Summer Harvest 3.

Listening to the committal of HM the Queen, I remember St George’s Chapel at Windsor from several conferences at Windsor.   One could visit the Chapel for Evensong at the end of long days and it was daunting to realise one was standing on a slab inscribed to an ancient King Henry and, above, there was a balcony used by a Tudor Queen.   There is a real sense of touching and feeling the history of our nation in those stone walls.

There’s good news and bad.   The legal case for personal injury compensation following the accident in 2017 is just about done bar the actual payment.   The less good news is that I had to settle for not even half of the amount the lawyers had proposed.   Its galling to have one’s life so under-valued, the future impact largely disregarded and all that pain and suffering relegated to a multiplier.   It seems that we victims become grist for the legal mill but, at least, after nearly five years, perhaps life can move on.   Now I realise the level of stress and distress, exhaustion and frustration that has overwhelmed me for all these years.   I suspect that, in my mind, I’d believed that resolving the matter would make life better.   But that’s not the case.   Instead, a wholly unexpected physical and mental reaction grounded in despair.   I just hope that I have the strength to pick myself up again after yet another major setback and find new goals, challenges and opportunities that will revitalise the future.   Ideas welcome please.

On a more positive note, as the hot sunshine for ripening fruit wanes: the last beans have been picked and devoured; the first pears bottled; masses of tomatoes dried and bottled in olive oil; blackberries are being frozen but the grapes and kiwi aren’t showing much progress at all.

Friend Joan is rightly proud of the produce from her allotment.   She can create a delicious lunch with her home-produced vegetables and fruit and still have more to spare.   I was the lucky recipient of two firm young aubergines that, with our own tomatoes and mint, created an Italian starter/antipasto that I’d first learned in Umbria on a cooking holiday with Australian friend, rosemary .   These days, modern types of aubergines don’t need all that salting and rinsing but can go straight into a dish.

Meanwhile, the exhibits at the Fareham Horticultural Show were daunting.   The onion I felt was nearly big enough for a game of bowls and the carrot seemed about 2 foot long.   The sous-chef’s honey was deemed “stunning” for flavour but a few millimetres difference in the pair of matched jars was enough to lose top prize.   My humble and rather dashed entries fared little better: the Christmas mincemeat (www.pennymelvillebrown.com/recipes/christmas-mincemeat) came 2nd in the Conserve class; the fruit cake xx 3rd.   My only defence is that, rather than featuring honey as a flavour, I’m simply using it to replace sugar in a standard recipe.   There were many other enviable bee products on show but the motivation to spend hours creating a pristine and meticulous block of wax remains a mystery.

The sous-chef has been hunting Asian Hornets in Jersey where the island is already plagued by these aggressive invaders: vicious attackers of humans and other insects (including bees).   He took simple honey flapjacks as “iron rations” in case they were caught out in the field.

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