Stand up for your frugal rights

I found out why the blackberries in Norsey Wood weren’t at their best the other day – apparently there’s some old wives tale that says you have to pick them before Michaelmas (29th September) because that’s when the devil spits on them and they start to taste horrible! Well, actually from a slightly more scientific point of view apparently there’s loads of tannin in brambles and they start to taste a bit bitter when they‘re past their best. I went out this morning into the garden and tasted some of the ones on our blackberry bush and they were starting to taste a bit yick so it must make sense I suppose. Need to keep on my toes with this wild food stuff – it’s not like the veg in the supermarket that seems to keep for ages.

There are loads of windfall apples though from our tree which are dual purpose – cooking and eating – and are very tasty so will have to think about making better use of them than leaving them for the chickens to eat. The girls keep pecking at them and apparently you mustn’t let them do that too much to rotting or fermenting apples as they get drunk and start staggering around! Just eating one now off the tree and it’s really tasty. Making me feel slightly better about the last remaining chocolate bar I snaffled from the fridge this morning…

DJ has suggested making some cider which could be a good idea. I’ve just seen a recipe in a magazine for making mulled cider which sounds delicious. He’s also a bit of a mushroom specialist (mis-spent university education!) and reckons the photo of the tree fungus in my little photo album – captioned ‘tasty or deadly’ isn’t edible anyway!

Feeling a bit anxious on the frugal front though. We’re off for the weekend to stay in a cottage in the Cotswolds – it’s been booked for DJ’s friend James’ 30th birthday celebrations and we paid for it ages ago. Bit of a shame the weather seems to be turning out lousy today. We had hoped we’d go on some nice walks up there, but now I think I‘ll be taking my knitting with me instead! But while I’m looking forward to going, what is worrying me is the peer pressure to spend money you tend to feel when you go on these trips away. If you don’t splash out you feel like you’re being a killjoy. And typical is these big meals out somewhere in some fancy restaurant where you find yourself scrimping and having nothing but lentil soup and a piece of dry bread and water, but then some bright spark who had three courses, wine and brandies says ‘you know what guys, let’s split the bill!’ and your heart sinks. So many times when I was an impoverished student or graduate I’ve allowed people to do this to me but I’ve since learnt my lesson. It’s at these times you have to stand up and say, you know what, let’s not! Let’s everybody pay for what they ordered. Alright!

I’ll see how confident I feel at doing that…! Mmm…I’ll let you know!




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