Sunday, 30 August 2015

Old Ways.

We’ve arrived at that time of year again, when the first splashes of yellow and brown appear in the tree tops and sections of the hedgerow grow black with ripening elderberries. It reminds me of the small shops that proliferated when I was a kid, and how the shopkeeper would start clearing his displays late in the afternoon ready for a quick getaway at 5 o’clock sharp. His only concern was that he might be interrupted by the odd late shopper who had discovered that she didn’t have quite enough potatoes for master’s tea.

‘Are you still open, Mr Brown?’

‘For you, Mrs Smith, I’m always open.’

‘Ooh, Mr Brown, you’re quite the flirt.’

‘Ah, some old habits are hard to shake, Mrs S. And that’s not all I find hard to shake these days.’

Squeals of laughter and deep guffaws.

Life was simpler then. But back to the elderberries.

If I were more resourceful and had the requisite storage space, I might be inclined to pick the berries and make gallons of elderberry wine. Then I could bottle it, keep a little for myself, and sell the rest at village hall events, taking only the cost of the bottles in recompense and donating the profit to village hall funds. That’s how things are done in country areas; it’s all about contributing to the function of the community.

Not that I’ve ever been a fully paid up member of any community at any time in my life, you understand, but it’s the thought that counts.

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