I began making elderflower wine on 5th June, and that is a good two weeks earlier than previous years. Our hottest ever April and the driest spring for a century will have something to do with the elders' early flowering. Also, I could have left making this wine for a week, but I suspect not much longer.
I headed out to the Harewood Estate at shortly past ten - without Claire this year. She wanted to use her time pottering in the garden. As I was alone, I did not immediately trespass into a farmer's field. Instead I walked along a public bridleway, picking what flowers I could. This was all done to a sound track of birdsong and the distant roar of expensive sports cars at some Sunday rally. Every so often I heard the muffled voice of a tannoy announcer reading out timings.
The elderflowers along the bridleway were sparse. I picked about half that needed for a double batch - but there, tempting me in a field to which there was no right of way, were flowering eldertrees in abundance. Of course I hopped over the fence and filled my plastic bag. And, as last year, no irate farmer chased me away.