Category Archives: Fruit

Finishing what I started

Practising growing younger, as per my previous  post , seems to have made me more forgetful, not less,

The forgetfulness of youth

The forgetfulness of youth; it exists; the evidence is in the lost property boxes at schools. :)******

for, until I read  Sheri’s latest post, I had  forgotten I had yet to complete my contribution to the Writing Travel Blog. Sheri invited me to participate way back in June!  I made a good  start. Now it is time to finish what I started.

There are four parts to the Writing Travel Blog:

1.What are you working on now?

The answer, as I gave before, is simple; I am only working on that which is before me; this post. However, for a bit of levity, I will add that I am also working on growing younger. The budding, exuberant growth in the garden provides inspiration for this task.

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Since my “work” is my blog, I have to say that it doesn’t differ much from other blogs.  Like many others, I have a mixture of text and photos, some humour and some more serious moments. Perhaps, one small idiosyncrasy is that I like to have layers (usually of meaning) in my posts. Layering challenges me as a writer but it also gives the reader many options and angles from which to choose when reading my words. For example, you may not be interested in my photographic take on the apple blossom, but you may be intrigued to know that the  blossom is on a columnar Ballerina apple tree  , which produces full-sized apples, and is the perfect fruit tree for a small, city garden.

Another angle on the apple blossom

Another angle on the apple blossom

3. Why do I write what I do?

Nowadays I write mostly for fun but the ‘why’ of the blog is still adequately expressed on my About page:

  • to communicate our daily life to our family all over the world;
  • to explore the theme of Joy & Woe as expressed by William Blake in Auguries of Innocence;
  • to counterbalance the woe caused by the four large earthquakes and the 12,500 after shocks (to date) our city has experienced since the first big shake on  September 4, 2010.

4. How does my writing process work?

Usually I read something, hear something, or see something, that prompts me to cogitate on a certain subject. Ideas and words form in my mind over a few hours or days, and when I have written my post, in my head, more or less how I want it to be, I come to the computer and write it down. Sometimes the transfer from head space to computer space goes smoothly; sometimes not. I don’t like to do drafts but I do spend  time making sure a post sounds right ( to me); so that means hours of fiddling and checking and checking and fiddling before I press Publish, and send  off my work into the plein air of the blogosphere, to ripen and flourish under the warmth of your readership.

Apricot ripening in the warmth of its small world.

Apricot ripening in the warmth of its small world.

Final part:

To link back to the blogger who sent you the invitation to participate; that’s the lovely  Sheri who is a writer and a passionate mental health advocate, as well as a generous reader and supporter of my blog and those of many other bloggers.

Strawberries growing together, in good company

Strawberries growing together, in good company

To invite other bloggers to join the Writing Travel Blog.

It’ s hard to choose but, today, my thoughts are with Stacey LePage at  In the Corner and  Cynthia Reyes. They are on difficult journeys. They are wonderful, spirited people. There is no pressure to accept my invitation to be part of the Writing Travel Blog but your stories are ones I am honoured to share.

******

Who has sharp eyes? Is there anything that bugs you about the first  photo of forget-me-nots? Apart from the lack of focus. 🙂

© silkannthreades

Saturday Satisfaction

To end the week, as I began it:

Come sit awhile with me,

Come and sit at table

Come sit at table

and celebrate another birthday

Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

for a special friend who lives nearby.

Let’s ” tak a cup o’ kindness yet”* and a tasty treat,

and feel satisfied that we have spent the week as best as we were able.

*Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

 With healing and love and many thanks for keeping me company during this week of daily posts,

Gallivanta

© silkannthreades

Recorded Time

In my previous post, but one, I mentioned that  Sheri de Grom had nominated me to join the Travel Blog. One of the questions she asked me to consider, in relation to the nomination, was this:

“What am I working on at the moment?”

The short answer to that is, nothing much; except what is coming to life, right now, as my fingers touch the keyboard.

I am, however, reading; reading  memoirs,

Memoirs of Cairo and Christchurch

Memoirs of Cairo and Christchurch

and preparing, in my thoughts and heart, a small post to add to my private, family history blog. Perhaps, in a few days hence, the time will be right to commit thoughts to virtual paper. I hope so, for otherwise I will be in danger of forgetting the stories that came to me whilst I sat with the old ones. As  Kerry reminded us the other day;  ‘Write it down, label your family treasures, be a record keeper. Do it now.’

And it is precisely because some people take serious note of advice such as Kerry’s that I am now enjoying two memoirs, written about vastly different countries, by vastly different authors, but having, in common, all the intricacies, complexity and vibrancy of family and family relationships.

The first memoir is Apricots on the Nile, A Memoir with Recipes, by Colette Rossant.

Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

Colette Rossant’s memoir includes the years she spent, as a child, in the care of her wealthy grandparents and their large extended family, in their mansion in Garden City, Cairo. Although the Egyptian reminiscences relate mainly to the period from  1937 to  1947, the timelessness of Cairo and the equal timelessness of family events  ( deaths, births, weddings, picnics, holidays,  guests, gossip and weddings ) meant that my own experience of Cairo life, in the late 1990s, came flowing through me, again, deep and rich as the Nile itself.

Closer to home, is the memoir Eventful Years, by Sir Ernest Andrews, my great great uncle.

Eventful Years by Sir Ernest Andrews

Eventful Years by Sir Ernest Andrews

Sir Ernest, or Uncle Ernie, as my mother called him, was a Christchurch City Councillor for thirty-two years, and nine of those years he served as Mayor of Christchurch. He began his Council service in 1918 and retired in 1950. During his time in local politics, he witnessed the 1918 Flu Epidemic, the Great Depression, the 1931 Napier Earthquake, the Second World War and the Ballantynes’ fire . Eventful Years covers all these events and more, but what is not specifically mentioned is that, during his tenure as Mayor, he lived  in his daughter and son-in-law’s modest, two bedroom home, with their four children and my mother. Quite a houseful! But my mother loved living in that vibrant,  occasionally  rambunctious, household of young and not so young; helping with the little ones whilst their mother acted as Mayoress for the widowed Sir Ernest.   My mother was still living there when she married; her wedding photos were taken in the beautiful garden of that compact home,

My mother in her happy place.

My mother in her happy place.

her wedding reception was held there, and, even after her marriage, she returned to stay with the family, until my father’s family moved to Christchurch, and she was able to move in  with her husband and her in-laws.  Thus it was in Christchurch in those years. Though very much smaller in scale and wealth, not so very different to a similar period in a large, lively family in Cairo, at least as far as familial ties, and caring and sharing,  were concerned. ( I doubt, however, that my staunch Methodist relatives indulged in poker parties as  the Palacci family  did! 🙂 ).

“So, as I end this stage of the family history, sketchy as of necessity it has had to be, I again place on record what I owe to a long list of brave and honourable forbears, and especially to the example and influence of a good father and a gracious mother.” (Eventful Years, Chapter X )

I would also place on record that the last time I looked, more than a year ago, this special house in our family history was still standing but it was in an area badly affected by the 2010/2011 earthquakes.  I do not know if it remains today.

And, in case you are wondering, this is not the story I am planning for my family history blog. I have quite another in mind. This one is at the periphery of that one to come.

And, again, in case you are wondering why I removed the dust jackets of the memoirs, it is to acknowledge the importance of recording the outer and the inner, the cover and the contents, as can be seen in  The Art of the Dust Jacket;  the latest exhibition organised by our City Council funded Art Gallery in our City Council funded Central Library. ( Can I hear Uncle Ernie’s approval of these initiatives? He was not only a councillor but a  writer, an educator, a printer and a publisher.)

Finally,  for not much reason at all….save that  it is lovely, and is the result of our City Council’s long-standing support of public gardens… a  winter camellia at Mona Vale.

Like a wedding dress; a camellia at Mona Vale, another of my mother's happy places.

Like a wedding dress; a camellia at Mona Vale, another of my mother’s happy places.

© silkannthreades


Apple pie and the longest night

June 21st;  the winter solstice; the longest night of the year.

The sun will set tonight at 5.01pm and not rise again till 8.03 am. A long, dark night is ahead. Harsh winter days are ahead, too, but, after this solstice, this time of standing still, the days will lighten and lengthen and provide promises of the warmth to come.

I have been quiet; gathering in the sunshine (when it appears); thinking and reflecting; allocating my physical and mental resources, carefully and sparingly.  I have been reading your blogs, as and when possible, enjoying your stories, your creativity, your company. You filter through my screen, reach out with your words and images, and become the surround sound, the presence, of my silent space, until the phone rings, or the doorbell trills, and my real-time world reminds me where I am.

Where I am….in a kitchen, looking at dishes, waiting on the sunlit bench, to be sent to the dishwasher.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

In a kitchen, looking at the dishes, but sensing the sweetly fragrant camellias, at my back, on the sunlit table.

Yet, I am not entirely present, in this kitchen, for at the edges of my mind, I am dwelling in the time of my elders, seated at small kitchen tables, near old coal ranges, delighting in warm winter puddings, or bowls of hot porridge. And I am chuckling that this little girl, my mother’s big sister,

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

grew up to be the winner of a National Apple Pie competition in New Zealand, in the 1950s.  ( Yes, cooking competitions existed before  Masterchef) Who would have guessed it?  She was a star in the making.

My aunt is NOT in this photo but these people are the placegetters in the 1959 Apple Pie Competition. ( The photo of my aunt with her prize-winning pie is lying somewhere deep, and presently undiscoverable, in family files, read junk piles! )

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959 Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

The darkness is coming; the sun is edging westward in the sky. Is it time to stop the memory clock and make a pie, perhaps?

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE - (Te Ao Hou - No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014 Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE – (Te Ao Hou – No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Or should I light a candle, take up the aged photo albums, and dwell a little longer with the old ones?

The blessings of the Solstices, the still time, to you all.

© silkannthreades

 

“It’s In His Kiss” in my kitchen

Life has been a bit complicated lately. Almost, but not quite, as complicated as life for my*namesake protagonist, Anne, of It’s In His Kiss by Vickie Lester.

It's In His Kiss  (copyrighted image)

It’s In His Kiss
(copyrighted image)

So, like Anne, unable to find  answers to many of my worries, puzzles and questions, I resorted to kitchen therapy….yesterday.

“Anne found her comfort zone in her pajamas, sitting in her **father’s
kitchen watching him make dinner, which on this evening was chopped
grapefruit and oranges and mango, pancakes, and sausage.”

Now, although my Dad is a great cook, being far distant from me, across the Tasman Sea, I, comfortable in my pajamas, had to make my own comfort food… banana, bran and chocolate chip muffins. Not that my Dad would have offered  muffins as comfort food. He would have made a substantial roast dinner. But, hey, we do what we can. And, then, I made a feijoa and  apple crumble.

The feijoas,

remember these,

Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas) 2014 Harvest

Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas) 2014 Harvest

gave a nice sharpness to the sweet apple, and the rich buttery crumble topping.

Comfort Crumble in the Kitchen

Comfort Crumble in the Kitchen

Baking done, I am back to reading  “It’s In His Kiss”; where Anne has been up the creek canyon ( i.e. Beachwood Canyon…it’s real, even if the plot is imaginary ) without a paddle, but with a very fine Ferrari instead. And she has just been given the keys to a very fine house (people in Hollywood are so randomly generous… or are they? The Ferrari already seems like a double edged sword. ) Will the keys open any useful doors?  Will they bring answers or more questions? As Ms Lester says in her book blurb……“Anne Brown must find where the truth lies. Truth. Lies.”  Where does the truth lie? Six feet under? Is there truth in the lies? Does the truth lie? Is there any truth at all?

If you can’t wait to find out,  It’s In His Kiss  is available now at an Amazon near you. Oh, and have a muffin….

Muffins for Sustenance

Muffins for Sustenance

.. for sustenance. It’s In His Kiss is a high energy murder mystery ( with food scenes that will make you hungry…for more ). 😉

* Anne is only my “namesake’ protagonist because I imagine it so. She’s a wonderful character but was not written for me, or about me, or because of me. Just wanted to make that CLEAR.

** Anne’s practical, “business-as-usual”, loving father is Bob; Manny’s  the uncle. So far, Manny seems a trust-worthy guy, except when he’s behind the wheel.

© silkannthreades

Different birthdays, different flowers and a gladsome mind

It was the last week of March;  it was the 27th;  the Archbishop of York was in town;

The Archbishop of York came

The Archbishop of York came

and I was at home, celebrating my birthday…  in the good company of  wine

Grapes to eat, wine to drink

Grapes to eat, wine to drink

and song

Jack singing Happy Birthday

Jack singing Happy Birthday

and old friends, bearing beautiful gifts of fine paper

Purple and pink for a present

Purple and pink for a present

 

 

Books for the Garden

Books for the Garden

 

 

 

and cloth

New robes

New robes

and flowers of all sorts, on stems

Birthday beauty

Birthday beauty

and on cards, each carrying  messages of loving kindness and good will.

It was the loveliest of  days to be honouring the process of growing  and ageing.  I hope the Archbishop thought so, too, even though he wasn’t at my party  at all, except in the very vaguest  way, via my life lived within the framework of  my historical and ancestral  relationship with the Church of England. (You see, I wouldn’t be here in this 21st Century New Zealand, if my church-going  forebears hadn’t decided to take assisted passages, in the 19th century, to a new life in the Church of England settlement of Christchurch.)

The Archbishop of York was here  to  help the Anglican Church prepare for a much more senior birthday than mine; the bicentennial of the beginnings of the Christian Gospel  in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

And he was here to address a symposium entitled, ‘Poverty, Global and Local’.

Which made me think that, no matter how  differently we celebrate a birthday, or, how disparate our ages, to grow up and grow old is a privilege; for state and church and person alike.

and for that privilege, and every strand of grey hair on my head,  I must remember to be truly grateful and of a gladsome mind, always.

Update:

This post comes with a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped celebrate my birthday. I am looking forward to kicking up my heels and having a grand time with you all again in 2015. Put the date in your diaries now. 🙂

Celebrating

Celebrating Spanish Style

Footnote : This is an excellent article on the art of Mabel Royds http://www.addisonembroideryatthevicarage.co.uk/2013/11/29/mabel-royds-printmaker/

© silkannthreades

the Anglican Church prepares to celebrate the bi-centennial of the beginnings of the Christian gospel in Aotearoa, New Zealand. – See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3053/visit-to-new-zealand-by-the-archbishop-of-york#sthash.A6MMaMGb.dpuf

 

the Anglican Church prepares to celebrate the bi-centennial of the beginnings of the Christian gospel in Aotearoa, New Zealand. – See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3053/visit-to-new-zealand-by-the-archbishop-of-york#sthash.A6MMaMGb.dpuf
the Anglican Church prepares to celebrate the bi-centennial of the beginnings of the Christian gospel in Aotearoa, New Zealand. – See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3053/visit-to-new-zealand-by-the-archbishop-of-york#sthash.A6MMaMGb.dpuf
the Anglican Church prepares to celebrate the bi-centennial of the beginnings of the Christian gospel in Aotearoa, New Zealand. – See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3053/visit-to-new-zealand-by-the-archbishop-of-york#sthash.A6MMaMGb.dpuf

 

More flowers, more guests, a birthday, and beguiling mysteries

Continuing the story of my blogcation….( Will it ever end? Yes, but not quite yet.)

 

More flowers

New Zealand Cranberries in pink glass

New Zealand Cranberries in pink glass

for more guests

More guests :)

More guests 🙂

and for a birthday….mine!

Birthday Flowers

Birthday Flowers

Update:

The sun was shining when I took these photos almost a month ago but, today, our city’s land and rivers are trying (and failing) to cope with 70mm of rain (in the past 24 hours), with more to come. My garden is a mud puddle which makes me feel that it’s an appropriate time to confess that I am a little bit of a  stick-in-the-mud type, when it comes to my literary tastes.  I like my  “Diary of a Provincial Lady” or my Rumer Godden, and many things quiet and genteel, and gently humorous. Adventure is not my middle name (it’s Amanda, actually 😉 ) when it comes to books. But, every now and then, someone, like my good, well-read, sister-in-law, gives me a nudge and sends me  books like  Two for SorrowThe Sunbird or  The Distant Hours or The Luminaries;  and I have a blast shaking loose from my usual reading habits.

The other day, I was given a similar, small nudge from blogger Vickie Lester at Beguiling Hollywood.   She entrusted me with her precious manuscript for her soon to be self-published novel,  IT’S IN HIS KISS,  with the idea that I might blog about it. I wasn’t sure, at first, but, once I started reading, I was hooked. Once again, with just a teeny step out of my comfort zone,  I am having a blast. How could I not? The main character is witty,  believable, and has my last name, Anne.

So, now, you ask, what is my first name?  I’ll leave you to guess. And I may not tell you even if you guess right because, like Ms Lester, I enjoy keeping a few secrets and a little mystery about myself.  Life is more beguiling that way 🙂 .

© silkannthreades

Now is the hour

After my brief break to honour  Anzac Day, I am returning to my blogcation story.

Two nights and three short days have passed. Now  it is time for my friend to embark on the next stage of her journey. It is time, it is the hour, for us to say goodbye, just as we have  done before. We know the words well. They are words that are integral to an island childhood of many farewells, and, sometimes, few returnings.

Words, as integral as the liturgies, the creeds, the  hymns and Bible stories my friend and I  absorbed,  filtered through layers of cultural and religious and missionary ambiguities and diversities. The miracle is that  we absorbed and retained any of the Anglican faith at all, surrounded as we were by every religion, and interpretation of it, that one could imagine. For example, Diwali was almost as much fun as Christmas; the sounds of the   Call to Prayer were more part of our day than the ringing of church bells; fasting could mean Ramadan or Lent, missionaries could mean Methodist or Mormon, and so on; but, as children, we simply accepted  all the differences of faith with equanimity, as part of what made our community specifically ours.

As a parting gift, and in memory of those early shared bonds of faith, my friend gave me an extraordinarily beautiful book “The Scrolls Illuminated”, illustrated by Australian artist  Fiona Pfennigwerth.

The Scrolls Illuminated, illustrated by Fiona Pfenningwerth

The Scrolls Illuminated, illustrated by Fiona Pfennigwerth

Fiona takes 5 ancient texts from the Bible and uses her understanding of Australian nature, and the Bible, to bring the texts  ” across time, culture and geography to those of us in the 21st century “at the ends of the earth” – and anywhere between.” She enriches old stories of faith by adding a unique Australian filter; much as we children grew our faith through a particular Pacific lens.  The book was  the project for Fiona’s Honours and PhD studies in Natural History Illustration at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

And the result of her talent and study is Joy; pure Joy.

I commend joy Ecclesiastes 8:15

I commend joy
Ecclesiastes 8:15

Update:

Yesterday we commemorated Anzac Day. “Now is the Hour”/  “Po Atarau” has been  sung as a farewell to our troops as far back as the First World War. It was also sung when passenger ships left Fiji. “Now is the Hour” became a huge international hit in the late 1940s, thanks to Gracie Fields and Bing Crosby.

© silkannthreades

 

Preparations

In my previous  post, we took a brief look in the rear view mirror. This post goes further back, to the beginning of my blogcation, in late March.

Preparing for my weekend visitor, I fill the vases…..

for the table

Borage, Salvia and Sage

Borage, Salvia and Sage in Blue

Yellow Rocket and Mexican Orange Blossom Leaves

Yellow Rocket and Mexican Orange Blossom Leaves

and for the bedroom

Monet and Chilean Guava

Monet and Chilean Guava

Update:

Today, April 13 is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. One of my favourite websites for plant information is this one http://www.monticello.org/site/visit . I would like to visit the Monticello gardens, one day.  In the meantime, I looked up sage and borage to see if they featured at Monticello, and they do. I particularly liked this reference to  sage/salvia.

“This Mediterranean shrub has been grown in gardens since at least the thirteenth century. It was thought to prolong life, even “render men immortal.” Sage was a standard item in gardens from colonial times, and was included by Jefferson in a list of “Objects for the garden this year” in 1794. The term Salvia comes from the Latin salveo meaning “I am well,” a reference to its virtuous powers. In addition to being a useful culinary herb, Sage is an attractive ornamental dwarf shrub that attracts bees and butterflies, but is not favored by deer.”

Although I do not have to worry about deer ( snails are bad enough! ) eating my plants, I love that I have a plant in my garden that  relates to health and well-being and healing. How lovely to look back and realise that I greeted my special guest with a vase of ‘well being”.

© silkannthreades

 

Rubens and the Quince..a Retrospective

There are some images which, once imaged on one’s inner eyeball, are almost impossible to erase.  Rather like the earworm, but with eyes.

Take this, for example, which I stumbled upon whilst looking for ways to prepare quince.

“I love the quince’s shape, its generous curves and bulges. It is a voluptuous, even magnificent fruit to look at, like a Rubens bottom.”(Nigel Slater)

Why, yes, Nigel Slater, why yes, I now see that it does, but, sadly, this revelation means  I will never be able to look at a quince in the face again, and certainly not with a straight face, on my own visage. If you would like to see the connection between quinces and Rubens, gaze on these beauties that my forager friend brought me, a few weeks back,

Quinces, faire  and fulsome

Quinces, faire and fulsome, with bay and pear and lemon

Quince, faire and rubenesque

Quince, faire and rubenesque

and, then, check out  the works of Sir Peter Paul Rubens.

Not withstanding the mirthful imagery, Mr Slater did provide an excellent recipe for cooking quinces, first by poaching, then by baking them to persimmon-toned, bejewelled  tenderness. The fresh, delicate, faintly rose like perfume of the quinces filled the kitchen during the slow cooking process. And it made me think how this aroma, so rare for me, and many other modern house-persons,  was, once, long ago, a  more common scent in New Zealand homes.

Poached and baked quinces in Haddon Hall bowl

Poached and baked quinces in  Haddon Hall bowl

 For, even as early as 1820,  the plans for the Kerikeri mission station garden in the North Island of New Zealand contained quince trees.   I wonder if the rubenesque appearance of the fruit crossed the mission’s collective eye . Perhaps they were more interested, as most early settlers were, in the basic food value, rather than the aesthetics, of their garden produce.

George Butler Earp, who wrote  Hand-book for Intending Emigrants to the Southern Settlements of New Zealand, (1851) 3rd ed, W S Orr, London, said of New Zealand gardens  (in 1852) that ” no English garden, however expensively kept up, can for a moment vie with the beauty of a cottagers’ garden in New Zealand in the beauty of its shrubs, to say nothing of the vines, melons, Cape gooseberries, peaches, all English and many tropical fruits, which will grow anywhere in the greatest luxuriance.” (Source: Cottage Gardening in New Zealand by Christine Dann)

I think that Mr Earp’s enthusiastic  ‘anywhere’ may be an overstatement, but, in the beginning  years, settlers had little choice but to make their gardens grow, wherever they found themselves. It was a matter of survival. However, once the  northern hemisphere newcomers had worked hard, and worked out the upside-down growing seasons in  New Zealand, and understood  what grew well, and what didn’t, on their patch of soil, they would have had sufficient fruit to make the jellies and jams and pastes  that they remembered from the old country. (Imagine the excitement of writing home to Mother that you had made your first batch of quince jelly with fruit from your own garden 😉 )

And, if harvests were good, there may have been enough surplus fruit to make  taffety tarts, quince pyes, or apple and quince shortcake.  Or other such scrumptious treats, filled with memories of absent mothers and grandmothers and lands left behind.

Apple shortcake, minus the quince, was a favourite of my young days. For me, it holds the essence of good meals, in the kitchen, and a long tradition of excellence in family baking.   I don’t know if my/our recipe dates back to earlier generations but both my grandmother and great-grandmother were skilled producers of food for the table and pantry. They may well have made shortcake.

Great grandmother circa 1927 working hard on the farm.

Great grandmother circa 1927 working hard on the Harewood farm. I don’t know if she cooked or grew rubenesque quinces but she made a fine parsnip wine, or so I am told.

And, finally, a little more nonsense about the quince…..to counter balance the visual earworm of a Rubens’  posterior, however beautiful it may be.

© silkannthreades