Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
The season is living up to its name today as the mist is so heavy we can’t even see our favourite beer keller which sits on top of a mountain and shines like a beacon of peace and comfort for miles around. Well, to be fair, it’s actually the chapel (left) that shines like a beacon, the beer keller is tucked out of sight in the trees below. Once the morning mist has burned off the weather has been warm and balmy with just a crisp chill in the air in the evenings. And of course the lovely smell of wood smoke from all the wood-burning stoves (karkeloffen).
As is traditional at this time of the year I’ve taken to making jam, chutney and cooking with game. This weekend I gladdened my husband’s heart with a traditional game pie, and a game terrine served with plum chutney and fresh caraway-seed rolls.
I can just remember my grandmother’s damson jam. Grandma could make sixpence go further than anyone I ever knew. She had an arrangement with the local greengrocer. He would save all the bruised and oozing fruit that he would normally throw away and sell it to her for pennies. She made wonderful jam with it, served with her own freshly baked bread. I don’t think she had ever heard the expression ‘if life hands you lemons, make lemonade,’ but it pretty much expresses how she lived. World War I, the Great Depression and World War II were really, really big lemons. But then, she had my Granddad, so she was a happy woman.
I’m going to miss the lovely warm summer evenings and eating out in cafes and kellers, but Franconia is beautiful in the winter. We can eat in cosy, oak-panelled, seventeenth-century inns, walk through enchanting parks along frozen rivers and, as December comes along, enjoy the famous Christmas Market at Nuremberg, and the smaller, cosier one in Bamberg. Then, home for Christmas and my nephew’s wedding. Oh, and a new book, I hope, out for the holidays.