Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Plums..and Other Things

I had been most pleased with how the plums on the plum tree were progressing.  As the boughs of the tree weighed even lower and turned a purplish hue, they promised an abundance of fruit.  Every few days I would do a pinch test. Ripe enough? Not quite yet, still a little firm. Patience. Just a little while longer.

On Saturday I’d decided that this would be the week I’d harvest and produce.  In true ‘Good Life’ style I planned plum ketchup, and a first for this year, some plum infused brandy.  I fantasised about how wonderful it would be to light my homemade Christmas pudding with some homespun moonshine; I imagined my feelings of domestic triumph as I pictured myself placing it on the table on Christmas day, complete with a sprig of holly from the bush in the garden.

By Tuesday, my visions of domestic makery were shattered. Possibly the Gods of artisan produce had taken umbrage at my being more of a smug Margot than an unassuming Barbara.  Either way, my plum based plans were well and truly scuppered.

Not a single plum was left on my tree. Not one. The plethora of plums from two days previously had completely disappeared.  Scanning the tree’s branches for an answer, I spied a lone lime green parakeet shuffling himself to a more comfortable position on his perch.  I eyed him suspiciously, a pandemonium of parakeets have occupied the plum tree this summer; loud, luminous parasites determined to thwart my plum crop. But somehow, I suspected that on this occasion they were not responsible for my bare tree. To eat each and every plum would have been a remarkable feat, even for them. Typically, they only peck a few mouthfuls from a plum before leaving it to fall to the ground. And in any event, they leave the stones.  What struck me as odd, as I stood looking at my tree, was that not a single plum or stone lay on the ground beneath it.

Later, I googled. Squirrels were cited as a considerable menace to plum trees. I guessed that, unlike the parakeets, they could eat the stones too. Was a plum stone akin to a nut in a Squirrel's dietary repertoire, I wondered.  I had seen two squirrels in the garden a few days previously. Surely, one or two of those small, grey rodents could not be responsible for taking each and every single plum?

Finally, my mind turned to our new neighbour, a cross between one of the Hairy Bikers and Gandulf - with beard and staff to match, (I'm not kidding about the staff). Perhaps he had propped a ladder up against my fence and picked my plums in the dead of night?

I resigned myself to the fact, I’d probably never know...

Alas, my plums were not my only asset that disappeared last week....

On a trip out in the car on Wednesday, a small voice from the back asked;

“Mummy, where’s my TV?”

I turned around to check the headrest of the passenger seat that normally has the screen of Pip’s in car DVD player strapped to it.  Gone.

“Have you moved it?” I asked Husband.
“No. Have you?”

A quick search of the car revealed that it had not simply fallen into the foot well. It was simply - not there.

“Maybe it’s Mr. A playing a joke.” I said.  After Pip’s godfather (Mr. A), had visited at the weekend, I had found a garden parasol in my bath and some flip flops precariously balanced inside the rim of the toilet. (I know, some people never grow up.)  A quick phone call revealed he was not the culprit.

As the day continued, the only conclusion that I could reach was that someone (ie, Mummy) had left the car unlocked.  Thereby perfectly facilitating the easy removal of Pip’s in car entertainment unit.

Cost of lost plums - nothing. 
Cost of lost DVD player - £69. 

Note to pregnant self. Must make sure I LOCK the car.  Still flummoxed about the plums though.

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  1. Oh no! Your plums! Your sacred ketch-up plums! You don't think there's a connection between the missing fruit and the DVD player do you? Did the DVD player go missing with the car parked outside your home? I'm guessing you're feeling rather peeved, especially about the plums! Naughty parakeets! Naughty Gandulf! I'm with the French legal system on this one - guilty until proven innocent!

  2. I know..gutted about the plums!

    Yes, DVD player was swiped from the car outside. Opportunism is obviously alive and kicking in W. London! Ah well, at least they left my stash of jelly babies...

  3. Extremely well-written and entertaining post. Enjoyed reading but very disappointed about the disappearance of plums.....and DVD player :(

    1. Thank you. I know very disappointing but I guess on the DVD front I did leave the car unlocked!

  4. maybe you have a thief who fancied a bit of telly whilst eating enough plums to keep him on the lav for a week or so? sound plausible?? lol

    1. Ha! Well a week on the toilet would be just reward for taking my plums!

  5. MP, I once left the car keys in the car outside my house from Thursday to Tuesday, we went away in DH's car, and I wasn't even pregnant at the time! I was in the "afterglow" of having had a baby so that was my excuse :) My first childs car seat was stolen once but they very kindly smashed the window to get it! Sorry to her about the plums, we had no apples or cherries this year due to the weather blowing off the blossoms, first year ever :(

    1. I'm amazed that your car didn't get stolen! I certainly don't think mine would still have been there if I'd left the keys in it for 2 days!

      We had 2 apples. I've bought a couple of extra cookers to supplement them and we will have a one off crumble. (Now just need the weather to cool down so it's not too hot to eat it.)

  6. How odd! Definitely sounds like a bit of scrumping. What a shame, sounds like it would have been a good haul, too.

  7. My plums have disappeared too - same way as described - only 1 left on the 10ft high tree which was fairly bulging with them last week. Only 1 sitting in the grass below and no stones anywhere. Guessing 300 or so have gone over a weekend. I was so surprised I googled for an explanation and found this trail. We don't have parakeets - yes squirrels but not an army of them. Are Tesco's sending out midnight raiders?

    1. So, it isn't just me then? Good to know - I only saw two squirrels in my garden, but judging by how quickly they can devour the nuts in my birdfeeder I don't think there needs to be an army of them to devour a tree full of plums.

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