November 3rd, 2006

International Kittens of Mystery

Autumn and Figs are Upon Us.

The soft warm days of our Indian Summer have finally come to an end. A winter High has slipped in - as sneaky winter Highs are wont to do - and brought with it sharp cloudless days and frosty star-filled nights. If only my telescope still worked.

Yesterday I picked the last of the figs before the frost withered them all. So, figs in November. Another first. And a warning to all potential fig pickers - beware the sap for it is sticky and likes hands. I was in a hurry and piling figs into my spare hand and didn't notice how much of the white sticky sap was leaking out. Until I returned to the house and poured the figs into a bowl and several of them refused to obey gravity, preferring my hand instead. A man cannot go through life with figs stuck on his hand. Even if he's a mason.

I soon found out that soap does not remove fig glue. Neither does washing up liquid - though it does join with the fig glue to produce a sticky slimy foam. So I let the glue dry and scraped it off - making sure I didn't stroke any dogs, kittens or tribbles in the sticky meantime. As the bible says: it is easier for a man with figs stuck to his hand to pass the day than it is for a man with kittens.

And talking of firsts we picked our first kiwis at the weekend. Eight of them. Not a bumper crop but it's the first year they've produced - the plants are only 4 years old, veritable toddlers of the vine world - and we are well north of the traditional kiwi growing areas. But the kiwis are a good size. Not the massive fruits that we saw in the South of France when we went to the 'pick your own' farms in the Haute Garonne, but a good 'supermarket standard' size. They should ripen in a few weeks so watch this space for a taste test. And, no, there is no such thing as kiwi glue:)