CRASH! Followed by more clattering.
I was instantly awake. That noise was most certainly in the house. In fact it sounded like it was in the kitchen. I sprung out of bed and raced out to the kitchen.
No, it wasn’t an intruder.
From beneath the pantry door was oozing a sticky, gingery smelling foaming liquid. The penny dropped, it was my homemade brew of ginger beer. A bottle had exploded, setting off a chain reaction breaking several more bottles on the shelf, and knocking them 0nto the floor. What a mess! Broken glass and sticky liquid.
I had made a batch of old fashioned ginger beer, starting with a “plant”. The plant consisted of water, lemon juice, ginger and sugar, kept in a covered jar and fed daily with sugar and ginger, till the end of a week. By this time it was getting bubbly. To this was added water, more sugar and lemon juice, strained and bottled. After about a week bubbles could be seen rising up the bottle and the brew was ready to drink. Quite innocent ingredients but they became explosive!
I remember Mum and my grandmother making this drink, which was very refreshing served cold. I'd made this drink a few times with success. Back then there were special ginger beer bottles with a spring top and rubber stopper, or Marchants soft drink bottles of heavy glass with a plastic and rubber stopper were excellent. However, with continual brewing the liquid got stronger and the beer more volatile. One opened them very cautiously, careful not to shake the bottle, or a stream of beer could hit the ceiling or walls or windows. Opening them outside was the best option.
In the post-war years it was a simple pleasure we enjoyed, Soft drink was expensive, “soda stream” hadn't been invented, and our other alternative was home-made cordial from lemons and oranges.
Yes, I must make some this summer. This memory has inspired me.