Jam Making

Yesterday, being true to my word, I made Black Doris Plum jam.
I doubled the batch and was granted seventeen jars for my effort.
I didn’t have the time to halve them so whole plums were used; scooping out the stones during the cooking process.
I am reminded of my first attempt at jam making when I was twenty years of age; a late starter.

After a day picking blackberries, I followed the recipe meticulously and was so proud of my effort even though I just couldn’t get the dash stuff to set so I boiled it a wee bit longer and then a wee bit longer after that.
Eventually I gave up in disgust and filled my jars aware that the jam would probably be a bit runny but by then I didn’t really care!
Runny jam I could take a liking too I thought.
I fell into bed a short time later so proud of the fact that I was now a ‘Jam Maker.’
The next morning I excitedly raced out to the kitchen in my PJ’s as I wanted to taste my jam.
The cellophane was pulled back and excitedly I thrust my bread and butter knife into the jar; my toast had popped and was just as excited as I; but alas my knife hit an obstacle.
I assumed it was errant stone that had elusively evaded my eye but sadly I was wrong….my jam had set like concrete!
I couldn’t even break a splinter off for a wee taste…
Oh blast, I thought to myself whilst I threw the jars into my rubbish bin, carefully ensuring they were placed under other rubbish so that my disaster was just my secret and my secret alone!

A friend on a neighbouring farm was an expert jam maker and panic did set  in for a brief moment at the thought of her arriving and seeing my ‘concrete’  but then I remembered; ’Bruce’ my trusty dog would  bark if she arrived expectantly which she often did so my anxiety was for nothing.

My confidence being shattered, it was years before I attempted the jam making process again and I must report the second time was a success.

But never again have I made Blackberry jam.

Sandra Hobbs plum Jam Sandra's Take on Life


Mr Key told TVNZ’s Breakfast that he acknowledged New Zealand had a cyber bullying problem and there was legislation going through Parliament targeting it.

“I don’t actually myself think New Zealand is any worse than any other country – I’d be absolutely amazed if it was.”

But it would be very difficult to eradicate social network attacks completely, Mr Key said.

As my family and I have been victims of cyber bullying/harassment I am pleased that this problem is receiving publicity.

There are many ways ordinary folk can help put a stop to cyber bullying.
No 1. Don’t hit the  ‘like button’.
No 2. Don’t add fuel to fire by commenting as what you are ‘liking’ and ‘commenting about’, may be just be a personal attack full of lies  on some poor soul or souls, therefore empowering the bully/bullies.


I have been asked to share the following story on my blog so here goes.

Last night we said farewell to a visitor to our home; a lovely young man: who had stayed with us for a week whilst he recuperated from the devastating effects of cyber bullying/harassment.

A Bully waged a Facebook Hate Campaign on him, writing and spreading blatant lies and shared this vile dribble with his hundreds of ‘Facebook Friends.’

Some of these ‘friends’ were long standing school friends of this young man.

His employer was shown the lies by a third party and he too believed them, making this young man’s job so difficult he was forced to resign.

Even though there wasn’t an ounce of truth in these allegations, people, who should have known better, pressed the ‘like’ button and made appalling ‘comments’ on the Bully’s Facebook page agreeing with him or adding their own personal spin on the lies!

This young man had no one to talk too as his small band of friends distanced themselves from him and he didn’t want to worry his family.

He was totally isolated thanks to the Bully which is exactly what he wanted!!

I’m pleased to say he has a job many miles away from his home to go where he will be happy as I know his employer well.

When his family did find out about the Bullying they gave me a ring and then drove through the night to deliver him to us.  This young man needed many miles between the Bully and his ex friends and a place to collect his thoughts.

It will be a very long time before he completely gets over the devastation of being betrayed by his friends and his Employer.
Many now have realized they were set up which is cold comfort to this young man.
Throughout this, the hardest part for me to deal with is the fact that the lies were so obvious, very similar to what we are going through.

As in our case the Bully had something he wanted hidden so tried to destroy this young man’s credibility so he wouldn’t be believed!
How sad and pathetic is that?
It could be your son, daughter, mother, sister, brother or father next!
Please don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.
Stop and ask yourself; what is this person’s agenda?
Do I really want  to press ‘like’ or ‘comment’.
If it sounds like a lie, maybe it is one.
Do I want to be involved in something so cruel?
Be brave.  Tell the person who is being defamed what is being said as they may be totally in the dark.
We were!

Stand Up Stop Bullying Speak Out!!

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