Monday, January 21, 2013
When I was growing up my mum had a friend called Sue. They'd met when we moved to Melbourne and I attended St Agnes' Kindergarten in Caulfield. She and her husband Gerry were from Liverpool and had resettled here, my own parents from Lancashire, so there was an immediate connection. They had only one child, a daughter named Rachel.
The two families became close, sharing holidays and weekends together. There are many photos of "happy" adults sharing a pewter goblet of wine, perhaps with a curry including sultanas, with unruly children running in the background. As I mentioned Rachel was an only child and I, with three older brothers but a 10 year age gap between us, almost one myself. We were firm friends.
Sue and Gerry had a blood plum tree and would deliver bag loads to my parents every year. My parents were heavily into self sufficiency - it was the time of The Good Life, one of our favourite shows - and would preserve or convert anything edible into something. I recall plum wine, some of which self carbonated into a homemade sparkling. There was jam and there was jelly.
Sue and Gerry divorced, the house with the plum tree sold. He moved to Sydney and she bought a place down in Shoreham on the Mornington Peninsula and became a vegan. Rachel started attending Toorak College in Mt Eliza and when we'd meet years later, we were strangers.
The friendship may not have lasted, but I remember them, fondly. I remember them through plums. Is that strange, is it any less worthy that it's talk of plums that triggers the thought?
I made a spicy plum sauce from our tree on the weekend - 3kgs of fruit yielded 8 jars of glorious ruby sauce, the recipe care of our dear friend Kate. The tree has about another 3kgs on it, at least. What next?