It’s a sign. The large windowsill at the back of our bathroom is made of polished granite and when the nice ecological (with natural perfumes) shower gel turns clear and can be squeezed, then the ambient temperature is ‘not too cold’.
There are other measures – ‘Shit, it’s hot’ (about 28C), ‘Mmm, nice’ (about 22C) and the more usual ‘Quick – rain!’
The Elder trees are in leaf and the Willows have catkins (not nice) and the Spanish Broom is in flower.
There are a few varieties of Broom, which was grown as a fire starter for the bread ovens, delightfully shaped stone cupolas, which are filled with the Broom and then set alight, with the smoke curving upwards from the small doorway and into a chimney.
Spring is the season in which a male cat’s dormant voice is re-awakened in song. The female becomes a squirming, mewling bundle of hormones. We are the bemused possessions of a wobbly-legged orange tabby female. She has bewitched us with her golden eyes and her beautiful tail, ringed with a cream tip and we are waiting for her kittens to be born.
She’s a young mother-to-be, not being a year old herself. I have to confess that I did unintentionally catch sight of the mating and I know that her kittens may well be the same colour. There was a black and white male waiting his turn, so some may be patchwork. Time will tell.
It is time to start the germination process. Each year, I try and fail to germinate courgettes and peppers and end up buying plants, but this year, thanks to kind friends, I may succeed. I have chilli seeds and I’m going to damn well make them grow and maybe, I’ll be able to make a great chilli sauce. Maybe not. Again, only time will tell.
I first tried chilli sauce at a now sadly defunct Malaysian restaurant just off Leicester Square in London. Ooh, the thrill of prawns dipped in chilli sauce, although of course it was Maggi Chilli Sauce, but it’s part of the true authentic taste of Asia.
I never imagined that I’d actually go to south east Asia to live and eat chilli sauce or even better, sambals of various types, whenever I wished. I grew to enjoy the heat of the food, but not the climate.
As a family we’d play ‘what tree would you like to see growing?’ game in York – and even here. Number one would always, without fail, be a Durian. Second, any variety of Mango and third, a Rambutan.
All are attractive trees, which do tend to grow tall. The Durian is a very tall tree indeed. The spiky, odorous fruits rely on the height that they must drop from, to break them open and they are prized and banned throughout Asia. Well, banned from public transport (and hand luggage) and a good one tastes of caramelised onion custard, with an impressive overtone of drains.
Mangos are delightful fruit that are even nicer when slightly under ripe and must be thinly peeled as the flesh just below the peel is the tastiest.
Rambutans grow on a pretty tree and taste sweet and are delightfully juicy, but do bear an odd resemblance to testicles. Do forget I wrote that. Once that image is in your head, you will never lose it.