Friday, 18 August 2017


Market stall apricots, warmed in August sunshine; blushing pink with ripened promise as they tumble from scales into a waiting  paper bag. This is the start of a ritual long remembered from childhood summers, when fruit would fall from bag to table; to be transformed over an afternoon into jewelled jars of apricot  jam.

 Juice slowly drips from blade to bowl, as each fruit is split ready to slow cook in lidded pot.  Scales groan under a weight of sugar, and lemons are squeezed of their juices. This is the science; a fine balance to create the alchemy of sweet amber delight.

Jam making is an art; I merely an apprentice following my mother's calm directions as I  assemble ingredients in the pan; feeling sugar, gritty under a stirring spoon, as heat begins to dissolve each granule, whilst apricots slowly slide and bubble.

Now the wait, as thermometer line creeps ever upward, and occasional slow stir keeps thickening juices from sticking. Here is the skill; an ever watchful eye, waiting for that magical moment when fruit, juice and sugar combine into the perfect consistency, to hang from spoon edge; or wrinkle on chilled saucer. This is the revelation, the secret passed from mother to daughter, to finally capture the familiar taste of childhood in a simple glass jar.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Deja vue

The slow dance begins once more; this time my mother's pas de deux......
and we, weary from past duets, recall each stumbling step of this strange ballet crafted from DNA's complex choreography.
 From the wings we watch the poise and elegance with which she glides across the floor; held in the firm caress of that same spectre with whom we shared our stage. Whilst we stand in the shadows
silently awaiting our cue......... a stalwart corps de ballet.