damsons and woodsmoke

Second week of term, the temperature’s dropped and the display in our local chemist’s window is nit combs and shampoo. Was starting to feel a little negative about the end of summer.

Yet we took bikes outside after school and I noticed the smell of woodsmoke in the air. Then as Ruby biked along the track, we saw damsons dropping on the floor. I grabbed a bowl and she helped me pick heaps of the dusty purple fruit. Thoughts of damson gin, damson ice-cream and damson jam were running through my head.

Next to the hedgerow with the damsons is our woodshed. Thanks to the generosity of a local farmer with a fallen tree, we have heaps of wood. My thoughts turned to evenings warmed by the woodburner. And there’s something about stacks of wood that’s not only lovely to look at but

fills me with a cosy feeling.

Inside, I made a runny damson jam. Half the weight of sugar to fruit and just simmer for 5 minutes. Fiddly getting the stones out (obviously messy for me too!) but how lovely having several jars of a great topping for vanilla ice-cream, toast and drop scones. It doesn’t last as long as traditional jam but feels slight;y more virtuous and is fine in the fridge for three months.

Now I’m relishing the golden September days and cosy woodburner evenings.