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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Grape Jelly Part 1

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas OCTOBER. 11, 2020

[67-365] 11th. October 2020- This is not the South of France, I am not on a day trip to Bordeaux. This is my neighbour's pergola in their back garden and we are in South Devon. If anyone out there was looking to start up a vineyard in Devon this might be the place if these are anything to go by. Not actually in my neighbour's garden, as they might object, I think they have plans for that, but possibly on the gentle slopes opposite.

I have received threats from these neighbours that I may be about to find a bucket of these little chaps on my doorstep, and the words grape jelly have been bandied about very recklessly. You will have seen in an earlier post that I am a bit of a dab hand at Marmalade which I only make because I enjoy it, but I haven't yet tried Grape Jelly.

Well just in case these were not idle threats I have dusted down my Maslin pan and Jelly bags ready for the challenge. I have checked my trusty "Let's Preserve It" by Beryl Wood and I am raring to go. Beryl's book is of an unusual layout as there is no index. The book itself is the index, so if you have a fruit or vegetable or an old sock or anything you want to preserve you just browse the book alphabetically until you find it. So Grape Jelly is caught somewhere between Gooseberry Chutney and Grapefruit Curd. The book starts encouragingly with "Apple Butter" and ends calamitously with "XYZ-End of Season Relish". I think Beryl was obviously struggling with titles after she got through with W. The last W was Wine Jelly which possibly led to more tasting than normal so I imagine a very frazzled and tired Beryl having achieved this great tome only to run out of ideas just before the finishing line, which resulted in "XYZ- End of Season Relish", or "End of my Tether" relish perhaps. This recipe involves chopping up everything you have left over in the garden and boiling it up with spices, sugar, and vinegar. The End.

Raring to go- If you are raring to go, you are “full of enthusiasm and eagerness.” This idiom uses raring for rearing, and alludes to a horse's standing on its hind legs when it is anxious to get moving.

I only have the two legs so I am still working on that concept. Do I just rear on the one with the other foot forward or do I just wave my arms in the air as if they were fore legs? It's a quandary.

Quandary- This the word of the day. A state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation. 16th century. Origin unknown; perhaps a dialectal corruption (simulating a word of Latin origin with suffix -ary) of wandreth (“evil, plight, peril, adversity, difficulty”), from Middle English wandreth, from Old Norse vandræði (“difficulty, trouble”), from vandr (“difficult, requiring pains and care”).

So I will leave all that with you as you are all now in a quandary about the actual origin. Although I am pleased to see "Middle English" is back even if only as a theoretical origin. It rears it's head quite often.

I left out the ugly bit because as far as I can find out "rearing it's ugly head" came later and is a relatively modern phrase from the mid 19th century, and because I didn't think it appropriate to refer to Middle English as ugly but wanted to stick with the rearing horse theme nonetheless.

Keep your eyes peeled for Grape Jelly updates. According to Beryl I won't be needing to peel the grapes. That at least is encouraging. And in case any of you were concerned I won't be needing to remove any socks, preserved or otherwise as there is no need to tread the grapes either.

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