Childhood revisited

I used to hate the summers when I was growing up. And I’m still not a great fan but back then, it wasn’t the sun and the heat (30 degrees today) that did my head in, it was the fruit picking. The strawberries. The raspberries. The blackcurrants. The gooseberries. All had to be picked and topped and tailed. Backbreaking work. I ate so many that I rarely, if ever, touch a berry these days. I make an exception for cranberries – and only because they’re a core ingredient of cosmopolitans. And of all the jam my dad makes, I can only face his redcurrant and mint jelly.

I’m back in the village for a couple of days. The painter has been in. He’s done a great job inside and is working his way outside, too. [Not quite sure why he painted around a wasps’ nest, though.] The house is coming along nicely. Bought a bed today – a real bed. With a real mattress. After six months on a sofa bed, I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. And after a hard evening’s working picking cherries, I deserve it.

Yep, the universe is playing a cruel joke. I mentioned before that we were a little unsure as to what sort of fruit trees was have in the garden. Well, I know for definite that we have cherry trees – two of them. And two very prolific babes they are – if that word can be used to describe a cherry tree. There’s probably a more appropriate horticultural term but hey, I never did pay much attention in the garden.

What’s more – the only time I’ve ever willingly (as in not out of politeness) eaten cherries has been when they’ve been sitting on top of a Black Forest Gateau. But in lieu of flowers (after a two-week absence) I was met at the station with a bowl of the red devils and I was starving. Turns out, I like them. Or at least, I like the ones that have come from our trees.

But what to do with them? There’s bucket loads. I think tomorrow I will try my hand at making that Hungarian summer staple, cold sour-cherry soup. And then on Thursday, I might give the cherry gin a go. Any suggestions for Friday?


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