At lunch today, I had an elderflower flavoured soda. I was a little bit excited when I found it as elderflower was quite an exotic taste while I was growing up. Twice, that I can remember, Mum made elderflower cordial. The first time was in England and I can't really remember any details except helping Mum to carry black bin liners full of elderflowers through our house in Clapham. The second time happened while we were living in Wellington and so must have occurred at some point between 1984 and 1992. I recall sitting in our car at dusk terrified the police were going to leap out while Mum was outside committing mass deforestation on a growth of elderflower plants that she had somehow found at the end of an industrial park in Lower Hutt. In my mind the entire boot of our car was filled with the flowers and when we left the bushes looked as if someone with a grudge had taken to the plants with a portable combine harvester.
According to my childhood recollections, when we got home there wasn't a vessel in the house that wasn't filled with cuttings infusing their elderflowery goodness into the water. I remember bathtubs, dustbins and paddling pools all filled with Mum's concoction like she was some kind of non-alcoholic moonshiner. In actual fact, it's more likely that there was no more than the laundry sink involved but the making of this elderflower juice has grown to such an exciting event that I would swear that once bottled, there wasn’t a shelf in our fridge that wasn’t filled with elderflower juice and the freezer was similarly packed.
NB - the childhood memories included in this post may not hold any grounds in the actual events