Saturday, 11 July 2009


It's that time of year....strawberries. They're everywhere you look.
Although things have changed now. It used to be that this was the ONLY time of year you saw strawberries. But really, you can get them all year round now. Which I think is quite sad. It kind of negates the specialness of summertime.
When I was but a slip of a lad, my mother would take my brother and I up to the fields north of the village where I grew up and we'd spend the afternoon picking fresh strawberries for her. We had to choose only the best, big ripe juicy berries for her, and of course this was done whilst simultaneously stuffing our faces with as many as we could stomach.
Then we'd lug them home and the following day my mother would get the 'jeely pan' out and the jam making would commence.
The'jeely pan' was an enormous pot about 2 feet in diameter into which the prepared berries and large quantities of sugar were emptied. After much boiling and bubbling, the jam would be considered ready to cool and my brother and I treated to huge slabs of buttered bread with the 'skimmings' of the cooling jam.
Just writing this brings back the incredible taste of summer.....
It also brings to mind that intense poem of Edwin Morgans'.....


There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air

in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you

let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

-- Edwin Morgan 1920 -


  1. Statues in China: not something I ever really thought about or discussed. I think that perhaps they would've been more important 20 or 30 years ago when people had considerably less freedom than they do now. For example Buddhist statues - now more viewed as a potential tourist lure and people seem to have a reasonable degree of religious freedom, provided of course they don't start an organised movement that the government feels is threatening or want Party membership. As for Mao - even somewhere as provincial as Shjiazhuang, statues of him are outmoded. Modern schools and parks don't have them, and I only came across two in the entire city of several million people. Slightly rambling, but I hope it answers you question.

  2. The strawberries made my mouth water especiaaly the ones dipped in chocolate. I must now go and eat some chocolate. I love your new heading photo, where was it taken?

  3. J - Thanks for that. Poor old Mao eh? Is that all the thanks he gets? ;-)

    mtb - you can't beat strawberries dipped in chocloate washed down with champagne after a good spanking. :-p

    Chris - It was taken at Murroes and Tealing Church. There are some more pics of it on a post I did earlier this year.

  4. Chris - I meant to add just type Murroes and Tealing in the search blog window at the top left of the blog.

  5. Thanks for guiding me to your previous blog about Murroes and Tealing church. The windows are great, shame about the snotty flower woman,maybe she needed some chocolate strawberries (or something) Years ago, my husband used to make stained glass windows.

  6. You'll have to convince me of that Neil. ;-)

  7. Who's the wee devil now Toaster?

  8. The best strawberries (and raspberries for that matter) I've ever had are from Scotland. There's a stall at our local farmers' market that does the best strawberries ever.

  9. Making jam in the summer is part of the ritual martyrdom of Scottish womanhood. To my surprise, I find myself undertaking this each year. Usually on the hottest day of the year. Wearing my granny's 'peenie' (pinafore apron).

    Like you, I remember a very short strawberry season. Now, on this dreich July day, they'll be picking away in the polytunnels.

  10. Linda - I have this great picture in my head now of you making jam in just your grannies peenie! ;-)