Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Elderfower magic.

Yesterday afternoon I decided I had finally had enough of feeling like rubbish - great grammar there. Sick of feeling that I was on a merry-go-round of problems and worries with no control; in other words, I felt I had become someone life happens to rather than someone who makes life happen and it doesn't suit me. Maybe I am a bit of a control freak, but I find this a scary way to live, always wondering what the next 'thing' will be or dreading collecting the post/ answering the phone for fear of more bad news. This is not living as I know it and yesterday I had enough.

I collected Sam and Lucy from school and drove to pretty Mylor Bridge (yes, I have mentioned it a before as I love it so). This pretty creek village has a post office right on the water and I needed to collect car tax, so a trip seemed worth the short drive. I think with hindsight - that wonderous thing - that I probably felt the need to be soothed and feel a bit safe, for want of a better word, and Mylor has always been that place for me. Anyway, the children sat in the car watching the boats bob on the high tide and the kids playing football in the field on the opposite bank until I returned and then it hit me: we go on a harvesting fest! Nothing better than a spot of gathering when you feel a bit blue, so we drove home, collected Mr Dave (who was miraculously early for once) and headed back to the lanes of Mylor.

It was such fun, more so because I expected Sam to say he would stay at home as he is 18 now and has done this for most of his life, but he practically leapt into the car and brought a smile to his mamma's face with his eagerness to participate - bless him. Jolly handy too as his 6ft plus height could reach far higher than either me or Dave.

We walked, we drove, stopping the car whenever we spotted another cluster of bushes (and I am talking lanes that probably see a tractor a few times a year not busy side lanes here). It was such fun watching everybody clutching their bags of the gorgeous creamy flowers with that magical perfume you either love or loathe rather like Marmite. Finally we headed for home where dinner was eaten, baby bathed and put to bed and the elderflowers counted - 110 flower umbels in all! Good grief! And just in case anyone is worried here, we made sure we left plenty on each plant and there were still plenty to come (hurray, elderberry wine/cordial/jelly...).

So here's what we made - two vats of elderflower cordial and one huge batch of elderflower champagne which unfortunately doesn't keep too long and will have to be drunk rather quickly to avoid wastage...oh dear! In all we made gallons of the stuff, but more importantly we had such a grat time doing it.

And do I feel more like me? Yes I do. Will it last? Probably not but
it's a start, and there's always the champagne when the going gets tough! So my thought for all those feeling blue today is to get thee out into some countryside if at all possible and pick these beautiful flowers. Cordial can also be made with dried flowers so town dwellers can still join in and if the bushes in your area aren't flowering yet then you can still go out to earmark the ones you will be using.

P.S. Thank you all so much for the good wishes; it means a lot x

PPS. We've also been making ginger beer, but I'll save that for another day! xx


  1. Oh I feel a proper Toad hearing you thnaking poeple for their good wishes I didnt know you were at such a low ebb so feel beastly guilty now but glad you are feeling more pukka! Adore making elderberry cordial and elderflower cordial as well and of course champagnewhich is such a breath of spring isnt it! Have you tried freezing icecubes of cordial its ownderful with fizzy water on a hot day.

  2. Wow, pipany, i'm impressed! I've never picked elderf flowers even though we have loads here abouts.

    Lovely blog, glad it cheered you up!

  3. I'm glad you're feeling a little brighter. All those elderflowers look wonderfully 'frothy', and our mainly sunny weather has helped a bit too. Please will you share your cordial recipes? I've looked up loads and they're all different!! Diana xx

  4. Your blog cheers you and also us! You write about things that I wouldnt know how to start doing.I like elderflower cordial - thanks UPL for thetip - and the elderflower champagne sounds like the sort of thing Little Grey Rabbit or the Brambley Hedge lot would serve at a wedding. (i've got weddings on the brain! the actual flowers look very bridal in your photos)

  5. Well Pipany, once again you just find a way to lilt, to bring joy, to join your family together in fun. What a spirit you have!

    Best wishes. xo

  6. Pipany, Mylor Bridge was my home for all of my childhood. I have paddled in that stream, caught crabs from the quay, got lost in the lanes and fields. I know what you mean about being safe and soothing but then I am biased.

    Have a happy day.


  7. Sorry you've been blue Pip, I am so cr*p these days at keeping up on here that I hadn't known. I'd love to go out picking lovely elderflowers but ours aren't out yet! (A few are but not picking time yet). Know what you mean though - it's very therapeutic. Mylor Bridge sounds wonderful.

  8. Drinks from elderflowers sound like fun. Can you recommend a source for a good recipe?

  9. Pipany...must you keep posting photos of all my favourite places? I now feel homesick.
    Will there be any elderflower champagne left when I next come over??

  10. I thought of you as I peered up into the bushes looking for our elderflowers in the rain this morning. And they're weeks off yet!

    Last year I put some elderflowers in a jar and sealed it tight, it was meant to magically melt into a paste within 3-4 months, which I would mix with almond oil to make a salve for Christmas presents. The flowers are still sitting in their jam jar on the kitchen windowsill, brown, but intact. Oh dear. Maybe next Christmas!

  11. Mylor looks a lovely place. I definately think you will have to share your recipes :-). Thank you for your good wishes - so far so good
    Lisa x

  12. That sounds absolutely divine. I wish I had your patience. I am sorry to hear you were feeling out of sorts and I do hope you feel better this morning. We have a beautiful morning up here in Northumberland. I might just go and see what I can find.

    CJ xx

  13. Hope things improve for you soon. Thanks for sharing your walk with us. Could you pleas post your elderflower recipes?

  14. Another lovely post Pipany, even though it started out with you feeling low, it ended on a high!
    I was speaking to my hubby this morning, weve decided that we wont be able to go to Cornwall until about november this year, which seems ages away but i know it will go fast. I cant wait!!! I hope we manage it, and i think it will be nice to see Cornwall at a time of year when we havent been before, plus there will be less of those dredded emmits gawping at us! LOL. Its hardly ever the locals that stare at us, just all those blooming tourists!!!

  15. I'm so sorry to hear you've been feeling blue - you'd never know it from your beautiful blog. And you've still managed to be incredibly industrious. I hope things pick up for you soon - we'll be thinking of you.

  16. OUr elderflowers are not out yet, another week or so maybe. I am going to make gooseberry and elderflower jam which is gorgeous but am inspired now to have a go at elderflower champagne too. Looks and sounds fabulous. Thanks for cheering up my day and hope yours is good too.

  17. Hello! Thanks for dropping by my blog - your name's firmly in my jewel giveaway hat so will keep you posted.

    What can I say - the sea, elderflowers, tasty drinks - it's all lovely - top therapy - glad it helped. Not only that we have friends in Mylor Bridge!

  18. I've just found your beautiful blog (via Silver Pebble)What lovely things to look at and read about. I love the sound of the elderberry champagne and cordial - never tried making that before.

  19. So sorry to hear that you have been feeling blue Pips.

    My Mil used to make Elderberry Cordial, I have a liking for it too.

    Lovely Blog Pipany, and gorgeous photo's.


  20. I do hope that you are not so blue now....put on some happy dance music and dance away the blues... always makes me smile..turn it up loud though!
    Lovely pictures. I made Elderflower wine once - I added exra suger at some point and then had a lovely suprise when we opend our first bottle as it was sparkling! and tasted great. I keep saying that I will have another go - it's finding more time!
    Take care,
    Carol x

  21. Wonderful - what a great way to cheer up! I LOVE elderflower - and I loved your beautiful photos too.

  22. Sorry I am late in catching up with blogs. Hadn't realised you were having problems. I hope things are improving.
    I have been 'eating' your beautiful garden photos. (How do you get the borders round them?)

    We are way behind you blossom wise but you have inspired me to make cordial now.