For weeks the damsons have been tempting me into the orchard to test them for ripeness - but their deep purple colour belies their eye popping sharpness, and each time they have turned my tongue to chalk.
Then suddenly this week they have relented - finally softening and ripe with deep plummy juice.
I climb the ladder to pick the abundance of fruit and their perfect bloom rubs off on my fingers. They fall into my bucket with a soft thud-ud - the sound of ripeness as well as the feel and taste.
Portioned up and ready to sell to my colleagues. Every year a small band of afficionados and jam makers wait
impatiently for me to deliver the fruit to the staff rooms.
My lack of kitchen means I won't be creating any damson delights this year. But my colleague Sara made damson cheese with some of the fruit, as part of her 'Tudor Tastes' demonstration for our Food Fest. She presented me with this one as a gift to try - it's so beautiful.
The most intensely flavoured jelly.
Sweet cubes to complement salty cheese, or bake into muffins as tiny flavour bombs.
Just a few more weeks and I will cook again ...
(In the meantime thanks to all our lovely friends who have been feeding us in our hour of need xxx)