Summer is agoing out…

It’s the last week in August from tomorrow. My family members are not looking forward to September and going back to school. Not so much because of anxiety but because of losing the pleasant, leisurely start to the morning that they’ve got used to over the months. Before the school holidays officially started, Weeza was keeping the children to school hours, pretty well, except that they had a good breakfast and started schoolwork at 10 o’clock. This seems very much more civilised than the daily rush.

But there we are. Whatever passes for normal nowadays. I’ve been making chutney today, with the back door open and a fan on, so that I didn’t actually collapse into a damp heap on the floor. I have six and a half jars of damson chutney and four of tomato relish waiting to be put in the larder, and I’ll make damson jam tomorrow.

Recipes for damsons cheerily tell you to halve them and take the stones out. They lie. For one thing, the stones don’t come out, the flesh of the fruit clings to them and for another, the damsons weigh about 5 grams each. So a kilo of damsons is 200 fruit, give or take, and each one has to be prised out and wastes a lot. Obviously, this makes no sense, so I cook the fruit first in the least possible water and sieve them in the mouli. Then rinse through with the measured vinegar to remove the remains of the juice. The jam is better because the stones bob up to the top once it’s cooked. I hope.

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