Thursday, March 26, 2020

I've already MADE lemonade! By Catriona

This week's question is "What changes in publishing in the last fifteen years have had the biggest impact on your writing career?"

And I. Just. Can't.

I'm sorry. It's a good question and I'm sure lots of people are interested in the answer. I just can't.

Ten days into curve-flattening isolation, if I let myself think back over the landscape of either publishing, or my career, or - God knows - both at once, I'll cry.

So in the pursuit of what we have nobly re-cast as self-care - the same thing that used to be called flaking out - I'm going to talk about lemons instead. The rest of this blog is brought to you by the philosophy "What's life if we can't still rant about basically nothing?"

Because the other day, I posted this pic on Facebook

in a bit of a panic about how to use up the lemons I was currently harvesting from the two lemon trees (kinda; see below) in my garden. It's not normally a problem because I can give them ot friends and leave them at the road end for strangers. This year I'm not seeing friends and I don't want to encourage carloads of people to stop and cough on fruit.

After I posted the pic, two things happened. A friend, a dear friend, a real-life friend, mentioned lemon curd. Also a sister, a real sister, my sister, mentioned marmalade. Now, the Paddington reference made me smile but at the same time my eyes rolled, my teeth gnashed and my fists clenched.

My recipe for lemon curd uses only eight lemons and twelve - twelve - eggs. Also, if I bought enough sugar to make marmalade from my lemon harvest, I'd - quite properly - be set upon for hoarding by the other shoppers. It was like being told about zucchini bread in July, when courgettes you could cross the Atlantic in  are flumping up the path toward the house in the dead of night.

To be fair, I had hidden the true extent of the problem. As well as that bowl in the kitchen there was also a wheelbarrow outside, too heavy to lug up the step:

And here's the tree all these lemons came from, after I picked them:

Plus the other lemon tree I haven't got to yet (kinda; see below).

Why didn't I post all these pics? Because I thought someone might ask "Why'dya plant too many citrus trees?" And than I'd lose my mind.

Because I didn't. If I had planted four citrus trees on the terrace in my garden I would now have a navel, a Seville, a tangerine and a proper yellow lemon tree instead of what I've got which is a navel, a Meyer lemon tree, whose fruit is distinguished by being "so sweet" - that's a direct quote from a pal - when everyone knows the raison d'etre of a lemon is to be SOUR. Sorry. Okay, so a navel, a Meyer lemon, a Meyer lemon/tangerine splice for God's sake, and - I kid you not - a pomelo.

A what, you ask.


I think whoever built this house put in the trees before they sold it to the first owner and they were using up whatever stock they'd bought from the wholesale tree nursery. There's no other explanation. Pomelo! Jesus wept. Google "pomelo". You find this:

Can you eat a pomelo?
What does a pomelo taste like?
What is the benefit of pomelo?

Now Google "orange". You find:

"Is it okay to eat an orange every day?"

Something no one ever asked about a pomelo in the history of the world.


Take care, everyone.



Karen in Ohio said...

And you aren't even supposed to compost citrus! What a tragedy.

Susan C Shea said...

"if I let myself think back over the landscape of either publishing, or my career, or - God knows - both at once, I'll cry." That stopped me for a moment. You're one of the most successful and admired authors I know. I agree about the lemons. My small bush-like potted Meyer has produced so many that the ones I have picked and put into a large ceramic dish are beginning to shrivel from neglect. Suggestion: get rid of two citrus and put in something that won't make you feel guilty!