Sunday, March 18th, 2018
Mid-March, and the Beast from the East has returned, whipping up a last blast from Russia. A light dusting of snow has covered the ground, but those are white flower blossoms on the wild plum tree, not snowflakes. In summer the tree produces a great number of cherry-sized fruit, the colour of glowing cheeks. We lay bed sheets on the ground, shake the tree, and stand back to watch the mini-plums rain down. Basketfuls of these are then stoned, cooked in a cauldron with sugar and lemon juice and decanted into jars. The resulting supply of coral-hued jam normally lasts for the whole year. I fear that this year’s summer crop will be small if not entirely ruined. The daffodils have bowed their heads in suffering. This has been,, and continues to be, a long, hard winter. With temperatures below freezing for the rest of the day and snow falling until tonight, it’s hard to believe that spring starts in four days’ time.