I have got into a really bad habit of popping into the Sue Ryder Charity Shop; it’s a bad habit because it is the only charity shop that I know that sells vintage tea towels, both used and unused. Today’s expedition found me wading my way through a large pile of tea towels and I only had two of them in my collection. I had to restrain myself and only bought four!
Since my friend Jenny retired in 2013, we have met up for lunch once a month; one month we meet in Leicester and one in Oakham. Instead of all that messing around with either cutting the bill in half or trying to work out how many cups of tea you had, we have a system. Jenny pays one month and I pay the other. It works out fair and you don’t waste time trying to split the bill. The problem is that when we meet in Leicester then I have to walk past the Sue Ryder shop and something draws me in; I feel I am near tea towels, tea towels that I will like, tea towels that I will want, tea towels that will make me buy them. I have no choice.
Today, I chose this one because it is an overflowing basket of strawberries, an abundance of fruit but there are still some flowers with a promise of more fruit to come. This is what my garden is like at the moment. I’ve always grown strawberries; the plants have always borne fruit. I’ve always enjoyed eating them. This year, I have been overwhelmed; day after day of bowls full of strawberries, and the end is not yet near. Big ones, small ones, juicy ones, ones that almost fall off the plant but very few that have been attacked by insects although a mole has made it’s way into the raised bed where the strawberries grow. In previous years, I have never had enough strawberries, at one time, to make jam. I was a bit apprehensive about making strawberry jam because it does have a reputation for being difficult to set. But no, the first eight jars were fine; a few days later, I tried strawberry and blackcurrant (because some had ripened early), another four were perfect and finally on Saturday another batch with strawberry, blackcurrant and raspberry. Tomorrow, I am off to pick some more strawberries and blackcurrants for another batch.
So this tea towel will always remind me of the Summer of 2017 when I managed to make strawberry jam, from my own fruit. When I move house, I will miss this but, in the meantime, I will make the best of it.