Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Unfocussed ( with two 's'es or one...)

I don't seem to be posting much. I have many things going round in my head, and plenty of photos, but then I find some other useful thing I ought to be doing, or when I sit down here I find myself wandering off to Flickr and browsing around, uploading the odd picture and finding yet another group to join, the latest being one themed on melancholy and another two on cows.

Our friend who cuts our hedges has arrived, and is setting about the heroic task of bringing to some order the many miles of cypress, thuja, laurel, photinia, viburnam, and berberis which we ambitiously planted thinking to make our little acre look like Little-Hidcote-de-la-Bretagne, then found it was beyond our powers and our hedge trimmer to keep in order, and mostly our garden looks more like Hidcote six months after the end of the world. In order to minimise what we have to pay him and the time he has to spend here, when he could probably be earning better money doing something easier, I am trailing round after him raking and sweeping. Yesterday it rained so much I was very quickly literally wet to the skin, but we soldiered on, and the turpentiney smell of cut cypress, and scents of bruised geranium, lovage, sweet cicely and others was rather delightful . Today it is sunny, and I should be out there now.

I've also brought back a large bag of rugosa rosehips from this morning's walk, to supply my current jelly-making fit. I am of an age to find the flavour of rosehips, from childhood rosehip syrup, very nostalgic. It retained scarcely any of the vitamin C which was its raison d'etre, and it rotted our teeth, but it was delicious anyway.

And I have received a couple of nice compliments. Dave King, from whom a compliment is very well-received, says I am a KICK-ASS BLOGGER. Unfortunately, I've forgotten how to put the little logo thing on here, and ama bit pushed for time, so you'll have to take my word for it. As I say, this is a very handsome compliment from someone who is clearly a scholar and a gentlemen, who writes excellent, quirky, thoughtful and erudite poetry and essays and who sparks many an intelligent discussion over at his blog Pic and Poems.

I won't nominate anyone for the award, as really you're all very kick-ass, I reckon. I would recommend, however, you go and visit Tori's wonderful food blog, Love Apples, because she'll make your mouth water in general, and wrote this delicious post about blackberry fool after reading my bramble jelly one. She hails from Montreal and is a friend of Beth's, but spends a lot of time in Europe and Hungary in particular whence she came originally, I think, and she's adorably, scarily passionate and clever about food. She describes blogging as for 'exhibitionist introverts', which is just perfect, and I wish I'd thought of it.

The other nice thing was that one of my photos of blackberries got seen on Flickr and asked for for a web news magazine, Now Public, for this article about how people don't forage enough wild food any more. I think quite a lot of photos are chosen for these articles, so there are enough for a slide show, but it was a pleasant surprise anyway. Internet news magazines I often find a bit overwhelming and time consuming, but it looks quite a good, interesting site. My photos the one by 'Garlic chicken' which is me on Flickr. Funny how your mind goes a blank trying to think of a name, so you choose the first thing that comes into your head and get stuck with it...

So, that'll have to do, sometime or other I'll do a proper post. Dick asked for some photos of sunshine, so here's a drop from last night, when Phoebus deigned to show his face after the rain gods had soaked me all day, on a couple of dahlias and my prize pumpkin, which is now about the size of a toddler's football.



18 comments:

Rosie said...

you have been busy! I am deep in the raspberry harvest. I am inspired to join flickr, but I will give it a moment..the stress of changing over my blogroll has exhausted me...

Plutarch said...

There was rose-hip syrup during World War 2 to provide us with vitamin C. But you are too young to have been given that.

Crafty Green Poet said...

People are going back to foraging i think. We love picking wild cherries and brambles.

Your photos of sunshine are wonderful, glowing

Granny J said...

Oh, you put it so well, CGP, those truly are photographs of sunshine at its best.

And exhibitionist introverts is such a grand, descriptive phrase. Very true.

marja-leena said...

How can you say you are unfocussed when you have been very busy! You are tempting me...

Zhoen said...

Rosehip tea in college.

Loved eating the rhubarb and green grapes, sweet clover and mint &
cherry tomatoes from the garden.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks for stopping by to see us today. Lovely photos here, and I do wish I could partake of some of your delcious jellies!

meggie said...

It is true- I am an exhibitionist introvert, hinding behind the computer!
Lovely post. How I adored blackberry picking...in my memories anyway!

Lesley said...

Rosehip syrup rotted my teeth too!

apprentice said...

Oh I used to love collecting rose hips for Delrosa. i think it was hang-over thing from the war, to make sure people got enough Vit C.

Lucy if you ever want a hedge trimmer/photoshop coach I'll be there in a flash lol!

Have you tries buting a big long tarp, or plastic sheet -you can let everything fall on this and then just haul it off to the compost heap.

A
x

apprentice said...

Oh I used to love collecting rose hips for Delrosa. i think it was hang-over thing from the war, to make sure people got enough Vit C.

Lucy if you ever want a hedge trimmer/photoshop coach I'll be there in a flash lol!

Have you tries buting a big long tarp, or plastic sheet -you can let everything fall on this and then just haul it off to the compost heap.

A
x

Lucy said...

Thanks very much.

An interesting sidetrack about the rosehip syrup. No, I am not too young to have been given rosehip syrup, as Lesley and Apprentice who I think are in a similar age bracket to me, confirm. A 1960s childhood was a curious hybrid thing; on the one hand there was fresh fruit and veg and citrus aplenty, and I remember the beginnings of Waitrose and Marks and Spencers food, with such exotica as orange and passion fruit squash, on the other there were those medicine bottles of rosehip syrup, which were clearly a hangover from earlier times of scarcity and fears of scurvy! I was trying to remember the brand, and of course, it was Delrosa! Thanks Apprentice!

The wartime recipe for the syrup is in Food for Free. It was of course for using wild rosehips, and the amount of mincing and boiling involved was not only enormously complicated and elaborate, but most surely have destroyed most of the vitamin C.

Rosehip tea, Zhoen, is excellent and delicious, especially combined with hibiscus, and I think does preserve worthwhile amounts of the vitamin.

I have the impression people still enjoy foraging alot.

The recipe for jelly is, in essence, the same as for the blackberry one, boil fruits covered in water until pulpy, which is longer for the rosehips than soft berries, strain through a bag, and then a pound to a pint again. I threw in a few green apples for good measure, and also some grapes which were lying around, as they aren't seedless Tom's not allowed them, and I wasn't eating them up. I didn't try to get all the pips out of the hips, just took off the sepals and woody bits. The seeds, as every schoolboy knows, can be quite irritant to the skin, so take care, and in order to avoid too much of their fibre in the jelly, I'll go easy on squeezing the bag!

Anna - the tarp, yes, in theory we know about it, but we don't do it! I did hope Tim the hedgecutter would use one when it came to the berberis today, and I mentioned it, but he didn't. I'm going to make sure I do it first next year! Tom and I got stuck in anyway, he being up to a bit of garden work now, and we got it all shifted and swept up; those thorns are so vicious!

Dave King said...

I copied the logo and then loaded it in to Blogger, as if for a post. Then I cut and pasted the code into the side panel area of the site code before deleting it from the post. That's not the professional way of doing it, I'm sure, but it works. Best of luck!

Isabelle said...

How wonderful to look like Hidcote at all, even if not quite at its best. We visited it in the summer and I LOVED it. I really wanted to take it home with me.

Beautiful pictures.

herhimnbryn said...

Rose hip syrup, that's taken me back! Do you remember gripe water too?:)

Dick said...

Oh, thanks for that glorious set of three lambent flowers, Lucy. It's slinging it down again today.

Bee said...

Your "bits and pieces" add up to quite a lot -- with description, information, and inspiration all mixed in nicely! How fine that you caught the fleeting sun; so scarce around these parts at the minute.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I don't think I have ever had rosehip syrup. And that's not because I am a young thing either - because I am not. Clearly I was just a deprived child!

I suppose I ought to try it. I don't have a sweet tooth at all but I think one should try everything once. Foodwise that is!