Monday, 20 September 2010

Damson vodka and sloe gin

On Sunday the redundant can have a guiltless lie in, especially if one of you goes out with their jeans over their pyjamas and gets the paper. The only problem there is that you may find yourself grinding your teeth (albeit in the comfort of your bed) at Nick Clegg again. In case you're not in the UK, he's the leader of the Lib Dems, and deputy Prime Minister in the coalition Government. He has gone out of his way to tell Labour voters who despaired of Tony Blair - particularly re the War in Iraq - that the Lib Dems were not offering them sanctuary. I think most of us had ruefully got that by now, though it seems an odd attitude to take to people who voted for you, however misguidedly. So what else to think about on an autumn Sunday? Fruit. It was good enough for Keats after all.

Last week Cho and a mate got tons of damsons from a secret location. She then went into industrial scale production of chutney, employing a vast pan, vinegar, sugar, nuts, and spices. She also bought some cheap vodka for damson vodka (like sloe gin, see later). Production continued on Sunday with cordial, and damson cheese, not to mention crumble. Still it wasn't enough. We had to increase the throughput of prunus and the output of delicacies and hooches the colour of mortal sin (I don't think I mentioned that the Pope has been here - in the UK I mean. Nick Clegg is an atheist who met him).

So we went to another secret location to pick sloes. This is on a lane that has been a right of way for centuries and is like a narrow alley of the countryside in our bit of town. It borders a housing development, and some of the bushes have gone recently so we extended our range. On the itchy dank fringes of the car park of a hospital that was once a workhouse, not that far from a Job Centre, we hit paydirt. Lots and lots of ripe sloes, especially if you went through a convenient hole in the fence.There I was, in my fifties, aided and abetted from the path by an otherwise responsible member of our community, crawling into a hedge with wicked thorns to go scrumping sour little indigo plums. I was reminded strongly of my boyhood and its sins. Mea culpa (Latin for 'my bad'). We got more than two kilos but I ended up having to tie a handkerchief round a finger to stem the blood. Cho went back to the superstore and got more cheap booze, this time gin.

So we start the week with, among other delights, two litres of damson vodka and two of sloe gin. We'll try some in three months time in readiness for my last month of garden leave, as this period of the redundancy process is known. Come back soon for the recipe.

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