Tuesday, 7 February 2012

In an ideal world, there would be a flying squad of marmalade troubleshooters who could be called upon in emergency.
Like the midwives of Nonnatus House, they would rattle up on sit-up-and-beg bicycles, in sensible shoes and wraparound pinnies, bringing calm and good advice as the rolling boil comes to a crisis.
They would never have allowed me to go into labour shredding orange peel at 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon because that way lies tears before bedtime.
They would have restrained me from pushing too soon - knowing that it is recklessly dangerous to stir in the sugar, then think, sod it, I'll finish it off tomorrow.
Because on Monday morning, I woke up to marmalade that had set solid in the pan.
And when I got home from work at 10pm, I was too exhausted to push any more.
And contemplated chucking the whole lot into the bin.
I missed a dear friend who died last year. This has been my first time without a marmalade doula to take 999 calls, coax me through giving it welly on the rolling boil and give me confidence at the worrying wrinkly stage on the saucer.
At least, this year I didn't have to worry about it setting.
There was some emergency intervention. (Melted it down, if you must know.)
And after one last sticky push ... I was finally delivered of 7lb on Tuesday lunchtime.
Mother and marmalade are doing well.
But could the midwife please bring some wax-paper circles when she makes the home visit?


Mac n' Janet said...

My one experience with marmalade was a disaster! It never would set. So now I only make peach jam.

mary said...

My worst-ever disaster was peach jam, Janet. It was like a rubber bullet and I had to throw it all away.

Lucille said...

I have waxed paper circles! Helpful is my middle name.

mary said...

I'll know who to call next year, Lucille. Will it go mouldy without, do you think?

Toffeeapple said...

I have never made Marmalade so can only offer sympathy. Glad that you got to the end though. I had a jar of it here once and it ended up as a solid object after about ten years of being ignored.

Sue said...

I haven't even bothered with it this year. too much left from last year.

mary said...

There might have to be some marmalade cakes, Sue. I do like it, but you can only eat so much toast.

A Trifle Rushed said...

I find one batch in 10 is perfect, (about 5 jars every 3 years!) so now tend to the runny (which is aristocratic) rather then hard (which is glue). Jude x

mary said...

Jude, you have cheered me up enormously as that is about the ratio I achieve. Last time I had one perfect batch, one - caught just in nick of time - that tasted of burnt orange-toffee. Trouble is, marmalade never plays the same trick on you twice so you never improve.
And I never knew that runny was aristocratic.

Mystica said...

Its our first working day of the week (Mon and Tues both holidays) and this was a lovely start for me! so you've cheered someone up first thing in the morning.

Darlene said...

You've reminded me how much I look forward to an episode of marmalade-making during The Archers. There is something very endearing about an obsession with 'set'. And yes, the loss of a good friend to help you when it goes badly would be deeply felt. Sorry.

Well that's me off to plunk down a slice of toast and put any thoughts of oatmeal for breakfast out of my head! Oh, and Roman is off to London this Friday so I've asked him to pick me up a copy of Call the Midwife. Looking forward to it!

mary said...

Thank you, Mystica, and your lovely comment cheered me up, too.

Darlene, I've just had my first breakfast with this year's vintage and though it wouldn't win any WI prizes, it tastes fine.
I hope Roman has a good visit ... he'll be laughing at the fuss we make over a little snow. I think we're due some more over the weekend.

Darlene said...

The magic number here is 25cm, less than that and you're going to school and work. So the whole city watches the skies and hopes the snowflakes keep coming. Having said that we must surely be in the midst of an English winter...we've had next to nothing so far!

A Trifle Rushed said...

Mary, I heard the aristocratic comment years ago, on the radio, and I rather liked it. It's far nicer to say my marmalade has an aristocratic set, rather then it's not really set!