A Wedding, A Funeral & A Drink

IMG_0161Dear C. and J.,

A. forwarded a few stunning pictures of your wedding day. What an incredible backdrop you chose, how beautiful you looked, and how radiant and happy you seem :-)! Congratulations, and our best wishes for a happy future together.
Getting married is a commitment not everyone your age would be willing to make, and I salute you for being so determined to make things work. I know enough of your story to be aware that things weren’t always easy – in fact, to impart a bit of old age wisdom, nor will they continue to be. Life has a way of surprising us with stuff we never considered before, and you can’t really be sure of anything, not even if you tie the knot. But you decided to be in this together, and I find that admirable, romantic and special. I’ll be pulling for you.

J

As sad as I was to not be able to fly out, in the end it was probably a good thing that I had declined the invitation. I think I needed to be here instead:
IMG_0117It’s the final resting place of another loving couple whose love, in their belief, spanned centuries, lifetimes, eternity even.

As for us who continue our lives here and now, we decided it would be a good thing to circle the wagons a bit, and try not to be as dysfunctional as the scattered-to-the-four-winds family had been over the last 30 years. There’s only a handful of us left of the formerly quite large gene pool, and we all feel we need to make more of an effort to stay connected. This post is just one attempt in that direction.

After the small, brief and touching ceremony (I never knew how moving a Chris de Burgh song could be: we listened to ‚Read My Name‘ at the gravesite, at my late sister in law’s request, and it was one serious tear jerker!), we hung out together for the rest of the day. When we parted ways at night, I felt we had done the best we could with a sad occasion. There were tears, but there was also laughter. There was good Italian food, stories were told, plans were made, and there was some very good ice-cream, too. My kids were well behaved, empathetic and sweet – I think they did a fantastic job cheering everybody up when things got too sad. I was glad I had taken them, they’re an awesome duo, those two, and I feel privileged to raise them.

As you people may know, I’m never really without my little crafts bag, and even the burial was no exception. I didn’t knit at the grave – I’m not all that Harold & Maude. But I did knit a bit at the restaurant, and I’m proud to announce that, by now, I’ve made quite a dent into my first ball of Shetland Lace yarn over the last couple of weeks. I’m well into my Navy Blue Shawl now, check it out: IMG_0179

Here’s what it looks like against the light – isn’t it pretty?IMG_0180

Most of the yarn work I do is not for me, and doing something this elaborate and elegant for myself seems a bit naughty at times. As everybody who has done this type of knitting before will know – this type of project needs commitment, and it takes time – and I’m enjoying every stitch ;-)). Also, I’m practicing for an awesome wedding gift …

And that’s basically what I was going to say here today. Signing off with a picture of one of my favorite early summer pastimes: Making elderflower syrup. Have you ever had it? It’s a wonderfully fragrant, summery and sweet addition to soda water. If you do it right, it actually manages to catch the elderflowers‘ scent and taste. I love it, and it’s easy to make. Would you like to learn?   Holunder2 (1).jpg

Elderflower Syrup

1 kg sugar

1 l water

2 organic lemons (or more to taste), sliced

approx. 30 elderflowers (see picture above)

1 TSP powdered citric acid

Elderflowers are in bloom _NOW_. You need to be quick, and forage in the park, or by a roadside, or wherever you can find a nicely blossoming elder bush. Snip the blossoms off with scissors and carefully place them in a basket or bag.

First, check for critters – it’s not only us humans who are fond of that taste, it seems, and I flicked some 10 or so june bugs out of my stash as I was prepping the flowers for making the syrup. Also, while you’re at it, remove as much as possible of the green stems. They can make the syrup bitter.

Boil water and add sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add slices of lemon, citric acid and elderflowers. Cover and let steep for 1 or 2 days.

Now you need a very clean cheesecloth or another piece of thin, cottony fabric. Place the cloth in a large sieve or colander and pour the liquid through. Repeat twice, until you’re certain to have filtered out any rests of fiber.

Now put the filtered syrup back to boil, use sterilized glass jars or bottles to store, and pour in the syrup, using a funnel. Close tightly and let cool. It will keep fresh for about 1 year. We did the double amount and made 6 bottles of syrup.

Enjoy this lovely summer drink! Some people like to add a splash to their Prosecco – but I find it way more delicious without any alcohol involved. Chin-Chin!

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