Sunday: it is quiet today. The wind has abated and the sea settles as the squalls are pulled northwards to chase round the eye of the storm as it heads for Iceland The November sun is too weak to banish the early morning chill so fingers remain cold and clumsy, thrust deep into the worn pockets of an old jacket with fraying cuffs . A miasma of seaweed emanates from the beach beckoning the birds to a morning feast. The mountains of amber kelp teem with life, a perpetuum mobile of foraging and squabbling starlings.
No time to idle along the shore inspecting the tide line for the discarded treasures of a storm, there is work to do. This is the reign of Cailleach Bheur, the blue hag, mother of darkness, bringer of storms and daughter of the winter sun and the last remnants of the summer have to be consigned to the flames.
Earlier in the year I had not expected to have enough green tomatoes for a jar or two of chutney, however, our golden autumn rewarded us with a late harvest of peppers and tomatoes. Usually the tomato vines are cut down in September, this year I was still harvesting a profusion of beautiful dusky fruits. I grew Black Russian last year with wonderful results. However, the summer of 2014 was very different to 2015 and I was not sure if it would still produce good tasty fruit. Fruiting was late, and the crop not as abundant, but this variety seems able to produces large juicy tomatoes with a wonderful flavour even in cool damp summers, although I expect some unexpected late autumn sunshine helped.
I’ve never had too much success with peppers, and had vowed that if I didn’t produce anything that was worth eating I would give up. I doubt if it was the growing conditions of our very miserable summer which made the difference or even the extended growing season of a good autumn, I suspect it was the choice of variety. Both Sumner and Spanish Spice produced satisfying numbers of bright red fruit of a good size and terrific flavour. King of the North was disappointing, only a small number of fruit which had to be coaxed to ripen on the kitchen window sill.
All good things must come to an end and there remains little chance of the last green tomatoes ripening, so they will provide me with a few jars of chutney which should be quite lively if I add some of the last few peppers.
It would be an exaggeration to declare that we had a glut to tomatoes in October, but there were certainly enough to produce a series of tomato tarts and a few containers of roasted tomatoes for the freezer.