Oh, to be back at the farm! To dine on oddly shaped potatoes in the evening , and awake the following morning to the bleating of sheep. Quite a strange thing actually, sticking on Radio 4 on my first night here, I happened upon a programme about a man who stays at a cottage and spends his days making jam. ‘How peculiar indeed,’ I thought, ‘that this very fellow’s doings seem to run parallel with my own current situation.’ I took this to be a sign and immediately took up my jam spoon.
However, after doing a preliminary sweep of my immediate vicinity, I must confess that my heart did sink for there was no fruit to be found. ‘What is to be done?’ I thought as I stood there in the kitchen awkwardly grasping my jam spoon. My question was answered soon enough when I happened to glance upon a pack of dates, those rich little morsels that find themselves alone in the month of January, their glory faded away along with the last days of the Christmas period.
I sipped some tea as I pondered what to do with my new friends and their potential to be preserved in a jar. Just like an energy saving light bulb floating over my head, slowly getting brighter, it came to me – did I not spend my Christmas stuffing a goose with dates that I had soaked in Earl Grey tea? If I had done it once before then surely that makes it valid, so without further ado, I plunged those dates into a hot spa of bergamot and looked to the following day, when they would be imbued with all the flavour of afternoon tea, and my fellow jam maker would join me to preserve these bad boys.