Are not wild blackberry bushes the most giving of all fruits. Spend an hour picking and one often comes away with a huge bounty, leave them a day or two and the next lot of fruits ripen and one can repeat the process. The only downside is their huge thorns and the attack dogs on the allotment.
Attack dogs on the allotment, I hear you say, well yes, but in human form. I’ve been on this allotment for ten years before I went to London and then a gap of five years to return in March this year. I wander around the allotments with never a word of a challenge as to whether I should be there, but should I pick up a wicker basket and approach the blackberry bushes that are dripping in fruit, taking life and limb in hand because of the torturous nature of the ditch and the very real risk of stretching a bit too far and slipping into the ditch with a bunch of stinging nettles, I am almost immediately accosted as to which track I’m on, what number, a comment about never seeing me before and often a rude comment about how much fruit I have, with the underlying current that they are not for me. Now don’t get me wrong dear reader, I can certainly look after myself and normally make comment, well yes, but it’s a Sunday afternoon and the bushes are dripping with fruit and I’m not going to leave them to rot on the bushes.
But really is this all really necessary. If I was sniffing around sheds, looking to see what was around to sell down the pub I could understand it, but I’m a fat, bald, fifty something woman picking a bit of wild fruit. In the very real days of food poverty, where there is a food bank in nearly every town and ours was crying out for extra donations recently, would you not look at a persons activities with a keener eye before one attacks to see if they should be there. I know I would.
As children our jaunts in the countryside at this time of the year made a very great difference to our diet, blackberry along with apples that somehow my mother was always given by the bushel made a very real difference to our winter diet. Apple and blackberry pies along with crumbles and custard appeared at least three times a week until well into February, keeping us five children supplied with full tummies and abundant vitamin C. My mother was an excellent pie maker and would spend Sunday afternoons baking making six big pies for the coming week, along with a cake and jam tarts or mince pies. This skill alone probably contributes to the fact as to why my brothers are all over six foot, we all grew up big and strong. But not everyone is so lucky, maybe this is something to talk about to the next attack dog, I can feel an idea beginning to germinate.
In other news, I tried our apples and joyous news, they are so sweet and without a grub in sight! Autumn is well and truly on its way.