It’s been 9 weeks since the big day, and I’m sure by now you are all sick to the back teeth of seeing the photos. Things at home don’t feel very different to the way they did before, but there is a slight change, more of a sense of permanence I think, and a sense of contentment. Either that or we have a gas leak.
Being an old married couple seems to have had a rather strange impact on both Keith and I in one area however, we seem to have gone into “Goode Life” overdrive. The kitchen windowsill is now a nursery for melon plants, rhubarb plants and pepper plants (dubbed King Peppers by the man who would be the ruler of the vegetables) while outside we have a bed full of lettuce and the plant pots seem to be breeding overnight.
Worse still, Keith and I are now known to come over all wild and glazed when it comes to the newest pastime to hit FTC ... foraging … depths to which even Tom and Barbara didn’t sink!!
It started fairly innocently, taking the dogs for a walk and seeing all the ripe, juicy blackberries lining the footpaths was too much to resist. We started collecting handfuls to add to a growing collection in the freezer but before long we were collecting them by the bagful and the freezer is now awash with purple.
Most people would have kept a sense of perspective about the idea of free food, perhaps enjoyed the occasional picking session and used the results in a crumble or a pie. Most people wouldn't, however, have gone onto Amazon and bought several guides to foraging. Most people wouldn't have served up wilted dandelion leaves to their long suffering families at Sunday lunch having first made them go out and pick them armed with a photo a colander. Most people wouldn't have row upon row of chamomile flower drying on a tea towel on the kitchen work surfaces. Most people wouldn't spend evening after evening stoning sour cherries to make one small pie to serve up to their relatives. Most people wouldn't have dragged the entire family to the local woods and refused to leave until they had collected a bag full of mushrooms which it later turned out were inedible and most people certainly wouldn't have just made their first batch of Sloe Gin ready for Christmas.
On that basis it would seem we are not most people.
There's something very seductive about free food. On the one hand everyone loves a bargain, and what could be more of a bargain than getting food for free? Then there's the satisfaction of having produced something for yourself, something you could buy for less at a supermarket but which brings the most incredible sense of achievement and is always guaranteed to ‘taste better’. And finally, there's the unbelievable joy at finding a whole world of food that you haven't tried before; food with weird and wonderful tastes (some more weird than wonderful). I’m sure one of the books has an introduction which fanatically expounds the virtues of foraging while listing endless statistics on how small a percentage of crops the world relies on in this modern age, but I can’t remember them, I just remember that we eat a lot of very few crops and apparently, that’s not wise.
For anyone slowly reaching for the keys to the padded room, normal service is still alive and kicking in other areas of FTC. Keith has earned his grease monkey stripes getting Retro Custom off the ground with Larry. In point of fact, things have been so busy for the guys that I made a few cameo appearances there building an interior for one of their customer’s campers. I don’t pretend it will win any awards for innovation or build quality, but it’ll last a few years of summer roaming, and that’s not bad for a first attempt. The end result is a pretty nifty interior with a slight Scandanavian feel which could, I think, set a new trend in camper style. It’s just a shame I won’t get the chance to dress it with suitable knickknacks to really finish the look but I have been reliably informed that future owners may take a dim view of potentially deadly missiles in the event of any emergency braking. Personally I think they are overestimating the braking abilities of a 50 year old camper.
And as for the boys, well there’s been a small amount of drama surrounding Harry recently. A local dog seems to have taken severe umbrage to El Stumpio and has, on three separate occasions now, tried to rip his throat out. The necessary conversations have been had but the little lad did take a knock in the confidence department for a while. He’s back to his usual trouble making levels now and Keith is hoping to start taking both the boys to the farm soon. Should make for an interesting spectator sport considering the farm has a large and stroppy pig population, as I found out first hand when I went to collect Keith and ended up with a sea of pink curly tails and large yellow teeth around my car. Harry Vs pig … best start foraging for some apples.