I was planning on starting my rhubarb wine next weekend, but Julia rang today, 2nd May, to say that all her rhubarb plants were flowering and therefore next Saturday would be too late to harvest the stalks. As I had just put a bottle of Rhubarb 2010 in the fridge, this fitted in nicely. I made arrangements to meet Julia at her allotment gates at around four, and continued with my afternoon. This mostly consisted of continuing with 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver. The more I read, the better it gets, which is what one wants in a book of 670 pages. It is extremely good at relating historical events from a personal point of view: Trotsky's assassination was brilliantly written and remarkably tense, even though I knew that this was his fate (but virtually nothing else at all about him). The rest of the afternoon was spent on the internet, reading and watching the news about Bin Laden's capture and death. Obama's address to the nation (and therefore the world) struck me as measured, intelligent and pleasingly free of triumphalism.
Anyway, plucking 6 lbs of rhubarb from Julia's allotment was quick work, and we spent most our time putting fleece over her strawberry plants in anticipation of Tuesday's predicted frost. Claire dug up some horseradish, which currently sits in our fridge awaiting culinary transformation.
Once at home I washed the rhubarb and cut the stalks up into slices of about half an inch, making sure that we got some from both Claire's grandmother's plant and the one given to us by Shirley. I put this into the bucket and pured over 13 pints of boiling water. The next morning, I added six pounds of sugar, a sachet of yeast (Champagne variety) and one and a half teaspoons of nutrient, though no pectolase.