Since Lockdown started, I have been working from home. Whilst I thought that I would hate this, it is something that has definite advantages. I miss the camaraderie of office life, but there is a certain freedom in being alone at home with the cats and my own kitchen. To stay fit, I have taken a long walk every morning before work, and on Thursday morning, 20th August, this took me along Broomhill Drive.
|Our damson tree - not enough damsons|
I noticed several damsons on the pavement and grass verge of this particular street. Many were looking unblemished, so not having a bag with me, I filled my pockets. It is unfortunate that both pockets have holes, so I had to walk the remaining kilometre holding onto my trousers, occasionally feeling a damson roll down my leg. When I regaled Claire with this story that evening, she mentioned that there was a damson tree in Potternewton Park. Friday morning's walk was decided upon.
|My disappointing first view of the damson tree|
My first sight of the damson tree was disappointing: the fruit was impossibly out-of-reach. But then I looked at the ground: surrounding me were damsons with their blue-purple dusty covering, looking like eggs from an exotic, flightless bird. This time I had a bag and picked up the fruit that was still intact.
|Like eggs on the ground|
At home I weighed my haul - with those from Broomhill Drive, I had 5 lbs 9 oz, and I only needed 4 lbs of these for a batch of wine. I put the damsons in a bowl, freezing what was surplus, and covered them in water for 10 hours.
|Damsons in my bucket|
In the evening I mashed the damsons - they are surprisingly yellow inside - covered them in 2 lbs 12 oz sugar and poured over 6½ pints of water. (It turns out that 6 pints would have done.)
On Saturday morning I added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase and, in the evening when I read about what I had done in 2018, I added a teaspoon of citric acid. Over the next few days I gave my bucket of liquid a stir, and then put the wine into its demijohn on Wednesday night, 26th August, sieving out the solids. This process (including the sterilising time) took not quite the whole of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, which was playing on Radio 3 whilst I did this.
|Fermenting in my bucket|
The wine is lighter than I remember from two years ago, but still a splendid red.
|A splendid colour|