It hasn't rained here in Dublin since the 10th of June, and pretty much every day has been bright and sunny and hot. It seems we're actually having a proper summer for once. At the allotment, everyone has adjusted to the unaccustomed heat by un-dressing - lots of shorts and bare chests and flip-flopped feet on show - and by slowing right down. Allotmenteers now saunter rather than scurry. Watering cans are carried one by one, there are lots of radios on and seats out, bowls of strawberries picked rather than beds being dug and a general air of holiday and ease and bliss prevails. The only busy beings are the bees.
I had thought my blackcurrants were sufficiently ripe to pick at a deep wine colour, but one of my knowledgeable neighbours strongly impressed on me to wait a week or two. He then kindly lent me a net to cover the two bushes and frustrate the blackbird who's been loitering on the fence with a greedy look in her eye. Instead, I used the jars I'd collected to make gooseberry jam. I used to have gooseberry bushes at the plot, but they were sending out a lot of suckers and generally behaving like Pinky and the Brain (trying to take over the world). Also, picking the fruit left me looking as if I'd been self-harming - so out they came. A colleague in work, however, has more gooseberries than she can handle at the moment, so I swapped her some of the new spuds for 2lb of fruit. It made a lovely pink jam, quite tart and not overly set - a lovely consistency. I used some of it to make jam tarts using this recipe: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/rainbow-jam-tarts - they came out more like jam cakes than tarts, but they are delicious.
Its been a weekend of toasting in the back yard, so here's a few photos of my flowers in pots to conclude this post.