24 days ago
For an all too brief period, the elderflower tree at the edge of the top field next to the graveyard bursts into glorious white blooms. And then they are gone. Making hay while the sun shines, last Sunday, Joshua and I waded through the long grasses. I created enough of a track for him to follow through with the grass on either side towering over the little fellow. 80 heads were picked and dumped in our basket and we headed home.
337 days ago
I do not like Kardamili. A few hours detention in its Police station thanks to a bent cop and an even more bent hotelier did not cause my dislike but it did not help the cause. Though a pretty town, Kardamili is very expensive and, worse still, it attracts the biggest tossers in Europe, swarms of them. The Mrs, however, quite likes it.
384 days ago
I need 200ml of the stuff to make elderflower ice cream so on Saturday I went picking elderflower, wading through grass, nettles and weeds in the top meadow which are almost as tall as me, in order to get to the bush by the churchard. Twenty five heads went into a pot with the zest from four lemons onto which I poured 1.5 litres of boiling water and left it to stand overnight, under a tea towel.
385 days ago
It is all bottled up now. The smaller bottles are cordial, the beer bottles beer, the glass at the front is beer. Joshua and I have both sampled the cordial, diluted with water, and it is pretty good. Meanwhile, the beer is fizzy and like a sour and yeasty lager. The cost of making all that lies in front of you is under a quid and the cordial will keep us going for months. What you see is minus two bottles of each which I handed to neighbours today on my way to pick up elderflowers which will soon become cordial, champagne and ice cream. Watch this space.
392 days ago
An early memory from childhood at Butterwell Farm is of the glass bottles in which mum and dad stored the ginger beer and elderflower champagne they made, exploding and then setting off a chain reaction of explosions. The IRA could not have organised it better. And thus the nettle bear I made is stored in plastic bottles which should not explode and which I am now “burping” once a day, that is to say letting the air out and the beer fizz. And boy is it fizzing. In a week’s time, the beer, currently sitting next to a piggy bank in the larder, will be ready to drink and will be decanted into glass bottles and stored in the fridge. I have already promised to bring a glass up to neighbour D, to the chap repointing our barns and to the couple who run the village’s Greek South African restaurant. After all, they had a special present for me today.
394 days ago
Despite Joshua claiming to be an enthusiastic assistant, there were no volunteers to join me on this job, both my son and the Mrs citing a fear of being stung. I was not stung. There is no shortage of nettles here at the hovel and, wearing gloves, I cut the tops few inches from a swathe of them by the riverbank, collecting a basket full and then washing them.
396 days ago
Joshua and I were discussing elderflower cordial and champagne and so decided to wander to the elderflower bush at the top end of the upper field here at the Welsh Hovel, next to the graveyard. Gosh, the recent rains have seen everything sprouting ahead. I shall take some pictures of the gardens here tonight as I water them as they are starting to look mighty impressive.