My first Honey Mango of the year. They are the best champagne of the mango world. The flesh is the colour of Cling peaches and apricots.....the texture on your tongue is soft slippery satin.... the taste is rich gold nectar of the gods... the scent is honeysuckle and frangipani verging on the edge of overripe exotic.
When I worked at Sharwoods' many years ago I knew them as Alphonso mangoes. Their origin is in Mexico but these are from Pakistan. Their season is short lived hence their expense and rarity.
I attempt to bargain with the Indian shopkeeper in the Continental Stores ....if I buy two boxes of the biggest ones will he give me a discount?
He snorts in derision and says yesterday he ordered one hundred boxes - 6 mangoes in a box - and they only sent fifty. And they will all be gone by tonight. I believe him. And willingly pay full price for my golden treasure.
At home this afternoon while I'm peeling my mango, the sky darkens and threatens thunder and rain. I rinse my juice dripping fingers and rush about the house, closing all the doors and windows which have been wide open for days to try and get some relief from the rare blistering heat which has been burning us up for the last week.
The newspaper says that yesterday was the hottest day in this country since June 1976. It was the summer I finished my teacher's training certificate in Oxford.......the summer all the grass died and turned tinder brown....the summer I lost my first true love.
This evening the rain doesn't arrive but the sultry, thundery tension lingers in the air, leaving me headachy and unsettled.....I'd got used to it so quickly, the new drenching heat..... suddenly it's gone again, another breaking wave ....another abandonment.