summer 2018

The summer of 2018 will undoubtedly be added to that list, embedded in the national consciousness, of British heatwaves. 1976 ....1995 ....2018.
Years when the warm, often damp summers are swopped for something altogether more tropical ... and we British swelter in the unaccustomed heat.

And so it has been for weeks; temperatures 25c plus and little to no rain. No need to hastily pack a cardigan and umbrella as you go out the door, just in case; no need to wonder whether the carefully arranged outdoor event will suddenly be a wash-out as the heavens open!

 The gardens and countryside resemble early autumn rather than mid summer - dry, brown grass, crinkly leaves and flowers going to seed.

 On the lottie, Mr Digandweed and I have managed to keep on top of the watering -just!
But the good news is the grass doesn't need mowing and the weeds have barely shown their faces!

The trail of tears beans have produced a good crop and there are lots of bright yellow banana-shaped crookneck squash hidden beneath a canopy of large umbrella like leaves.

There has also been a bumper crop of big, fat juicy blackcurrants.

Rather than stand over a big pan of boiling sugar and fruit to make jam, I made blackcurrant vinegar, following a recipe from a favourite book
River Cottage Handbook No.3

The lightly crushed berries are steeped in vinegar for several days, then drained through muslin overnight. The resulting liquid is then boiled with sugar for 8 - 10 minutes until syrupy.

The pretty, ruby coloured vinegar can be used in dressings, added to sauces, drizzled over goat's cheese and historically has been used to relieve coughs and colds.

It can also be diluted with tonic water and enjoyed as a refreshing summer drink.

There is talk of major thunderstorms over the weekend - we shall see.

Speak soon



  1. It has certainly been wonderful to eat outside every evening but I would welcome a little rain now. The little we have had in East Anglia seems to have by passed our village completely.

    1. The rain has come at last ... and a temporary respite from the heat. Phew!

  2. I made raspberry vinegar for a taste of summer in the winter months. The 25 degrees plus has not yet reached our little Island (Isle of Lewis) but I live in hope.

    1. Raspberry vinegar sounds lovely. Hoping some warm weather heads your way.

  3. It was such a relief yesterday to get soaked in the rain - perhaps a little too soaked, but there we are. The heat (35 deg) and dust, not to say occasional stink, of London was becoming quite unbearable. As for the allotment...very sad face. For the first time ever it has got the better of me. But there's always next year, no?

    1. Yes rain here too - so lovely! Like you, the extreme heat of the last few days was getting unbearable. And there's always next year for your lottie. It can be hard work, especially with other commitments. x


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