One could hardly miss the ‘Jordie’ banter as we patiently waited in the queue. A couple of tourists, the lady of whom, had 2 ginger cakes and a two-pound coin in her hand and was as I understand it, “Going to see it through till the end.” Her chap poignantly fixed his gaze upon the cakes “ Stop now, and shh with you, they are on offer”. said she shyly in the lilt of her soft Newcastle accent.
We were deliciously entertained with untold one-liners, endless Mother in law quips, all very droll and tongue in cheek, her gentle giant gifted with wit, humour and irony. As the rain hit the super market window, he quizzed.“It was you who fancied a camping holiday in Devon with the 4 kids and Wilson wasn’t it pet?”
We all started to chuckle.
“I’m going to be the bigger person and not rise to you” she faux-snootily huffed, whilst desperately trying to keep a straight face.
“You’re going to struggle with that, with me being six-foot five inches and you’re only five feet two in your high-heels?” He paused …. Or did you mean that you were going to be the bigger person by width?’ he nodded at the cakes. He sported a wondrously playful grin all over his face as he seemingly held court and engaged with us all.
“I meant it figuratively rather than physically.” She tutted, though her sparkly eyes and enviable smile gave her away.
“Oh that’s alright then we can chat that one though tonight whilst we are tucked up, snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug, in our tent listening to the rain pitter-patter onto the canvas, a snoring dog and a few sobbing children?”
As if on cue, the wind and rain lashed against the window, lightning set off car alarms and a loud clap of thunder made us all turn our heads in disbelief. There was much muttering in the queue, it is mid-August after all.
His phone rang, and he turned to us all and winked, as after seven highly-over-exaggerated ‘Yes Pet’. Pause, “Aye, oh yes, aye” another brief pause. “I think that will be grand but I’ll just check with m’wife as I don’t want to upset all her plans, so you just hold on there a moment please Pet’. With that he turned and said. “Theres a lovely lady on the phone who has, unfortunately had a cancellation in her equally lovely warm, dry hotel about 3 miles from here. A cancellation of a large family suite with two bathrooms, that have hot running water, heating, power, proper beds, with sheets and duvets, an’ everything like lights, an’ a car park and a bar, I mean, like everythin’. I just want to check if you wouldn’t be too disappointed if we went there for a few days instead of siding around in our lovely big wet field?”
“Its a wild flower meadow next to a blue berry farm in the rolling hills of Devon” she retorted sharply in ‘brochure speak’? Her face utterly ecstatic.
Stricken with glee, she dumped the cakes and leapt up and flung her arms around her hugely huggable husband. He held her close with one massive arm and put the phone to his ear again. “She doesn’t seem overly keen to leave the wild flower meadow next to the blue berry farm Pet but, not to worry, I’ll talk her around and we will be with you in about 10 minutes if that’s ok?”
We could all hear the lady on the phone laughing and trying to remain professional. With tears of joy in her eyes, and with an abundance of squeaks and sighs they abandoned us, as their youngsters seemingly materialised from nowhere. He was last heard saying that she could put the two-pound coin on the bar towards buying a pint, just to help him get over his sadness at not waking up in a flower meadow next to a blueberry farm and with that they were gone. The rain continued to pour and we, the remaining stragglers who had been so thoroughly entertained, were left with an inner glow of having met them albeit briefly.
I appreciate many of you will be blank about the many and varied dialects of the UK though may have heard of the “Hairy Bikers’ our amuser was like a gigantic Si King crossed with an equally kindly yeti.
Of course I picked up the cakes (bargain!) as I paid for the small basket of bits and pieces. Then once duly drenched, I brought them home where I found a lovely basket of blue berries, and some fresh eggs, from a friend who just so happens, as I have mentioned before, to have a blue berry farm which seemingly teeters on a hill. Occasionally they let their meadow to campers and they stay, yes you guessed it, the old wild flower meadow. The seeds were collected, and subsequently scattered, by his late Mother many, many years ago. It was at her request was that the field remains undisturbed yet enjoyed by Summer campers once in a while .
Take three egg whites and whizz them with white caster sugar to a stiff meringue. Stir though some blueberries that were a little more pert and perky than the rest. Place the mixture in four large dollops (culinary/ technical term) and pop them into a low oven for a few hours. Turn off oven, open the door slightly and abandon them over night to ‘do their thing’ (yet another over used culinary term). Yummy!
There were so many jammers, I had little choice but to make the remainder them into a preserve. They aren’t the best keepers and since his note read. Jammers! With no time to phaph, into a pan they went unweighed and were accompanied by a comparable weight of sugar and the juice of about 4 of lemons. After a quick boil up and the, slither or not, test on a cold plate it was good to go.
I just know many of you love an accurate breath in, breath out, recipe.
Some of the uses thus far have been:
Layer of the blueberry jammy stuff on the bottom of a silicone loaf tin (that isn’t a tin, it’s a silicone mould. That isn’t a mould it’s a loaf tin – isn’t it?)
Whizz equal parts of clotted cream and ‘compote/jammy stuff’ to make an awesome ice cream – you can use store-bought blueberry jam and same of good quality store-bought custard, before you all start getting in a fluff…..
Pour a layer of compote/jammy stuff’ and cream mix over the ‘jam’. Set in the freezer, which does take too long since it’s a relatively thin later.
Next wreck the fridge trying to find some double pouring cream (which is already in the hand that’s holding open the fridge door, which is why one can’t see it).
Gently pour a thin layer over the semi-set blueberry ice cream. Leave to set again. Repeat the layering to suit your needs. The thin layer of cream slightly snaps and gives a fabulous ” I spent hours fawning over this’ look and adds to the texture of the whole thing.
Plan on using it as a blog post until you realise that it has been devoured by ‘third parties’ (you know who you are) therefore no other pictures exist of its edible magnificence. Ignore laughing third parties when they text, when questioned, to say how good it was too and can I make something similar the next time they come home for the weekend! Which was subsequently followed by the “oh and btw thanks for the ginger cakes – we had one each for breakfast” text which followed that.
Excavate, from the back of the freezer in the barn, a hidden tub of blueberry ice cream, made with local clotted cream and blueberries. Let it start to defrost whilst whipping some fresh cream and then loosely fold the two together. Ding dong, gorgeous!
Fop some of the remaining blue berry compote/jammy stuff over the top, to slither appropriately.
Share ones fake despair with a few thousand inter-webby chums who, as ever, seem to understand perfectly?
Snigger inwardly that ‘third parties’ didn’t find it.
So I too found my Blueberry thrill just not on a Blueberry Hill, note to self:- Scoff the lot before they come home again!