Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Produce tyranny

What is it with Metéo Chance - sorry, Metéo France? The forecast for today showed us being gradually 'squeezed' between two mega-depressions until all hell/rain/giant flying lizards broke loose this afternoon. So given that we still had one enormous pile of wood from our beheaded ash tree to saw up and stash before the weather finally broke, we were out there at the crack of dawn. (And guess who got to operate the chainsaw today? I'll give you a clue. There are two of us, and it wasn't me. No, I was the one sweating with the nineteenth century wood saw ...). By lunchtime it was so incredibly hot and sunny that I was forced to strip right down to - no, too much information. And it stayed that way, until it got dark.

On the other hand, and I never thought I'd say this, but Thank Goddess It's (Nearly) Winter. Don't get me wrong: I'm not about to go and live in an inner city high-rise, but there comes a point when the sight of naked fruit tree branches, wilting courgette plants and the odd patch of bare earth in the potager starts to fill me with relief simply because I don't have to deal with any more produce. The walnuts are shelled (and my hands are finally losing their Gauloise-addict look); the plums and figs and cherries are bottled, compôted, jammed and chutneyed for the winter; and we've got onions and potiron and potimarron in store, and broad beans and French beans in the freezer, to see us through the hungry gap. John is, as I write, juicing the last of our strange gnome-like apples, and our pitiful (my fault - I forgot to remove the rotting fruit from around the trees last year and so they lost most of this year's blossoms to rot) harvest of quinces is staring pointedly at me from the rack daring me to get on and turn them into membrillo (oh God. Another two hours at the jam pan ...). I've got a box full of aubergines, and I've just picked what will surely be the last peppers of the year:

Phew. It's a tyranny. this produce business. Bring on the Big Macs ...

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