Grapes and Figs
I’ve been writing about Portuguese wines, but I have been watching my own small selection of vines and noticing that they are very advanced this year. In fact I couldn’t resist picking a small bunch earlier this week. The grapes were fully formed, plump and tasty, and perfectly ripe. For the first days of august that is unusual.
What this probably means is that this year’s harvest should be good, producing some seriously fruity wines
I also noticed, on my way down to the gazebo, that some of the figs looked a gloriously purple colour, and picked one out of curiosity. That too was perfectly ripe, and I ended up filling a bowl with ripe figs. Once again, very early. It is usually at the least the middle to end of august before I start picking the fruit.
Are we experiencing another precession of the seasons?
As a kid I noticed that the leaves were hanging on much longer. When I was at school it was generally the case in Southern England that the fall started during october, and generally the last leaves were blown away during the first week of November. However, a decade or so later things moved back a month. Now things are getting earlier rather than later.
The trouble with seasons is that over the course of two or three weeks you get a glut of one thing and you need to deal quickly with that glut or lose most of it. The figs get halved and placed in trays in the sun to dry, otherwise they simply wont keep.
The weather is currently nowhere near the temperatures given out by the BBC. Two and three summers ago we did have some disgustingly hot days, but last year and this year were nowhere near as bad. We have the opposite kind of figures given out here. According to the IBM weather service the temperatures are in the high twenties, but in reality they are in the low to mid thirties. In many respects it will be a relief to get into mid september, when the temperatures are delightful until the end of october when autumn temperatures take over. But we dont need fires until mid or late november.
At least the constant hot sun means there is little chance of the dreaded flu virus getting much of a foothold. Apparently a couple of minutes in the sun and the virus gives up the ghost.