The Elder Things in Life – or Things That go Bump in the Garage

Elder son and I were waiting for a bus today (I know, buses again, it’s getting dull now – think how bored I am of them!) and we realized we were sat beneath a blooming Elder tree.

“Is that Elder”, says I

“It is”, says he

“Do you remember son”, says I.

“Oh yes”, says he.

And we grinned – a lot.

The Story

Once upon a long time ago, when in one of the first classes at his school, son and his friends were taught to make Elder-flower cordial by picking the flowers, adding sugar, putting in some water and then straining it and drinking it – straightaway. He brought some home from school for me to try and it was, putting it politely and not being overly harsh, absolutely vile.

Being a supportive mum, one boring sunny day, we had another go – because it was fun to do and got his hands a bit grubby. We also tried to learn something through asking questions like – Why is it called an Elder tree? Is there a Younger Tree? Is it called an Elder tree because it’s bark looks like wrinkled old skin? Oh yes, we know how to have fun in our family…

Carefully we collected flowers from trees on the footpaths nearby, we squashed them in a bucket, watered them, sugared them, stirred them and then got bored so went indoors to have dinner.

A couple of days later, as small people are want to do, he remembered our efforts and asked to bottle his ‘brew’. I understood this need because as a kid I had spent hours every year with my friend squashing elderberries into a pulp, adding water and putting them into old glass milk bottles – for mum to throw out again later, cursing as she had lost the ten pence refund she would have been able to get from the bottle if it hadn’t been filled with bright red / purple squelch.

Sorry, digressing again…

Not having any glass bottles, son and I used the next best thing – we put his bucket of mush into several old plastic squash and juice bottles, screwed on the lids, stacked them in the garage and walked away.

Never to return.

Happy to have completed an educational project.

A couple of weeks later…

when playing in the garden, we heard a loud explosion coming from the garage, swiftly followed by another. I don’t think I need to explain the cause, or even describe the devastation – except for the words sticky, sweet and bye-bye boxes of carefully stored books!

So, today, when we saw the Elder-flowers we grinned, like the two mischievous monkeys that we are – joined together in our secret of destruction.

Now, if I had watched the video that I have linked into below, perhaps I would have understood that instead of making a child’s harmless cordial we had in fact been making champagne.

So, if you want a simple recipe to make a refreshing drink that will make your evening go with a Bang! then this is worth a watch.

I’m now off to collect some more Elder-flowers – now that I know what I’m doing.

Bye for now


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