Every summer I swear up and down to my loved ones that I will quit. But at some point every year they come home to find me covered in jam spatter and knee-deep in sterilised glass.
I only embarked on a jam habit in the first place to avoid wasting fruit in the backyard. As any sufficiently lapsed Lutheran will tell you: wasting food is nearly as repugnant as speaking earnestly.
I nearly made good on my promise this year. A move from the suburbs to a gardenless urban flat seemed like the cure.
But an innocent bystander foiled my plan to quit by introducing me to a damson plum tree in a park around the corner.
I kept an eye on the tree. The damsons were getting perilously ripe. I was beginning to speak earnestly. Something had to be done.
And so it happened again: August found me hovering contentedly over a molten vat of damson jam that smelled and looked like heaven.
When I confess my jamming habit to others they generally ask me if I am their great-grandmother or if I live in 1954. Jam just ain't cool.
But I reckon a jamming habit is actually a little transgressive - stop laughing and walk with me for a minute.
Jam begins with a load of wholesome fruit that you could take home to your mother. But then you drown the fruit in a quantity of sugar so vast it can be seen from space. Truly, it is an amount of sugar is so profound that the jamming pan instantly develops type 2 diabetes on contact.
Jam is the art of consuming unholy amounts of sugar. The fruit is merely a Trojan horse for the sugar. Watching sausages get made may not put you off eating sausage, but watching jam get made should put you off eating anything for the rest of your life.
One of the funnier things about becoming a mother is that everyone suddenly thinks you are some kind of dribbling moron with pencils stuck in your nostrils going 'wibble'. Or at least my research indicates this to be true, as evidenced by the bombardment of uninvited parenting advice I've received over the past five years.
Food is a popular genre for uninvited advice. I've had everyone from the midwife to the bus driver tell me how to eat and what to feed my children. So I fight back by sticking pencils in my nostrils, wibbling loudly, and eating what I want. Most of the time what I want is jam. So there. Wibble.
I do understand that most transgressive behaviour is more exciting than this. But I am very addicted to sugar and rather short on ideas.
That said, making jam is a total pain in the neck and a complete mess. Much as I love it, I really hate it too.
Maybe next year will be my lucky year. Maybe next year I'll quit for good. So if you happen to know of an excellent fruit tree going to waste, please do don't invoke my inner Lutheran by telling me about it.