Saturday, 25 January 2014

The art of self preservation

I love the rhythm of the year. Where would I be without the ritual of seasons and their seasonal tasks. Constancy, circular repetition, patterns if you will. 52 weeks arranged into months and quarters.I need to feel in sync with this eternal loop. I feel strangely bereft if I miss the first bluebell tips pushing through the dark crumbly woodland floor. (Yes they are! spotted them last Sunday.) The first helebores, reverently picking the loveliest bloom and later, gazing at it in it's bud vase next to my bed. Feverishly checking Bill's produce section for the first seville oranges to arrive.
I consider a day spent in the kitchen surrounded by the thick heady smell of oranges a neccessity before the end of January chimes and February rushes icily into my consciousness. It is an act of preservation on many levels.

 preservation: the action of preserving something
synonyms: conservation, protection, maintenance, care, safeguarding

So I chop, squeeze, shred, weigh, stir, sterilise all the while quietly musing how many other kitchens and their cooks are similarly employed. My mind wanders off to the garden, where best to plant 500 bulbs...orchard? too wet. Finally I land an idea, down the Lane! How silly of me, it's obvious in the verges down the Lane.

It is finished. This year's batch. Time for the tasting!
Boodle looks at me from his strategic position on the stone floor, directly over the hot water pipe that runs below. Unimpressed by the cloying orange scent hanging in the air and the distinct lack of proper cooking. Proper cooking: involving the preparation of meat that can be trimmed and re-distributed to those waiting patiently on their hot water pipe.

 Mr Lane declares this year's batch worthy of a prize and I bask quietly, my cheeks colour, it feels rather like laying directly over a hot water pipe...

I return to my musing about bulbs...


  1. Mmm home made Marmalade... I have an on going swap, a friend makes marmalade and I make the chutney! It's time to make this year's Allotment plan too...
    Smiles Cass x

    1. Hey meh, I've been following your blog for almost 6 months now without leaving any comment so I decided to quickly say hi today.
      Regards, Daniel from

  2. It all sounds so lovely! You've a real way with words! I'm going to have a go myself! Your post really put me in mind of Susan Hill's Magic Apple Tree, one of my favourite books. Can't wait 'til your next post! Your photos are always beautiful too, Mari

  3. Sorry! This is really from me Mari, but accidentally came from my Hubby's account.

  4. mmmmmmm......Homemade Marmalade! Just wonderful
    Julie xxxxxxx

  5. Just stumbled down your lane and found your blog - beautiful post x

  6. Mmmmm home made marmalade is the best! Can't wait to see the bulbs flowering later on. Catherine x

  7. Read your delicious post just after discovering I have run out of Marmalade - oh NO! x

  8. I can smell those oranges from here! A very heart warming post, making some things is just so good for our souls. I love selecting and chopping vegetables to make soup at this time of year.

  9. My hellebores are blooming but today they are under a blanket of snow, poor dears. Good thing they are hardy so I know they will survive. I hope the brave little daffodils whose buds are formed don't get too much of a shock either.

  10. Any chance you could slip a jar in the post for your little bro? xxx


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