I’m part of a Coromandel Writers’ Group that is working on seasonal writing, as part of the Calendars Project, run by the University of Bergen with Dr. Scott Bremer.

Here’s one of the pieces I’ve written for it, which I hope you enjoy. 

What season is happening for you right now (depending on which hemisphere you live in)?

The beginning of April is autumnal in Coromandel. Everything in the garden is looking a bit leggy now–I probably didn’t water it enough in the summer dry, but with more rain the plants and vegetables are going hard out for a final flourish.

Cannas, hibiscus, dahlias are flowering, and although it’s too cold now for the aubergines and peppers, it’s still warm enough for there to be figs, persimmons, feijoas and quinces, and my husband and I are busy in the kitchen.

That’s our project this month–to find as many ways as we can to preserve the garden’s bounty. Growing your own has the advantage of giving you good seasonal markers, but the disadvantage is that each fruit or vegetable comes in a glut–too much all together, and I always feel a bit guilty if I don’t use every little bit.

What can you do with 50 quinces? You may not even know what a quince looks like. It feels like a cross between a pear and an apple; bright yellow and irregular in shape but hard as nails. It also has a unique perfume, tart flavour and a delicious grainy soft texture when cooked. So far, I’ve made quince paste, quince jam, stuffed Mediterranean quinces with pomegranate and quince and apple pie, but there is still a pile of quinces languishing on the barbeque on the terrace. They look balefully at me every morning, reminding me that I have more work to do.

As an immigrant from the UK, even after 20 odd years and despite the fruit in the garden, sometimes I need to count forward six months to let me get a real sense of where I am in the year. May, June, July, August, September, October… ok. It’s not quite like October in the UK though–far too warm for a start; I’m wearing shorts, t-shirt and jandals still, not a scarf and a fleece with a chill wind slicing through me.I associate autumn with rich golden colours and smoky scents mixed with gently rotting vegetation. The bush doesn’t change colour, so the hillside looks more or less the same all year round here. It’s damp though with cooler mornings and evenings and there are mushrooms–we’re eating field mushrooms and oyster mushrooms and the other day we saw a fantastic crop of shaggy ink caps growing in someone’s lawn. But I feel I’m not the only one who’s confused–the plants in the garden area bit too–my plum tree is losing its leaves and blossoming at the same time and there is a fresh flush of blooms on my standard rose. It’s warm enough to encourage them to grow, but the daylight tells them a different story. It’s my birthday soon, but it has moved from late Spring to late Autumn which is a bizarre feeling. Cut loose from my traditions, I must find and establish new ones to cherish.

 

This article was first published on the University of Bergen website.
See the original article here.

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