My Lady Garden was taped off as a crime scene this week after Suffolk’s own Special Branch put out an alert for a fruit-n-veg pervert. I’m sorry, dear readers, to lower the tone of our cosy column, but your clues could help finger the man known as the Fruit Fecker of Fakenham.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that my whopping prize specimen had been violated in the strawberry bed. Someone had been trifling with my soft fruit but all I saw was a man in a shabby mac (yes, in a heatwave,too!) running away in the distance shouting something about his strawberry shake.
I’m afraid this type of offence is only too common.
Just last week, my fellow crime reporters on the Suffolk Gazette exposed the misdeeds of pumpkin-poking Ralph Bishop, who got his comeuppance from Ipswich magistrates for a lewd act in a farmer’s field.
People like him should be locked up.
How do we know if they are working up the fruit and veg aisles of our cherished Waitrose? Is there a question on the job application form asking: “Have you ever ogled an Ogen melon, or been convicted of ANY Melony Felony, or shagged a strawberry or been drunk in charge of a Kumquat?”
So now the question is, was my Strawberry stroker Ralph Bishop or has he spawned a load of copycat produce-pokers?
Talking of fruit and vegetables, Old Mr Smee, who tends my grape vines in the lean-to, has been ordered to eat more of them (five a day, including chips) after he went into agony with one of his extremities going red and swollen.
It turned out to be gout, and after a fortnight off the wine and upping his veg, his foot is like this:
I have little sympathy for Mr Smee because I think he got his gouty foot by raiding my fermenting bottled grape juice and last year’s vintage of elderberry wine. I found him slumped against the pouffe and he admitted he had just had an early morning stiffener while watching Nigella lick a spoon on his phone.
Serves him right if he’s got a nasty case of Chateau La Feet.
You can make wine from all manner of things, including parsnips, but mostly they are vile, cloudy and give you more runs than Mo Farah at Rio.
But in some areas the blackberries are ripening and I can recommend making Blackberry Vodka.
Simply pick the fruit from the hedge, shove into an empty bottle and top up with Lidl Vodka. Their brand is £7.99 and is called Putinoff, because after a few large ones you will be Putinoff the weeding and watering and tucking into a family size bag of Doritos. Macerate your bottle (yes, I did spell that right) and enjoy in a month or two.
My favourite home-made falling-down juice is Sloe Gin. The sloes are already on the bushes but are better after a frost.
My recipe, which will be ready for a Christmas shopping steadier, is: One third sugar, which you put in an empty bottle first or you wont know what a third is, then a third fruit, then fill the bottle with gin.
Method: Prick the sloes with a thorn from the blackthorn tree the sloes grow on. Think of all the politicians and celebs you don’t like, and stab the sloes with the prickle as you pop them in the bottle.
Give it a good shake every day. And the bottle!
Jobs to do this week
* Leave a packet of condoms near your pumpkins just in case.
* Plant shrubs. A favourite one for fragrance is mock orange (Philadelphus Virginal) which ironically smells like a brothel, so my husband tells me.
* Put a drizzle of Gromore into your watering can and give those containers and hanging baskets a bit of goodness and a good drenching during this hot spell.
* Harvest your runner beans before they go tough and stringy like Therese May.
Now for the answers to your questions
* Nobby C from Stowmarket: Yes, even if the kiddies have piddled in the paddling pool you can reuse the water on your leaks.
* Jemima from Drinkstone: It might have been more sensible to have your three bottles of Aspall cider and a spliff AFTER trying out your new power mower. Little can be done about your prang now but your neighbour probably knows there is a BMW repair shop in Ipswich.
* Mr R B from Fakenham: I am no expert at these matters but i did hear somewhere that people heat the melons in the microwave first.
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