The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Marmalade Dayzzzz


Photo: A pile of Min Pins

Photo: A pile of Min Pins

This past two weeks or so I have been caught up in a fever that hits the UK from mid January to the end of February. The great marmalade making bonanza. I was determined to develop a new range of recipes for the gate side stand  – from dark and chunky to light and dainty. I have come up with two new easy recipes. I’ve also made a few discoveries and now feel much more competent when it comes to making marmalade.

In fact I think that I was probably up a bit too long each day, falling asleep the instant my head touched the pillow. Only to be woken by the laptop gently sliding off the bed.
So this morning I returned to bed after a hearty breakfast and slept all day, waking after dark under a pile of bickering Min Pins and nightclothes (they adore sleeping on my clothes).

So that is why I have not been responding to comments. Please accept my apologies – I’m looking forward to tackling them tomorrow.

For a bit of feel-good warmth I’m going to relate what happened to us on the gate side stand over the last couple of days.
Yesterday I went out to check the stand at midday and was delighted to discover that the gaps menat that someone had obviously bought three jars of preserves. The jars are small – just 220ml. This means most are priced at £1. I rushed upstairs to tell Danny. Having worked on a London market stall for ten years in my 30’s, I know that January is the worst month for my type of stand. So any sale is a bonus.

At the end of the day I unlocked the cash box like a latter day Silas Marner and found just 2p along with the change that is always in there so that coins don’t have a hollow, hopeless drop. Within the next few seconds I whizzed through a range of emotions, from shock and rage to grief. Of course we will lose a jar from an unmanned stall every now and then, but to take three and just leave 2p really hurt.

Eventually I calmed down. I had a strong sense of who had done this and an equally deep belief that she would return and repay the money once her husband had tasted the preserves. He would want more.

And this morning I spotted a lady with the same hair and car colour as my suspect. She examined the stand for ages. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until I stepped out to restock after she had gone.

She had bought three jars and left the money for six!

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  1. The marmalade fever you mention, Fiona, has risen considerably in this house since I discovered The World’s Original Marmalade Awards – a competition run from Dalemain in Cumbria, UK (and open to entries from all over the world). Googling ‘marmalade awards’ should bring up the site. I went there last year and it was huge fun!

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