The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Getting in a Jam

Most mornings take myself off for a walk. It’s surprising how many different routes I’ve got which start from the front door, but, when walking every day, there is still a lot of repetition, hence they don’t usually get mentioned on these pages.

Yesterday, however, was mildly noteworthy, when I took it into my mind to follow a ‘Permissive Path’ waymark which, having passed it far more than several-dozen times over the years, I have never before investigated.

It turned out to be a lovely! An apparently little used route, it took me variously through old woodland, newer National Forest patches of woodland, and across lovely meadows.

The point of this post isn’t really about that path, but the fact that on my way along it I came across quite a few wild roses, dropping their petals. I have long fancied making some rose petal jelly, so I resolved to return with suitable collecting materials.

On I continued through my circuit and, after some sheep and some tall-grass-wading, into another bit of National Forest woodland I headed. I often pass through this particular plantation these days, having only discovered its paths back in January. (Incredibly, I lived directly opposite that bit of wood for 6 years, until mid-2012, without knowing that there was a network of paths through it*!)

Yesterday it became apparent that I’ve stopped paying enough attention to my surroundings on these walks, as it wasn’t until I had wild roses on my mind that I noticed that there are also plenty in this area too – and far closer to home.

So, at 6.30 this morning, off I set, armed with plastic tubs. Through an overgrown field I waded to get there and with the discomfort of clothing sopping to the waist (a result of the early hour and the dew in the overgrown field), I set about harvesting rose petals. It’s not a quick process, and I visited every single bush I could see so as not to take too many from any one plant.


I duly boiled them up in a jam-making sort of way:


The result of my efforts? Of an hour spent picking petals and the time spent in the jam-making itself? One paltry jar!


Worse, early indications suggest that it tastes of sugar syrup without the gorgeous wild-rose aroma I was hoping to capture. I actually a little concerned that it might set to the consistency of toffee, but I won’t know until it’s fully cold.

What a disappointment! On the more positive side, at least I’ve satisfied my curiosity as to rose petal jelly. I shall now look forward to the blackberry, elderberry and crab apple harvest. I’ve found lots more sources of both the former and latter over the last few months.


One of last year’s (far more pleasing) batches of apple, elderberry and blackberry jam :-)


(*Now there’s a subject for a separate post.)


  1. Always interesting to explore the unexplored on your own doorstep! I love the idea of food for free and blackberrying is one of the highlights of my year. I keep meaning to do something with wild garlic as there's always tons round here. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the matter, hope you find them interesting!

    1. Wild garlic is something I've not noticed around here, but perhaps because I'm generally away walking elsewhere in the height of the wild garlic season. Or, perhaps, because there just isn't any on any of my routes.