Making jam

Making Jam


I’ve been making jam. I was watching Nadiya making marmalade at the weekend and serving up amazing cakes to her kids and I felt guilty. So I dragged only son and my partner out for a walk on Saturday. Only son protested for the whole of the first part. He is a bit of an all or nothing kind of person. “I hate nature,” he said. I suggested that was a bit of a rash generalisation. “What about sunflowers and kittens?” I asked. Only son bounds up every morning to check on the kittens. They are not quite so keen to see him in the early hours.

Only son, who spends many hours learning useful facts about green ants and dinosaur sharks, was adamant. He hated all nature. We went down a country path and started picking blackberries. “Can’t we go home now?” asked only son. “I like nature, but only looking at it online, not actually being in it.” I took that as a statement of total parental failure on my part. All the attempts to get him to watch David Attenborough in the hopes he would embrace wildlife, the scavenger hunt walks and the likes have failed. He is only interested in nature onscreen and only killer nature.

We picked some more blackberries. And then we found some apples. We started planning a blackberry and apple crumble and some jam. Only son became very fixated on his blackberry picking technique. He asked me what my top 10 of dangerous fish were. His included fish I had never heard of. Things were looking up.

After about half an hour we had filled the bowl and only son was really enjoying himself. We got home and made the crumble. Our next door neighbours were back so only son went out to the garden to play with them. I started stirring the jam. I felt like a proper apple [crumble] pie mother, whatever that is.

I screwed my courage to the post and took daughter one out for a driving lesson. Things were going well. We returned home unscathed. Daughter three was at a school reunion in a park, having a great time. Daughter two was making a shell concoction.

It was a brief maternal high. I know September is going to be a runaway rollercoaster. I’ve looked at the calendar and it looks like spaghetti junction. There are arrows and stars and stuff. I’m going to need that jam to give me the energy to get through the next few weeks. The only trouble is I think I overdid the sugar. It has gone rock hard overnight and requires a hammer and chisel to get it out the jar. It looks good, though.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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