Stressed because I got a phone call yesterday reminding me that the MSc student conference is on Monday. I had totally forgotten. Title and 200-word abstract needed asap; presentation to be given at 3.15pm Monday. Shitbuggerdamn was all I could initially come up with. A large part of me wants to quit right now. A smaller, yet extremely stubborn, element won’t let me. I have to keep going until I get kicked off the course.

Sticky because I am up to my eyebrows in preserves. I love this time of year for all the stuff I can harvest, and I am passionately addicted to making jams and jellies – but this is not so good when there’s other work I should be doing! Plus I got so carried away picking crabapples on Monday that all the resulting juice didn’t have enough room in my jam pan to get a good rolling boil going. After it ran all over my cooker top (and didn’t seem to be achieving anything like a set) I poured half into a smaller pan, where it is still awaiting attention.

Here are the crabapples. Aren’t they beautiful? And also free!

Here’s the resulting jelly. Cinnamon, cloves, lemons and root ginger were added to the mix. M’husband isn’t keen on cloves, and they did smell very strong in the kitchen while doing the initial boil and strain, but fortunately the jelly has turned out both clear and deliciously flavourful.

Also needing attention: a bowlful of bramble and apple juice. Really, I should have frozen the berries but I’d had them in the fridge two or three days already. I’d like to make more curd (really really delicious on hot toast or freshly fried mini pancakes) but it’s too much of a faff given current time pressures. More jelly for the store cupboard.

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