Monday, October 02, 2006

what I did at the weekend

1. Climb Plynlimon. Pictures available here. This is supposedly, by some estimations at least, the highest mountain in Mid-Wales (2467 feet or 752 metres, metric fans). What I suppose this means is: if you draw a line of latitude just north of Waun Fach in the Black Mountains and another just south of Cadaer Idris, and shade in the area in between, you end up with a decent-sized area which you could, at a push, call "Mid-Wales". It is also, supposedly, one of the wettest places in Wales. Strangely enough then, when we were there, it chucked it down almost constantly. For those tempted to go and emulate us, you need to know this: it's a big, pathless, treeless, featureless boggy lump of a place which is more difficult to get up than its height might suggest, mainly because there's a lot of slogging through tussocky bog on the way up. And it'll be raining.

2. Make some sloe gin. There are some blackthorn trees round the back of my parents' house which were groaning under the weight of sloes, so we went out while I was up there and picked a load. When I say "a load" I mean the best part of 10 pounds in about an hour. Turned out to be more than I could actually use, but - hey - they were free. I liberated some damsons out of the freezer as well, just for experimental purposes. I decided to document the process - you can see the results here. It's worth pointing out that the dumping a load of fruit, sugar and gin in a big jar bit of the process (i.e. today's bit) is the easy bit - the complex bit comes in about four months when I have to decant, filter, bottle etc. the results of the process. Tell you what - we'll worry about that bit later.

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