Saturday, 29 June 2013

among the trees again

With kitchen prose and gutter rhymes.
Songs from the wood make you feel much better

The house smells of cat wee.

Finally, after weeks waiting for the moment to come, the beautiful umbrellas of elderflowers are out everywhere. I noticed them on Monday whilst walking to work. I went up to a wooded (man-made) area near to us called The Grove this morning to pick some. I wandered around with a large plastic bag and a holster with a gardeners knife and a pair of secateurs in. Obviously I got a few strange looks but I'm used to that.

I use Hugh Dick-Furry Whittington's recipe as it's easy to follow. Most people who know me are aware of a certain clumsiness that no doubt would nowadays be diagnosed as dyspraxia to the hilarity of many students over the years as I've managed to walk into desks, trip over bags and such-like. So obviously the whole morning wasn't without its little mishaps. So to the recipe ingredients were added: scissors, Savlon antiseptic cream, plasters. I managed to grate quite a hefty lump out of my thumb whilst grating the lemons for their zest but managed to avoid getting any blood into the final mixture. Unlike the time we once had guests and I managed to chop a huge chunk out of my thumb whilst carving the lamb. . . but that's another story for another time. But then that's nothing compared to the time I thought I'd hold a log whilst chopping it with an axe . . .

Anyway, the mixture is now sitting in a big plastic bucket in our back room giving off the fragrance of the finest cat wee. If you've never made it, elderflower champagne is easy and well worth it. Good to have a bottle on Christmas Day.

So whilst that's bubbling away - or soon will be - I'm waiting for the dough I've just kneaded to rise so I can bake it. With the various salads, tomatoes and herbs growing in the garden, it looks as though Summer has finally arrived. Festival time - Glastonbury is on this weekend and it isn't even raining. The BBC have managed to avoid all mention of the Oysterband who played there on Friday so I won't be able to see any of their set but they are playing Ipswich in December. Mrs Dave and I are off to the Maverick Americana festival next weekend and Cambridge at the start of the Summer holidays. Looking forward to Martin Simpson's set - hopefully he'll be able to stay on stage for the full set this time.

It's been a long week so it's a fairly restful weekend. We went to the Y13 Prom on Thursday which was a very pleasant affair as usual. Despite sinking a bottle of Malbec I felt fine the next day. Unlike a few people I could mention. All-in-all, with the sun shining and the feeling that Summer has started, I'm beginning to relax a bit after a fairly hectic year.

Evidently it's St Paul's Day today and some rain needs to fall in orchards to christen the apples. There's not much rain around here today. I'm sure the apples will be fine, though.

Ah well, time to bake that bread . . .


Brendini said...

Strange synchronicity! I very recently downloaded a live version of Among The Trees to my i-pod.

Dave Leeke said...

Hi Brendan,

Just the one song or a whole album?

I realised I'd already used the title a while ago so had to add "again" as I'm too brain-dead to think of something original. I've just found out that I managed NOT to buy tickets for the festival we're going to this weekend after telling people I'd see them there! Oops . . .

Brendini said...

Just the one song.
And, Oops, indeed!

Kate the State said...

So is it sold out? (The festival.) You are sure of your Cambridge tickets right?

Hmm...if you're making elderflower wine then I might be tempted to come home for Christmas again. Although that would be twice in one year which is excessive, I feel. Did you hear about the new law in China that offspring have to visit their parents regularly?

Kate the State said...

Oh and I just checked out the Cambridge line-up. You have to check out Valerie June! I love her. :)

Dave Leeke said...

Hi Katie,

I managed to get tickets by rushing over to Ipswich yesterday. That meant I could stop by "my club" on the way back. Yes, we've got Cambridge tickets as they've arrived, which is what prompted me to check for Maverick tickets.

The elderflower doesn't seem to be doing much despite a pinch of yeast so I may have to start over perhaps after the weekend.

We will indeed check out Ms. June. I was told on Saturday by the radio dj chappie that lives behind our house that Shelby Lynne has pulled out which is annoying as I really wanted to see her. Evidently Steeleye Span are the replacement, which is interesting as the first time I ever went to Cambridge in the early seventies, they were the headline act.

Anyway, have a safe journey over, looking forward to seeing you next week.

Dave Leeke said...


Synchronicity or what? "Uncut" magazine has a big article on Mr Chapman this month (came out today)and talks about various albums. Not, unfortunately, your favourite ("Northern Lights") but an entertaining read - an in-depth article on the Band too.


Martyn Cornell said...

If you haven't had one, try a beer hopped with Nelson Sauvin - Thornbridge South Pacific Pale Ale eg - and you'll get that "elderberry/cat's pee/gooseberry/Sauvignon Blanc" hit again.

I've probably said it before, but elderflower fizz is a terrific hangover cure.

Dave Leeke said...

Cheers, Martyn, I'll keep an eye out for some of that.

Unfortunately, the elderflower champagne hasn't worked so I'll be back out at the weekend to try again. There still seems to be plenty of flower heads around.