Söderåsen in the mist

Misty September morning

However strange it may sound, I am really loving these early autumnal mornings with mist laying gentle across the woodland and fields. For me and Troy it’s really worth getting out there, getting your shoes soaking wet in the dew that now lays until mid morning, just to see the plants and spider webs that lay gilded in silver dew.

 

Söderåsen in the mistThe mist is giving the whole landscape a surreal, dreamlike quality, softening the edges. The trees especially the Silver Birch and Rowans are now showing autumnal colour. It’s with a sigh I know that summer is over for another year. Autumn’s bounty however is all around. This week I have made plum jam with the first harvest from our orchard. Lang standing readers may know that when we arrived here one of the first things we did was plant a small orchard of apples, pears and plums. Those that survived the ravages of the geese are now starting to look good and our little Victoria plum produced a couple of kilos this year. This may only have made a small amount of plum jam but it tastes fantastic. I was going to wait until the frost before picking the Rowan berries as it adds a certain sweetness to them, but at the rate the were diminishing I thought I’d better get a harvest before the wild birds had them all. So The Rowan berry jelly has also been made this week too.

The apples are now coming into season as I sit writing this, the scent of spices is drifting from the kitchen from the batch of spiced apple chutney I have on the go. I really miss a good pickle and as far as I can tell chutney is not really part of the Swedish cooking tradition so I have to make my own. I like to make large batches of this while the apples are in season so I have enough to last me through the year.

 

 Here's the recipe i use;

 

500g apples
1 medium onion – finely chopped
2 red bird's eye chillies
250g demurrer sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
 i teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper – to taste
1 heaped tablespoon of freshly grated root ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
350ml cider vinegar

Peel, core and roughly chop the apples
Deseed and finely chop the chillies

Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed pan and bring to boil.

Cook over a medium heat for 30-40 minutes until the mixture is good and thick

Spoon into warmed sterilised jars.

…and now comes the hard part, put in your pantry and leave for a couple of months for the flavours to mature.

spiderwebThe swallows that we’re almost literally filling the skies a couple of weeks ago seem to have disappeared. They we’re gathering in large numbers on local roofs, their screeching cries everywhere, no sadly gone. In the skies too I’m seeing more and more cranes, storks, geese and swans all heading south. Local wisdom has it it’s going to be a long hard winter. This seems in part to be a reaction to the swallows swift departure and the amount of fruit that covers the hedgerows. The bees too seem to be in on this as they are battening down the hatches much earlier than I would have expected during these warm autumnal days.

According to a friend, who’s seen more than enough local winters to know about these things, the early departure of the migrating birds, the abundance of acorns, the number of misty mornings and particularly spiders spinning bigger and heavier webs than usual all in his experience point to a long hard winter. I guess only time will tell. In some ways I hope they’re right. We’ve not had a long winter while we’ve lived here and I love snow.

There’s something too that’s been playing on my mind there’s been a lot of celebrities ‘coming out’ as bisexual just lately and the reaction to that has been most bizarre. Ricky Martin, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, that Duncan bloke from Blue, and the prevailing comments have been isn't it about time that celebrities coming out as supposedly "bisexual" just admitted they were really gay?

If you find yourself nodding to the sentence above, I think you’re probably part of the problem. Fact – bisexuality exists and it's curiously disbelieved. Which is strange, when you consider how easy it looks in the dictionary.

We live in an age of 'out' actors, politicians and musicians, even a few athletes and sportspeople. It's not as difficult as it used to be to find gay and lesbian people in the media these days. So why do so many people continue to deny the existence of bisexuals in the press and accuse celebrities who are of lying?

Across the internet it's easy to see people saying the same old things every time someone comes out as bisexual: "There's no such thing just admit you prefer men!" or "He's just doing this to appeal to the pink pound!", but I congratulate Duncan James (those of you as old as me will remember him from the boy band Blue) on having the courage to come out accurately. I don't know if he Googles himself much these days, but I hope he's not put off by the bizarre bi-phobia.

I’ve a few bisexual men, and they use that word because they want to be honest. So if people really want me them come out as "gay" then someone had better contact the OED because it would need the word "homosexual" to mean, "sexually attracted to both the same sex and the opposite sex".

Supposing it did and "heterosexual" meant "attracted to both" too? Then all gay men would simply be straight men who hadn't met the right woman – but surely that sort of argument died out a while ago, didn't it? No one campaigning against same-sex marriage or waving Bible verses at us on the Pride march is doing so because they think homosexuality is imaginary. But bisexuality is still regarded as some sort of unicorn, and bisexual men are still lambasted as supposedly being closeted gay men who haven't given up on their opposite sex attraction. Then again, maybe I just haven't met the right woman…

People don't say, "I am bisexual" because they attracted to men, or to women, but because they not solely attracted to one gender. It's as simple as that and it's not impossible – why should it be? Sure, over time I’m sure their partners have tended to be one gender over another, but I like both liver and lettuce – and no-one's insisting I should admit I'm really a vegetarian if I eat less of the former. Purple isn't really red any more than it's really blue and calling someone a liar, at the moment where we've gotten the courage to be honest and face the prejudice, is both insulting and patronising.

I have met hundreds of bisexuals and when the question of being out as bi on the gay scene comes up, everyone agrees: being denied a voice is bad enough but being denied our existence is appalling.

If you don't like Mozart, it doesn't mean some other people are lying when they say they really do. Some people really like anchovies, I really enjoyed cross-country running at school – some people really do enjoy the things you don't. Some people really are bisexual.

The definition is easy; it's the prejudice that's hard.

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