So you want to read a funny story? Then settle down and read on, and prepare to thank your lucky stars you've never tasted...

Sloe Jam!

(Just in case you don't know, sloes are a berry that look like miniature plums and are very, VERY bitter. You don't eat them on their own, but you can drop some (after they've been frostbitten) into gin to make sloe gin, if you leave them in for months. I'm not advocating alcohol consumption to the under-age, but if you're old enough, try some, sometime. S'nice.)

Now, where was I? The Handsome One and I were into making hedgerow jam at the time, and had made batches of it with blackberries and elderberries and crab-apples before. On this one occasion we decided to try making sloe jam, since there were so many sloes in the hedgerows near Brighton it was a shame to let them go to waste, and surely the sheer amount of sugar you have to put into jam when you make it would sweeten it enough to make it palatable?

WRONG

Omigod reader, the final product was eye-gougingly vile. No, honestly, you don't understand. It was bad enough that when you took a bite of it, you wanted to pull out a handful of your own hair just so you could use it to sponge the stuff up out of your mouth. It made you want to cringe from your tongue to your buttocks, and all the way down to your toes, making your leg hairs curl on the way. It made you weep for the waste of the bread you'd put it on. It just plain made you weep.

By the way: do you know how to make jam? You boil down the fruits, then strain the juice from the seeds, keeping the juice. You add pectin (a firming agent) if you need to, and then pour in insane amounts of sugar. Given how bitter the final jam was, I can't even imagine what the boiled-down, concentrated juice must have tasted like. So when I say, "I've kept the thought at the back of my mind for blackmail ideas", I'm not even kidding. One day some mo-fo who pisses me off enough is going to get a gift of some sloe punch. Just watch and see if they don't.

Anyway, back to the story. Got the picture? It was nasty. And I had about eight jars of this shit, lurking in my kitchen.

I was all prepared to throw the jars away, but then El Yorkshire, The Big Fella, Mickeybobbles Himself, cheerily announced he would eat it. He dubbed it 'Disgusting Jam' and sang a little ditty about eating the stuff on most mornings, but he got through it. Every. Last. Drop. And he did it all with a smile on his face, because in his twisted mind, subjecting himself to oral torture every morning for about six months was better than wasting a kilogram of sugar and two hours' worth of stove-heat.

The End.

P.S.: I bailed and let him eat the whole lot on his own. I love him, but not enough to eat my way through four jars of sloe jam.