Goosberry Chutney plus childhood memories.


  • 1.5 kgs of gooseberries
  • 500 g sugar
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 pint vinegar
  • half a pint water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of ground ginger
  • half a tsp of cayenne pepper.


  • Top and tail the gooseberries before chopping roughly.
  • Next finely chop the onions before placing them in a pan with the berries and cook until softened
  • Now you add remaining ingredients, then simmer until the chutney becomes thick, making sure to stir occasionally.
  • Bottle the chutney while still hot and cover immediately.

I’ll always remember one particular chutney making day , I wasn’t as happy as I usually was at mamgu’s because that afternoon we had to attend a ‘Gymanfa’.

I’m not too sure what the Translation for this is. However it was an annual Sunday Service where members of the small chapels in the area would meet up in one of the larger chapels.

These services would last twice as long as the usual Sunday ones.

To not go would be a big sin Mamgu always said and then she would have a smile on her face.

I had to go up to the front and recite a couple of verses..

I was nervous inside, my tummy wobbled like a jelly but no-one would have known because I did not show my feeling !!!

Oh no those were well under lock and key.

What I hated the most was that silly pink dress that i had to wear and to make matters even worse Mamgu used to fasten this big pink bow onto my hair as well. UUUggghhhh !!!!!!!

Well I decided to myself that this day I was not going to wear it !!!!

THAT time came when I had to change and mamgu sent me upstairs to wash and change.

I went up quietly , had a wash, then went into my cupboard and pulled out a clean pair of dungarees and my favourite red and white jumper.

Down I went into the front room where Mamgu was doing her hair and she took one look at me before saying in a very stern voice!!!

“Get back upstairs and put your Sunday dress on!!”

Usually that tone would have sent me scurrying, but this time I wasn’t having any of it.

“No no no!!!” I stamped my feet and had the biggest tantrum ever !!!!!

(To this day I’ll never know where I got the bravery or foolishness to defy her from!!)

She looked at me long and hard and turned her back to carry on doing her hair before saying;

“Go on then you win!!” “You can go in your every day clothes if that’s what you want!!”

What , was I hearing right, did Mamgu say that I could go dressed like this.

“What are you doing girl??” “Catching flies??”

She went back upstairs to get her hat.

I still stood there more in amazement I think than happiness because I didn’t have to put that silly dress on.

I could hear Mamgu’s footsteps coming down the stairs and as she entered the front room …………………What on earth, she had my witches hat on her head!!!

Oh no that’s why Mamgu had given in so easily.!!

“What are you looking at??” she asked me.

“You’re going in what you want to wear , so I am going to go in what I want to!”

“Quite suits me doesn’t it ??” she asks as she adjusted it in the mirror.

“I found my voice eventually, “Mamgu you can’t go with that hat on, it’s a witch’s hat!!”

“I know that !” she replied “You are going in something that no-one else will be wearing , therefore so am I !!!”

The penny dropped then; this is why she had given in so easily. I knew when I was beaten, so shrugging my shoulders I gave in.

“If I put THAT dress on Mamgu will you put another hat on??”

“Sounds good to me !” was the reply.

So away we went, me looking like someone’s silly doll and Mamgu in a hat that looked like Robin Hood’s but I didn’t mind that, in fact I quite liked it.

Most importantly it wasn’t that stupid witches hat.

When I look back on that memory I know that there would have been no point me calling her bluff because she probably would have worn that witches hat to the Gymanfa!!

She really was a star, my Mamgu!!

My Mamgu was very clever, there was no doubt about that!!!

The Chapel where our ‘Gymanfa’ would be held would have looked a litttle like this one. Much bigger than the small local oneSource:

The day passed by and it was soon time to go home and change out of THAT dress once more !!! What a relief!!!

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  • marqjonz on Apr 27, 2012

    I haven’t heard the word gymanfa since I was a child. In the US, Gymanfa Ganu is a singing festival, the National. The last Welsh speaker in my family passed away in the 80s, so I have no one to ask. Google Translate says gymanfa means assembly in English. I think the dictionary form (without soft mutation) is cymanfa.

  • Eiddwen on Apr 30, 2012

    Thank you so much for this comment marqonz;you are correct a Gymanfa or Cymanfa Ganu is indeed a festival but Gymanfa Ganu does not consist of just singing!!Oh no reciting and Organ recitals also enjoyed.
    We also grew up calling the day ‘Gymanfa Ganu’ so your translation is just like mine.
    I now look forward to many more from you.
    Have a great day.

  • Derdriu on Oct 19, 2012

    Eddy, Your Mamgu was not only a very good cook but also a very clever person! It’s hilarious to think that she’d have had no problem wearing the witches’ hat just to prove a point.
    Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu
    P.S. What’s not to like about a pink dress and bow?

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