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Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow …

August 28, 2011

Every day I go for at least one walk … for a couple of hours. The Spaniard seems to get grumpy if I don’t as do my knees. Generally it is one of three walks:

1 – round The Gogs (hill above Cambridge)

2 – along the river through Stourbridge Common to Fen Ditton and back

3 – Grantchester Meadows

more often than not it’s the first; it’s near to mother’s house where I spend alot of time as I have my work desk here as well as it being a perfect place to be.

I walk a circuit round … often with friends, sometimes alone … and I’ve been doing it for over a year now. I love to see the tiny differences from day to day; the cowslips in spring, the huge daisies in early summer and this time of year all the fruit coming on the bushes. There are some seriously fat purple sloes (dreaming of sloe gin here!!), beautiful black and red elder berries, yellow crab apples and lots and lots of blackberries. What really bugs me is that nobody picks them … apart from me. I head off on my yomp round the land all clean and shiny and come back with stained fingers and a purple mouth and a sodden, sticky bag in my pocket full of blackberries.

I tweeted about this ( @e11ie5 ) and lots of people came back with frightening looking jam recipes. I got home to mother’s and was wandering around the garden and noticed that the very old and usually barren pear tree is laden with pears. Apart from chutney we couldn’t work out what to do with pears to keep them longer term.

So back to the internet and came up with a recipe for Pear and Lemon jam … and in a fit of domesticity (most unlike me … it must be The Spaniard causing me to start ‘nesting’) I coerced mother into a jam making afternoon.

She supervised, I ended up very sticky and both of us quite fractious. I asked if she made jam with her mother (imagining Granny’s parlour laden with fruit and jars), “no” she replied, “we didn’t like cooking, we were artists”. Which got me thinking, it was always my father that make the jam – and my brother!!! I inherited mother’s aversion to cooking and total lack of ability to make things that look beautiful on the plate.

Our jam boiled and boiled, but would not set … more lemon added (good) more sugar added (big mistake) … and we thought it was set but having put it into jars and labelled it yesterday evening, this morning it looks professional and beautiful but is still all runny.

So will try to get it to set later. I wonder if I will suddenly become domestic and start nesting … right now I’m thinking the idea of pureeing vegetables and food for The Spaniard is what i should be aiming for but it scares me. Faced with the untidiest house in the world and a vague awareness that The Spaniard will need a small space to live in what do I do? Tidy the house, de clutter? NOPE … I go for a walk and phone a friend or come and see Mother.

Last night, having totally failed at jam making we sat together and watched the film of Sex and the City (there was alot of sex in it which made me blush to watch in front of Mother … but we both stayed up late to watch it together … she is amazing at 84).

Maybe it will come … failing that I guess it can always live in the bottom drawer of my bedroom chest of drawers!

Right – bath, church, back to jam setting … maybe tomorrow we can have some on toast!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2011 3:38 pm

    My review of “SATC” here:

    • August 28, 2011 4:05 pm

      Thanks Roger … funny this morning after church Mummy was cheerily telling all the old men she’d seen the film last night – with a huge grin on her face … you say Feminism it isn’t but in many ways it is!!

  2. September 2, 2011 7:26 am

    Can’t you ‘pickle’ pears in brandy? I seem to remember having them in France one time.

    Shortly, I am going to pick damsons from our wild damson orchard, and see if there are any sloes. The damson crop is totally unbelievable this year and there is no way I can pick them all, nor afford enough gin and vodka to go with them, but I can’t let them go to waste when nature has provided us with such a bumper crop…. (heads off to find 1949 wine recipe book for damson plonk)


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