I knew it would not be long before I had to make some more lime marmalade. I had finished my last pot a few weeks ago. There were some lovely bright green firm limes unwaxed in Waitrose, so I popped a whole pile into my basket. The next problem was the sugar, of course for me, the best and only sugar for preserves is cane sugar, and until recently I could get hold of Tate & Lyle even if I had to go to Tesco. However, the local store and the large one by the University no longer carry this brand as their standard white. It seems to be the trend in supermarkets recently to change their standard white granulated sugar to be the beet sugar grown in the UK. However it just does not pass muster for jams or jellies. Of course you can buy the premium jam sugars which cost a lot more than standard granulated.
I noticed Whitworths white sugar creeping into local shops, but no explicit source of the sugar on the packet. A few phone calls resulted in some interesting information. Whitworths sugar is no longer owned by Whitworths, but is now owned by The Real Good Food Company. So I called them to ask about their sugar. I was told that it comes from various sources, could be beet could be cane, maybe a mixture...I feel this was an answer just to fob off a casual enquiry.
When I explained why I was asking and why it mattered both to jam makers and bee keepers, they seemed not to realise the problem. I suggested that at least they mark the bags with the type of sugar.
After that little session, I was really pleased to have my new pencils delivered by the postman. When I opened them, and they were beautifully packed, there was a little note with the name of the packer. I just felt I had to phone Newcastle Arts Centre up and thank them for the quick delivery and excellent packaging. Jon said I had made his day!
Of course, I am just starting with the drawing/painting/mark making hobby. My sister Lizzie has been really good at art for a long time, and she recently gave me a little encouragement after I heard that my local lessons have been temporarily put on hold. So today, I got out my new pencils and sketched the pink carnations Izzi and Veronica had brought last week. I shall have to work on this one....