Of Autumn, Boot Cleaning, Strawberry Tree Fruit and Filing

I didn’t get as far as St James’ Park today, but I was in the garden. It’s autumn there too.

I went out to scrape the mud from my boots. Mud from the moat at the Tower of London. They are not my best boots, and I was planning to get rid of them, but after being at the Tower, I thought I might use them for wet and cold days in town. So I was a bit put out to find the sole was coming away on one of them.

I took my camera out too. I was hoping MasterB would come with me, and I might get a picture of him on the same lines as the one I included in the calendar when I was cleaning  another pair of boots; my second best ones. I have three pairs of boots of varying vintage, comfort and waterproofness. My best ones are brown leather, currently cleaned and polished so they look like shiny conkers. Cleaning walking boots is somehow very satisfying. Meditative too. I find myself reliving  the walk where they got dirty; wondering if a future archaeologist will come across some mud that does not fit with this part of the UK, and come up with a theory as to why it is here; thinking about other walks I should like to do.

But I digress.

MasterB had gone back to bed. We had played extensively indoors, he had been out and about after breakfast, and we had played again when he came in. He lost his favourite mouse, a gift from the Lovely Ex-Neighbours. I thought it was under the fridge, but no amount of swishing about with the fly swat brought it to light.

Unusually, there was no sign of Cookie outside either, though an hour or so ago she followed me round to a neighbour’s house where I had something to deliver. So my pictures are minus felines. And minus sun. Today was damp and dull.

I gathered fruit from the Arbutus tree too. Such a beautiful tree, and such quantities of fruit. This is the first year I have eaten them. I really like them with yoghurt and honey; on porridge; in cakes, especially with apple; in crumbles. Celia is eating them too. This time next year we may be publishing the book of Arbutus recipes, though one of us, and I am nominating Celia, should really have made jam with them by then. I have, cunningly I thought, but there has been a deafening silence so far, given some to the neighbour who works in the M&S experimental kitchen. If you suddenly find dishes on sale in your local branch with strawberry tree fruit, you’ll know it started here.

Much of the rest of the day was spent sorting papers and putting them in shiny stationery. In my mind’s eye, this would clear space and make my home more streamlined. In reality, it just means I have a lot of multicoloured plastic wallets, all full, and mainly labelled. Some papers went to the recycling; I opened one file to find it full of teaching resources I do not expect to need again. I am hoping someone down the road who has just embarked on a career teaching MFL may find some of them useful, otherwise they too will be recycled.

I can’t say it has been the most exciting day of the week, but several things have been ticked off the list; I heard from Pix that her calendar has arrived safely, and that, more importantly, she is very pleased with it.

Well that’s a relief.

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12 thoughts on “Of Autumn, Boot Cleaning, Strawberry Tree Fruit and Filing

    • The fruit are the arbutus/strawberry tree fruit. They are very fragile and you never see them in the shops, but as Lyn has commented, wen grazed on them in Greece last month; in Portugal they are made into a liqueur; and elsewhere for jam.
      If you are looking for a beautiful and evergreen tree for your garden, look no further.

    • Celia and her husband found one in Dulwich Park, so you may be lucky. Have a plastic container ready as the fruit is fragile and collapses easily. I tend to gather the windfalls, but if you get them from the tree the ripe ones just fall into your hand with no tugging.

  1. How lovely! The photos of the strawberry tree bring back happy memories of picking and eating the fruit on our walks in Halkidiki, and good conversation while we did so.

    • I wonder how many of our group have found the trees back at home and continue to eat them, all the time having that little Proustian twinge of sunshine and beehives.

  2. Lovely post and pictures Isobel! Yes, speaking of pictures.. MasterB is most handsome and sweet in the new calendar. I get so excited for MasterB’s calendar every year! His November 2014 little ginger face is very expressive. There really is something very special about seeing him every day.. lets me think of you Isobel and how nice it is to have you and MasterB as friends all the way across the pond! Thank you for sharing your ginger boy through your lovely calendar! Love your leaf collage!

    • Thanks Pix. He has had a very lazy day today. Apart from two bursts of energetic play, he spent most of the day asleep in my bed. It rained until evening. Then he got up, stretched, played a little more and went out.

      He is a sweet cat, and I think that shows in his face, I always think of him as an innocent abroad. He is not cynical or knowing, a Candide of the feline world.

      Enjoy the calendar. I shall start on photos for next year’s soon.

  3. I didn’t know they were called strawberry trees. There is a place not far from here, up the mountain, where there are thousands of them. At this time of the year the leaves turn the most beautiful reds, oranges and pinks. I tried to take a cutting some years ago but it didn’t take. I shall have another try now as I am much better at doing that these days! I am very tempted to bring you my muddy boots from work in the vegetable garden but that mud is from MY memories and my Ryanair luggage allowance would be used up on mud!xx

    • Do you ever make jam from them? If you are staying with Celia when you come you may find yourself having them with your porridge for breakfast! We have turned into real foragers. And collect them at every opportunity.

      You could always wear your boots!

      You are a brave woman to fly Ryanair. I have done it once, or rather twice as I bought a return ticket. I am not eager to repeat the experience.

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