At the end of the Summer Term I was once again humbled by the kindness and generosity of the children I teach, and of course their parents. Every year I am amazed and almost embarrassed, when on the last couple of days of term, the children shower me with gifts. Teaching is not only my job, but it’s a passion. Watching the children progress and grow in confidence and knowledge is gift enough but it seems that tradition states an end of term gift for the teacher too.
There are always whisperings between staff and parents…what does Mrs Jones like to drink? What’s Mr Smith’s favourite tipple? It would seem this year a similar enquiry was made about me as on the last day of term a child in my class proudly handed me a bottle bag…
…he proudly whispered, with a smile and a nod. A peek in the bag revealed a bottle of Portobello Road, beautifully wrapped in special Portobello Road presentation paper…I would definitely be opening that at the end of the day! What I hadn’t realised and didn’t realise until a week later was that this was in fact a special edition bottle of Portobello Road gin, thank goodness I didn’t throw the paper out.
On opening the wrapper it was revealed that with this bottle I could claim my own juniper sapling to grow at home! My excitement levels piqued, what was this all about? I contacted Portobello Road Gin to ask where they got the inspiration for their initiative and heard back from a lovely lady called Lauren who explained
“We’ve been thinking about doing it since that big hoohah about a year ago that British juniper was dying out, we were just waiting for the right partner and luckily Waitrose were on board. It was an idea thought up by our talented Brand Director Tom Coates!”
Further investigation revealed that Portobello Road Gin also teamed up with garden expert and author of “How to Grow Stuff” Alice Vincent for top tips on how to grow a flourishing juniper bush from sapling to shrub. Over the summer Waitrose were selling limited edition wrapped bottles of Portobello Road Gin, which came with a complimentary juniper sapling to grow at home. But wait, it gets better…once you have harvested your juniper berries from your juniper plant, you can send them to the distillery where they will be turned into a British juniper distillate, which can then be used to create your very own bespoke gin at one of their Ginstitute gin-making sessions. I for one, love this. The idea that you really are making your own gin from scratch. Obviously one juniper bush isn’t going to create enough berries to make a full bottle of gin, but the idea is that all of these berries combined will create something truly British.
A week after placing my order the sapling arrived and now proudly stands in a large pot outside my front door, broadcasting my love of gin to all who pass. Thankfully juniper can withstand the temperamental British climate and be left to it’s own devices, requiring very little care, attention or pruning. Living up to 170 years this is definitely a gin legacy in the making…think I might need to put such a valuable gin item in my will!
Now I’m sure some of you are already thinking that the summer has long since passed so why on earth am I harping on about this. Well, although the saplings were complimentary when buying a bottle of the limited edition gin, they are also available to purchase from the Portobello Road Gin online shop.
No time to lose my lovelies, the future of British juniper needs you. Happy harvesting!