This week has been one of sunshine. Not the fleeting here one minute and gone the next sort of sunshine that we are normally graced with in this part of the world, no this has been real summer sunshine. Lingering, heady, heavy sunshine. The sort one escapes to on long awaited holidays once a year. This is the sunshine we dream of in Scotland. We dream a lot but seldom does it come true.
This week has been the exception. The sun has filled the sky every day. Bright blue, often clear and maybe sometimes just a few puffy clouds of cotton wool overhead, but that amazing, warming, comforting and life affirming sunshine all the way.
In the garden
The sunshine has lured me from the house and my study. I have found every excuse to linger in the garden. Weeding, planting, cutting herbs and generally tweaking the greenery like some demented old bag lady wearing cut off denims and a vest top that should have met the duster pile long ago but just wears so well in this weather, and who cares anyway. No-one can see me in my country garden behind the overgrown beech and hawthorn now so heavy with its precious may blossom that the air is almost intoxicating with the warm soapy scent.
The garden is full of flowers just now. Colours everywhere. I love the changing moments in flowerdom. Buds open in the blink of an eye, petals fall and colours fade. All is changing, nothing stays the same. Let go, relax, just let it be…..
The birds are singing their hearts out, I don’t know what half of them are but enjoy the mash-up and music mix of nature’s feathered DJs. The bees zoom from flower to blossom, filling their pollen sacks and buzzing with delight.
I run at 6.30am and am at my desk by 7.30am feeling good to put in some hours of typing before the sunshine fills my window and has me heading for the door. I feel so grateful to be able to do this, enjoy this sunshine and tilt my face to the sky whenever I please. I slow down and breathe easily. So different from the months trapped on the sofa wrapped in cold weather and a sadness I couldn’t move. Now I feel a shift in emotions and a feeling of hope.
I have not been totally lazy this week. I have filled my time with writing and planning. Have made things from the goodness around me. Wild garlic infused oil for salads and cooking over the weeks and months to come. More strawberry gin for the BBC radio programme next week. There is elderflower fizz starting to bubble nicely under a tea towel in the kitchen and cherry stones broken and filling a jar for homemade Kirsch. Recipe for the fizz at the end of this post…..
Evenings are eating in the garden, homemade pasta, salads, fish and simple veggies steamed with a dash of butter. Nothing fancy, just good.
Ali and I have been getting our bikes out and cycling round the lanes as the evenings cool down. I am so out of practice my legs fairly ache. But the chat is good and we are tired but happy when we head off home.
It has been a lovely week of wonderful weather, who knows what tomorrow will bring. To be honest, who cares…
Do you love summer?
- 6 large elderflower heads
- 600 g/1 lb 5oz granulated sugar
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- <span class="mceItemHidden">Pick the leaves from the <span class="mceItemHiddenSpellWord">elderflowers</span> so you just have the flower heads themselves, shake off any dust and bugs! Put these in a very large ceramic bowl.</span>
- Pour 1 litre/1 3/4 pints water into a pan with the sugar and heat gently to dissolve all the sugar.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Remove zest from lemon and squeeze out all the juice, add this to the bowl with the flowers and pour on the sugar syrup you have made.
- Add the vinegar and give everything a good stir.
- Top up with another 3 litres/5 1/4 pints of cold water.
- Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 6 days.
- <span class="mceItemHidden">Strain the liquid and pour into plastic bottles leaving 2.5cm/1" <span class="mceItemHiddenSpellWord">headspace</span> at top to allow for expansion. Screw tops on well!</span>
- <span class="mceItemHidden">Leave for 1 month or two if you can bear to wait that long <span class="mceItemHiddenSpellWord">before</span> popping the fizz.</span>