjoys spending time outdoors so much he splashed out and built an alfresco kitchen on his 200-acre farm to allow him to spend more time close to nature.

He said: "I've realised I'm happiest in the garden, especially when it's dark. Autumn and winter nights have the clearest, most spectacular skies and I'm relishing the thought of getting cosy out there with the telescope as the nights draw in. I've put a few lights in. I've even built a little kitchen out there!"

However, the 40-year-old musician - who lives on the Oxfordshire estate with his wife Claire and their four children - does get frustrated by adverse weather conditions.

He explained: "I don't mind the cold - jumpers and the bonfire see to that. Even the rain I can cope with. I've got one of those big freestanding brolly things. It's only the wind that can spoil a big night out, now, and it does, a hard wind, more than anything."