Saturday, 21 May 2022

Whispers of Adzuki Beans

'Sweet Bean Paste' by Durian Sukegawa (who has neither a website, nor a Wikipedia entry) (though the film of the book does) is a lovely tale of friendship and redemption. Sentaro runs a dorayaki stall, rather half-heartedly it seems, until he encounters Tokue, who teaches him how to make his own sweet bean paste filling rather than using the packaged flavourless stuff. It does not lead him to become suddenly successful, to fix the problems with his life, because it is the other things she teaches that are more important. Tokue had had her life stolen away by contracting leprosy as a young girl and being confined by draconian laws, despite being cured. Her attitude to life contrasts starkly with Sentaro, who has wasted his own, spending some years in prison and then drinking his time away. He resists being drawn in by Tokue but can't help himself. They become a little trio with the addition of a schoolgirl Wakana, one of a group of regular customers that Tokue befriends. Just a nice book, people caring about people and making the world a better place to be.

"On the occasions when Sentaro had attempted to make bean paste, he always left the beans on the stove to cook until they were soft. Not Tokue, however; her method was completely different.
To begin with, she immediately added more water as soon as the water was about to boil. She did this several times, then drained the beans in a strainer and threw away the cooking water. After that she returned them to the pot to soak in fresh lukewarm water; that would remove the bitterness and astringency, she said. Next she stirred when gently with a wooden spatula, taking care not to squash them while letting them simmer thoroughly over a low heat. At every stage in this process Tokue kept her face so close to the beans it was enveloped in steam. What was she looking at, Sentaro wondered. Was she watching for some kind of change? He moved closer to examine the adzuki through the haze of steam but couldn't see anything significant.
He watched Tokue holding the wooden spoon with her gammy hands as she scrutinised the beans, observing her side-on. Sentaro hoped that she wasn't going to require the same level of enthusiasm from him. Just the thought of it made his spirits sink.
Without quite knowing why, however, Sentaro found himself also drawn to gazing at the beans in the pot. He watched them jiggle about, covered by the water; not a single one lost its shape." (p.24-5)

Stay safe. Be kind. Watch those beans.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Why do we own silver polish?

Sadly last night I knocked a bottle out of the cupboard and smashed my lovely purple teapot, that my sister bought me probably seven or eight years ago. That's a pretty good lifespan for a teapot. I improvised overnight with a pyrex jug and a small tea plate as a lid, but then rode over to our favourite Hope Direct Charity shop on Chorlton road this morning. I could pretty much guarantee to find a replacement:
also they have en excellent selection of puzzles:
and my teaspoons at work keep 'disappearing' so I thought I would just buy a whole stash and be sure to always find one:
I got all excited when I spotted this George VI one; alas, it is only nickel silver ... but I gave it a good polish anyway: 
The rain is stopped now so I can go and do some pottering.
Stay safe. Be kind. Polish your silver.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

K is for Kimono

Here are Tish and Monkey with their friend Flossie wearing kimono about 23 years ago (ha, ha, just trying to make those girls feel old). I believe they belonged to Flossie who had previously lived in Japan. 
And over the weekend Monkey went with friends to one of the sensei's homes to try on some kimono:
Apparently kimono are always silk, if they are made with cotton they are called yukata.
And they visited another temple (lots of outings to lots of temples, she barely mentions going to classes). I loved this photo that shows how the temple has a pathway that leads directly to the sea. It reminded me off the Foss Way, a roman road that we used to live adjacent to that was had long stretches as straight as this:

Stay safe. Be kind. Contemplate the distant horizon.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

G is for Gargoyle

Much delight arrived this morning in the form of this gargoyle from BrighthelmStone on Etsy (I was looking for planters but got distracted). We haven't named him yet but he has a lovely spot among the purple flowers and out of sight of any thieving back-lane-loiterers.
Much more delight in the garden as the self-seeded campion has taken over last year's sweet pea pot and looks fabulous:
and I spotted a lurking ladybird, which is great because we had quite a lot of aphids last year so hopefully she will set up home and have lots of babies:

Stay safe. Be kind. Don't forget to vote (before they take your rights away).

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Dead stuff

I took back to the library 'Everybody died, so I got a dog' because it was tedious and 'Hurricane Season' because it was too violent, but I knew I would love 'A Line Made by Walking' by Sara Baume because I read 'Spill, Simmer, Faulter, Wither' six years ago (almost exactly). In that book she was plainly fascinated by death and dead things, and in this one Frankie is similarly interested. Frankie has had some kind of minor breakdown and retreats to her deceased grandmother's mouldering house to gather her thoughts.

Lots of quotes coming up, a surefire sign of an excellently written book. I liked this one because it reminded me of a very old post on another blog:
"I knock the mud from my boots against the doorstep, lever them off with the mahogany shoehorn. I never used a shoehorn before I came here; I never needed one. But nowadays I deliberately leave my boots half-laced so have no choice but to ram the tiny paddle down and shovel up my heel. It's a way of nodding to her customs, of recreating the rituals of her day. I find my grandmother in the shoehorn, and again, as I wash my hands, I find her in the kitchen windowsill curios. In a row above the draining board, there's a weathered wood St Joseph, a plastic flamenco dancer, a three-legged camel, a panda-bear-shaped pencil sharpener, an oblong pebble painted with the features of a mouse and each one of these onlooking objects are immeasurably precious to me, because my grandmother can be found in them."

And this one, because it reminded me of the dandelions:
"And every time I ate a banana, I had to ask it a question. It was a trick Mum showed my sister and me when were were kids. We'd ask the banana something with a straightforward yes/no answer, then she'd chop the very tip off with a sharp knife to reveal a black shape that was either a clear Y or an indistinguishable smudge which stood for no. Of course she couldn't possibly have predicted I'd become obsessed with the wisdom of banana skins. Over and over, I turned to them to settle arguments with my conscience; I obeyed the Y or smudge irrespective of sense, of consequence." (p.80-81)

Frankie takes photographs of dead things, pictures that are reproduced in the book, but she doesn't kill things:
"Only once in all my driving years have I created my own piece of roadkill: it was early autumn, the height of the harvest season. It was pecking spilled grain from the tarmac, and I must have been concentrating on something else or not concentrating at all, because my unthinking instinct was to accelerate. I hope that I also unthinkingly assumed the pigeon would fly away safely before I reached it, that it's untimely death was no more than a tragic miscalculation. I'd like to believe, as everyone does, that I am innately good; innately wired to do good.
But maybe I innately wanted to see the pigeon burst against my windscreen, a miniature piƱata." (p.123)


This is how artists think, or maybe she's just a hoarder:
"Every time I take the train, I buy a coffee from the snack trolley and the trolley assistant asks me the same question: 'sugar or milk?' And I reply: 'no, neither, thanks.' And he or she then presents me with, alongside my coffee, a stirring stick. I probably wouldn't have noticed if it had happened only once, or if it was always the same attendant, but this is not so. Whoever it is, every since time, they make the same mistake.
I've been gathering these sticks for seven years now. I keep them all together in a paper bag. They don't seem to take up much space even though they are too many to keep count. They are a project. I have not yet decided how to display them, but they are a conceptual art project about the way in which people don't listen, don't think." (p.152)

Here Frankie recalls her downstairs neighbour:
"On this carpet, again I remember the old one. Its cider-shade and the tin soldier who lived beneath and how he used to drum on his furniture. He was quite brilliant at it. With only his hands and domestic surfaces, he drummed up an endless variety of rhythms, and it wasn't even annoying; it was curiously lovely. What bothered me was that he was the one who was supposed to have purpose; purpose enough for both of us. What bothered me was all of the time he wasted by drumming, and all the time I wasted by listening to him drum, by taking pleasure in it, for pleasure is almost always a waste of time." (p.209-210)

Like the man in 'Spill, Simmer, Faulter, Wither' Frankie meanders around alone pretending to her family that she is managing, but the calm, and collecting the dead things appear to help, but the book as a whole has the same sense of pointlessness of life. Here she is watching a nature programme:
"There's a gentle whirr of crickets, but over the whirr the bird call is clear. It comes in twos and has a buzzing quality; the sound of the arrival of a text message, a second in quick succession.
The presenter explains how the corncrake we can hear is a male who has flown all the way from Africa, looking for a mate. He stays up very late, listening. 'I guarantee that when I get up in the morning,' he says as he zippers his tent for the night, 'the corncrake will still be calling.' They are almost extinct, he explains. Because of the intensity of modern farming practices. Because at the same time of year the female lays her eggs, the farmer cuts the hay and the nests are destroyed. The male is calling, the presenter says, because he can't see through the long grass; because he doesn't know that there aren't any females left to hear." (p.278-79)

The grandmother's cottage is a safe place from her childhood that Frankie hides in. She dips her toe in and out of the outside world, but in the end her grandmother kicks her out. Another book that is all atmosphere, nothing much happening, just watching a person live. 

Stay safe. Be kind. Find a safe place.

Travelling Hornplayer

I like books with gradually emerging connections, where the characters are linked over time, sometimes the reader knows more than they do (or can see it coming). 'The Travelling Hornplayer' by Barbara Trapido was just such a book. Her name felt familiar when I found this book but I am not sure why because I have not read anything else by her. 

Catherine and Jonathan's daughter Stella is quite a handful, she has absorbed all their energy ever since she was born. She discovers the cello and leaves for Edinburgh where she takes up with Izzy, her artist housemate. While Catherine lost herself in being a mother to Stella, Jonathan, her writer father, has been having lunches with his sister-in-law and an affair with Sonia. Ellen and Lydia are sisters, Lydia is killed outside Jonathan's London flat, while Ellen reappears as another Edinburgh housemate. We get a little of everyone's back story and a smattering of eccentric relatives, what's not to like. I have been busy with the A to Z so did not get around to the review, so that's all I got.

Here Stella has discovered Izzy has been fucking someone else and she abandons him and returns to Edinburgh. I have fondness for this character because Monkey has a good friend called Peregrine (he is not named in this quote) (and our Perrie is nothing like this one):
" 'Where's Ellen?' Stella says. 'Is she asleep?'
'Ellen's gone,' he says. 'I took her to the airport late last night. Her sister's been killed in a road accident. In London.' Then he says, 'She's distraught. They were terribly close. She was beside herself.'
'Oh, Jesus,' Stella says, going cold all over. She bursts into tears.
'Oh, for Christ's sake.' She cries and cries. She can hardly believe that life can be so horrible, so malicious, to her and to Ellen. And all in a single day.
She began to tell him about Izzy and Grania, and about her father and the woman in  Fortnum's. She tells him as she watches him pack. His stuff is already folded on the bed, his trunk open on the floor, his things folded sleeves to middles in neat, flat, square parcels, classified in groups. They look like items in an old-fashioned gentleman's outfitters. He puts dirty things in a linen drawstring bag marked 'Linen'. He has special cloth bags for his shoes. He has a wooden box with shoe polish. Putting the things into his trunk takes him five minutes. Then he folds his duvet carefully and puts it on top of everything." (p118-9)

Stay safe. Be kind. Pack your stuff.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Z is for Zygote

 

Don't you just love the idea that each one of us was once a single celled organism. Each one of my lovely children were once a zygote, even my twins, who are di-zygotic, having been formed from two separate ova. It feels like an astounding process to go from this to a fully fledged adult. 
I love this photo, taken at my parents 60th wedding anniversary party, and I am filled with warm contentment and gratitude that they made it over the major hurdles and have grown into such wonderful human beings. A couple of weeks ago I read this article in the Guardian, by a woman describing how she handles the fact that she is no longer central to her son's life, it affected me quite sharply. You spend many years nurturing and caring for them, with the intention of making yourself redundant, but it still comes as a bit of a shock when it happens. Monkey's recent departure for the other side of the world feels as if it has marked a moment when my job is done. 

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.

Stay safe. Be kind. Let them go.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Y is for Yak (Lucy and)

I don't very often gush about clothes; over the years I have had long periods of not buying new stuff at all, and in fact some of my favourite things are very ancient. Wearing a uniform for work and then gym clothes to the gym often doesn't leave me much time for wearing other clothes. But I have gone a bit crazy over Lucy and Yak. They are a fair trade, ethically conscious company that ploughs some profits back into charities and organisations that they support. I have always been a dungaree lover and these are the most comfy dungarees ever. And Claire has some too because my niece Natalie, another dungaree lover, bought her some, so now she is a convert too. 

She has gone home again now but in a couple of days we have turned my messy yard:
into a beautiful tidy yard, with lots of potential to add things and just sit and watch it all grow:

Stay safe. Be kind. Wear some dungarees.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

X is for X-Ray


Mammograms are not fun, they are just something you do to protect yourself. I went last week and this letter arrived yesterday. Being told that you don't have breast cancer is definitely a cause for joy. Mammograms are a double edged sword however as they can also diagnose cancers that would never spread and are not life threatening. A proportion of women diagnosed thus will be treated for cancers that would never have done them harm. When I got my mammogram invite I also received an invite to join some research into breast cancer screening. Currently all women between 50 and 70 are screened routinely every three years. The research is looking into the idea of screening based on risk factors rather than treating all women the same, so some women will be screened more, some less. I have been allocated to the "risk-stratified breast cancer screening" group and will be having a DNA test and an interview to assess my cancer risk. So we will wait and see what the future holds for me and my boobs.


Stay safe. Be kind. Get screened.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

W is for Watson (Rebecca)

If you have never come across Skepchick it is certainly worth perusing if you are at all interested in having a questioning approach to life, the universe and everything. Her videos have been a source of reassurance for me that there are still people out there who want to understand the world, not just believe the crap that is fed to them. She pretty much propped me up single handed through the previous American administration. She delights in picking apart the meaningless waffle that politicians spout, and debunking outrageous claims in the media. I particularly enjoyed this one last week. Sometimes my jaw just drops to discover the weird stuff that people will believe, and more importantly spend their hard earned cash on. It takes all sorts to make a world as they say, but it only takes one Rebecca Watson to put you straight. 

Stay safe. Be kind. Don't believe everything you see in the interweb.

Monday, 25 April 2022

U V is for Unexpected Visitors

 

I am cheating again today because the visit from my sister Claire was not unexpected, but visits always bring me joy. It's lovely when people just pop round unexpectedly and lovely when you have the pleasure of antici ... pation of a visit. Today we have been for a little walk around the Marie Louise Gardens, a tiny gem of a green space in south Didsbury. It had this delightful and clever sundial, partly created by local schoolchildren. It works by standing on the month that you are in (in the figure of 8 symbol in the centre) and then your shadow will cast showing the time (with both GMT and BST in separate rows) (sadly it was cloudy this morning, so we had no idea of the time):


p.s. the first egg has been laid at Loch Arkaig

Stay safe. Be kind. Stand in the sun.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

T is for Trees

I am an unashamed tree-hugger. What's not to love about trees? They are just all round fantastic. They suck carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into wood, and make oxygen in the process. They cool urban streets just by being there. So here is a blog post with love for the trees in my life. 
At the top, the lovely tree in the park at the end of our road. It is framed so beautifully by the street and when I ride home from work every day I watch its changing nature as the seasons pass. This one was taken a couple of weeks ago just as it was coming into leaf.

Below is a photo I took last week when I went out to do some delivery; spotted in a garden on Parsonage road, the magnolia and cherry blossom were all mixed up together and it was just delightful.

My longest standing tree friend, one of many avocado trees I have grown in recent years. They don't get very big at the moment but our cunning plan is to anticipate global climate change allowing them to fruit in a future British climate and to have our own supply one day:

I started planting acorns a couple of years ago and now I have a mini forest. When they are a bit more sturdy, probably another year or so, I will find somewhere to plant them out:

There is mostly concrete in my yard but you can get fruit trees on dwarf rootstock so I have my plum tree (two years old now):
and, added last autumn, a crab apple (it still looks pretty much like a twig, but there are leaves peeping through slowly):

Stay safe. Be kind. Hug a tree.

Friday, 22 April 2022

S is for Savage Chickens

Savage Chickens have been giving me huge joy for many years now. It is lovely when you find someone who has just the most surreal sense of humour, and every time a new comic arrives in my feed I know it's going to make me smile. The chickens are the most regular characters but he has all kinds of creatures, and even inanimate objects, that have very random and unexpected thoughts.

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Hug a slug.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

R is for Repayments

Making repayments on a mortgage is not usually something that gives most people joy, but then I am not most people. I only bought my house three years ago, and being of the slightly older persuasion I do not have long before retirement to get the mortgage paid off, so paying it down has been a priority. Making mortgage payments is way more fun than making rent payments. It gives me joy because every time I make an overpayment Santander sends me a letter to tell me how the number is going down and much less time it will take to pay off. And when my house is all mine that will give me huge joy.

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Pay it off.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Q is for Quitting


Giving yourself permission to not do stuff is very liberating. Three years ago I made a new year resolution to not beat myself up about stuff, and it has been the most successful resolution. If I have crafty projects hanging around unfinished, I don't beat myself up about it. If I don't want to finish a book, that's fine too. I glanced out of the window at the yard quite a lot over the last few months, but I didn't go out, I stayed in the warm and dry. I have earned less money this past year, because I have worked less overtime, allowing myself to say no, to have my days off. (I occasionally debate quitting my job, but there are no particularly desirable alternatives.) We joined the gym after the first lockdown, and we go regularly, but if I don't feel like going it's no big deal; I give myself permission to spend the afternoon on the sofa. I try to eat reasonably healthily, and cook proper food, but after a late shift, it's okay to order a pizza. I also like not quitting. Years ago, under duress, I cut down the sugar in my tea from two spoons to one spoon, but there is no way I am giving up the rest. 

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Quit beating yourself up.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

P is for Poetry

I love poetry. 122 times say the tags. This little pile is what I dug out from beside my bed. I like to dip in and out. I love simple accessible poetry and I love obtuse esoteric poetry. I renewed my enthusiasm for poetry through my volunteering at the Manchester Literature Festival that has given me the chance to experience all kinds of poets. You cannot beat listening to poetry performed, it is a whole different experience to just reading it on a page. I find new poets by reading book reviews, and the Poem of the Week feature in the Guardian. You can start here with Simon Armitage, and read through my poetry A to Z from 2015.
Julie sent me this over WhatsApp the other day (by Mikko Harvey), because poetry is always about sharing:

But I also remembered what I said at the start of my A to Z, that it was inspired by Ross Gay's Book of Delights so I will give you one from his poetry book (that I have not read much of yet) 'Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude':

ode to drinking water from my hands

which today, in the garden,
I'd forgotten
I'd known and more
forgotten
I'd learned and was taught this
by my grandfather
who, in the midst of arranging
and watering
the small bouquets
on mostly the freshest graves
saw my thirst
and cranked the rusty red pump
bringing forth
from what sounded like the gravelly throat
of an animal
a frigid torrent
and with his hands made a lagoon
from which he drank
and then I drank
before he cranked again
making of my hands, now,
a fountain in which I can see
the silty bottom
drifting while I drink
and drink and
my grandfather waters the flowers
on the graves
among which are his
and his wife's
unfinished and patient, glistening
after he rinses the bird shit
from his wife's
and the pump exhales
and I drink
to the bottom of my fountain
and join him
in his work.

Stay safe. Be kind. Listen to a poem (start here, move on).


Monday, 18 April 2022

April Garden Delights (not an A to Z post)

 

The garden has been neglected chaos pretty much since the autumn. I am a fair weather gardener and anyway there is nothing much to do out there when it is just dead stuff in pots. I finally went out there on Saturday to make a start on the new growing season. I cleaned out the Julians and added worm compost to several places. I weeded the trees and cleared out dead stalks of sunflowers and evening primrose, and potted a few things up in the hope that more space will encourage growth. Stuff has come on quite well by itself to be honest. The strawberry plants all seemed to be dead, but I had captured quite a lot of baby ones in tiny pots, so I moved them all into the strawberry planter.
White bluebells, that I don't recall planting:
Wallflowers that mum sent last year:
Grape hyacinths that I did plant:
The acer that I bought two years ago, bright spring green and doing so well:
a new tiny acer that mum gave me:
the mess of weeds in pots that I leave alone in the hope that some of them may be wildflowers:
The side bed is looking just lush, though a new climber for this space is in order this year (having had two passionflower plants die last summer):
I had been feeling very slumpy, and a morning in the yard, reminding myself how lovely it is to have this space worked wonders. Things I was worried were dead seem to be coming back to life and there were even a few bees moseying around. It's going to be a lovely summer.
Stay safe. Be kind. Enjoy your space, no matter how small.

O is for Octopus and Ospreys

Back in 2020 we (along with thousands of other people) watched the arrival, raising and then departure of three osprey chicks from a nest at Lock Arkaig in Scotland. The osprey cam was the highlight of the lockdown and watching the parents Louis and Aila work so hard and share their family's life was joyful. I used to just have the webcam on while I was doing other things and look up when one or other of them arrived with a fish for the chicks. 
Last year nobody used the nest that had been occupied for several years, but happily Louis and a new ladyfriend, Dorcha, have a new site and a new camera has been installed. I don't think eggs have been laid yet as nobody is sitting so you can watch the whole process between now and July. What I particularly love is the way they are slightly ungainly as they potter around on the nest, compared to how elegant they are in flight. Go to the osprey cam page on the Woodland Trust website and watch. 

Then a post entitled Octopus Empire arrived in my inbox from The Marginalian, which led me, as the interweb is wont to do, to the wikipedia page for Octopuses, which inevitably reminded me of My Octopus Teacher. It is the most remarkable film, which you can watch on Netflix, and in my humble opinion made the subscription worthwhile. Here is the trailer:


Stay safe. Be kind. Befriend an octopus, or failing that, whatever creature comes your way.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

N is for Novels

 

I love novels. You can tell by the tags in the sidebar, over 600 books in the last 13 years (though not all of them are novels of course). I don't particularly read for escapism, I read to understand the human condition. Ok, maybe sometimes I read for comfort. I love the way novels take you into someone else's world. A good novel takes you in and makes you forget your own for a while. I like to glimpse the infinite variety of human existence and experience. 

So for people who are not regulars here's just a little list of books from the last few years that have given me particular joy (and to remind me that I have not updated the book review list page for two years):

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Just read.

Friday, 15 April 2022

M is for Mondegreen

 

Many years ago I used to drive my kids to the station in Cheltenham on a Friday night to go and visit their dad. We listened to the Chris Evans show on Radio 2, and he did this little feature about mishearing song lyrics. Mondegreen is the word that refers to this phenomenon. My favourite mondegreen that came up on the show one Friday was from The Killers song 'Human' in which the person writing in heard their child singing the chorus line as "Are we human or are we hamsters?" And so ever after this is how I sing the song whenever it comes on the radio. And now you know, I'm sure you will too, because that is way better than the original lyrics.

Stay safe. Be kind. Sing like nobody is listening.

p.s. and because Dunk is magic and remembers everything and is a superhuman internet searcher also enjoy this version:


Thursday, 14 April 2022

K is for Kiss, L is for Lemon Cake

Dunk suggested kiss for K but I find that I do not have a picture of us kissing, maybe we don't kiss enough. Kissing gives me joy. Even a text with a kiss emoji can do the trick. Back in 2016, the last time I did the A to Z Challenge, I did art as my theme, so I thought I would revisit one that I love to illustrate the kiss, which is The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. I learn from his wikipedia page that he died during the 1918 pandemic, which made me pause and feel sad, even though it was so long ago. I trust that many people continue to get joy from his paintings as I do.

Cake generally gives me much joy, but lemon cake has to be the best, it is the tart/sweet thing that it has going on. We use a recipe from my very old Cranks cookbook (though it doesn't appear to be on their website). The picture shows the purist version, nowadays we make two layers and sandwich them together with lemon water icing and then drizzle more over the top.

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Eat cake.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

J is for Jam

 

For years I made blackberry and apple jam every autumn. The smell of it simmering is the best smell in the world. The Fallowfield Loop is my go-to place to pick blackberries. I would stop off on my ride home from work and gather a pound or two. I would make a whole lot, I like to be able to give jars away. But I have not made any for several years, because there is a stash in the top cupboard. It is practically vintage. Tish has been the one making jam more recently, gooseberry and fennel, and rhubarb and ginger, with fruit from Julie and Al's allotment. 

Linking back to the A to Z Challenge.
Stay safe. Be kind. Spread a little jam on your toast.

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