June 12th, 2007

countrygirl

Hautboys and White Wood

"The best fruit in England - every body's favourite - always wholesome, - These the finest beds and finest sorts. - Delightful to gather for one's self - the only way of really enjoying them. - Morning decidedly the best time - never tired - every sort good - hautboy infinitely superior - no comparison - the others hardly eatable - hautboys very scarce - Chili preferred - white wood finest flavour of all...delicious fruit - only too rich to be eaten much of - inferior to cherries - currants more refreshing - only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping - glaring sun - tired to death - could bear it no longer - must go and sit in the shade."

I don't emulate Mrs Elton's large bonnet and basket but have been picking mine into a Tupperware bowl. I've lost all the labels telling me which varieties I have but fresh picked and sun warmed they are absolutely delicious. As are the broad beans.

The first year I started the strawberry patch, the birds got every single one and I nearly grubbed up the lot in disgust. I'm glad I didn't because they crop better every year and the terrifying plastic owl suspended over the bed does seem to keep the thieves away. I throw rotten fruit onto the path, hoping to fob them off but the squirrels have those. I must say a squirrel eating a strawberry is a cute sight. They leave the pips: how they do that?