I'm lucky to have good friends.  The sort of friends who always think of me when the sloes are there for the picking.  Who are clever enough to find them even when others fail and who, this year, did the whole thing twice, simply because having gathered me a couple of bagsfull, they found better, riper, more juicy berries a week or two later.

So today was sloe gin day.

Having done my reputation as a pillar of the community no good whatsoever by buying gin in quantity from Asda this morning, we've spent the afternoon decanting last year's jewel-like liquid into bottles and putting together the 2009 vintage.

This bluey-glass bottle looked so pretty with the pastel pink coming from the sloes as they began to steep in the sugared gin.  But this was just the overflow, for I'd already filled a demijohn.

I think it's going to be a good year.

Look, the ruby red juices are already starting to flow.

As well as the sloe gin, I also prepared some courgettes and onions for a  preserve shared by our friend Tonie, in Ticino.  We enjoyed her Zucchetti so very much, we brought home a jar of them and the recipe too.

Plus and as well, there's bread rising for today's loaf.  We're trying a rye blend today.

All of which goes some way to explain why the draining board looks a little like this now.

Having a bit of a crisis

Late Summer Sunday