Thursday, 3 September 2009

An Autumn Fingering

I have a few ideas for blogasms in mind so there will be a short flurry of blogasming over the next couple of days.

Last Thursday I spent a lovely afternoon in Cambridge. It was gloriously sunny; not the scorching hot and bright high summer sun, but more the mellower, prickly, hazy heat of a late summer. It was wonderful. This weekend just gone though the weather has taken a turn for the cooler; Saturday night was a nice clear sky and after spending the evening in a nice pub in north London the walk home was decidedly chillier than it had been for months. Sunday was much the same with sunny spells and a chill in the air. Today was bloody awful; pissing rain and windy.


Come the end of civilisation I am determined to steal this for my fortress in the wilds.

It is as if autumn is slowly sinking its claws into summer and dragging the year from its soft warm hands and getting ready to throttle it senseless over the coming weeks and months. I love this time of year, I only hope it turns out to be colder rather than wetter.

I also managed to get another kilo or so of elderberries on Sunday in a park I was having a BBQ, made all the more miraculous considering myself and two friends had downed a 1.5ltr bottle of cheap own brand gin beforehand. How we manage this feat of berry picking precision without injury or mishap is one of life's little wonders. Bank holiday Monday was spent hungover making kilos of plum chutney and some elderberry pontack (think elderberry ketchup). This whole flurry of preserving I have been doing this year has I think been one of the most rewarding things I have done in ages, not only does it mean spending time foraging with friends but I also get free food out of it. I think in future though I might limit it to what I can gather for free rather than pay for though I might let myself go a bit and buy raspberries for jamming. Like nothing else it gets you 'in tune' with what's going on around you – I was able to watch next door's elder tree blossom and bear fruit over the summer from my bathroom window every morning as a brushed my teeth – and as such I think is a valuable way of making that connection with the landscape around you, even if that landscape is central London. It is just a case of having a nose around and seeing what is there.

2 comments:

Ancestral Celt said...

You probably already have it, but Richard Mabey's "Food for Free" is a wonderful book if you want to forage.

Be warned: it becomes addictive.

We've froze what we think will be the last of our blackberries (not as sweet now) by putting them in clingfilm with a little sugar. Great to defrost and make into a syrup for desserts.

Bo said...

Glad you had fun that day!