My Favourite Window

May 11, 2011


At the end of a fruitful day the westering sun traced lace shadows onto newly painted walls.

And as an emblem of Hope and persistance the jonquils are already thrusting up their green spears amongst the complementary marsh marigold foliage. 

I hold the 18th May in my head as the last date for mowing bulb-strewn swards, but these bulbs have been up for some time, and judging by the blade-torn tips on some new shoots, they have been up since before my last mowing round; about a fortnight already...

"Do you realise that some of the stored bulbs are sprouting," Lady Mondegreen reminds me.
So they are, but first to plant must be the curiosities that I dug from the grass verge the day after Elwin died 
(in order to rescue them from a team of eager mowers).
I wrote about these plena-flowered daffodils in my very
first blog post

Here they are: there were six blooms last spring - there were hundreds when I was a child - and ready to plant are nine bulbs. I have planted them under polyanthus and pansies right beside my back step.  This space has been opened up after the bank of mock orange blossom was cut back for the house painting.

This week, marking six months since Elwin's death, I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from me. Not until I felt motivation: to garden, to clean the house, to sort family keepsakes, to enjoy my children - to be able to do a dozen different things in the day - did I realise how crippled I had become.  So many older women have mentioned to me the tiredness of grief and even though I'm not even sure what my grief is attached to anymore: a husband, a city, friends' lost children, a future aborted...
I feel that winter will be a time of contentment for me.

A time for instance to be inventive with the fat of the land.
To close, I'll share tonight's dinner dish and the discovery that our cat, Aelfwise, will eat any amount of sweet chestnuts!

Sweet Meat
I skinned and roughly chopped about
40 boiled sweet chestnuts (this year's entire harvest).
I added them to a diced onion frying.
When this mixture was browning nicely,
I added about 150 grams of minced meat
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon,
and after a few moments about 2 cups of water.
Then covered on a medium heat, stirring occasionally so that the chestnut flesh broke down and thickened the sauce.
About 25 minutes later, when the meat was cooked I added
the flesh of one ripe quince chopped into small pieces.
And another cup of water with 1 tablespoon of tamari.
Quince cooks quickly and after about 5 minutes ,
I served this Tudor-style mixture over corn chips with a shredded lettuce salad.

The children liked it !

Daffodils, jonquils  Narcissus spp
Marsh marigold, Kingcup  Caltha palustris
Sweet chestnut  Castanea sativa
Quince  Cydonia oblonga

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