Monday 26 August 2013

Summer Ritual

Our beautiful long summer stretches on. There's been a little overnight rain but mostly days have moved gently on, bathing us in sunshine, calm days and peaceful nights. It's a Bank Holiday in England today, our last until Christmas, and it's been what I can only describe as a belter!
We headed into the hills to sit with an ice cream and watch the dragonflies and housemartins dive across a beautiful pond. It was too hot to do anything else and a hot Bank Holiday is such a rare thing that it just must be savoured and every minute soaked up.
Yesterday was what we around these parts call "proper puthery". Overcast but warm as anything with the air full of thrips and gnats. And it was a day that called for blackberrying.

I've got this mad urge on me to get ready for winter during these last few weeks of balmy weather. We're having fences fixed, a new kitchen fitted (yippee!) and every cupboard in the house has been turned out. Our recycling pile is so high we're car booting to sell soon - a real novelty for us to be honest.
So after a morning turfing out broken toys and jigsaws with bits missing, my boys and me strolled over the fields to see what berry treasure we could find.
Blimey its a bountiful year for blackberries. In the pony field we walk through past the local pub, there are mounds and mounds of them, I've never seen anything like it. We were good and only took those we could reach from the path. The blackbirds, thrushes, field mice and insects must be having a banquet.
We walked on, along the tree line a field back from the canal and watched the new tank engine pull the train down the valley. This maize field is a new feature, it's too hilly for many crops around here so it was quite exciting for us to see this huge crop rolling across the fields. Pheasants and long tailed tits ran ahead of us all along the footpath.  (If any of you know Alton Towers, it's a couple of miles over that ridge on the horizon.)
Down on the canal side just typically all the best berries seemed to be on the far side of the hedge but isn't that always the way? My two helpers were so careful and luckily we don't get too badly scratched or nettled and we left lots for the wildlife too. There are tons yet to ripen as well.
As we reached the road again there was a jazz band entertaining the crowd at the pub and we treated ourselves to a well deserved ice lolly from the station café and listened a while.
It was the most perfect afternoon. My boys and me and a couple of hours of wandering and aimless chatter. Whenever I see a blackberry I will think of our special afternoon and


sweetbriardreams said...

I am the same, getting ready for the change in season while the weather lasts to give the house a thorough wash and brush up. Already the autumn colours are making their way into my house with new fabrics on cushions. The blackberries are unbelievable this year. In fact we are going to collect some for jam and a great apple and blackberry crumble in the next few days and I reckon we won't make a scratch on the just one bush. Have a great week. Chel xx

Frances said...

Thank you so much for sharing a helping of this special blackberry gathering day with us. Your boys are bound to carry the memories for a long, long time. Bet that they will gather more blackberries in future.

Beautiful photographs! xo

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph, Oh I do envy your beautiful part of the world! Those berries looked so delicious I felt I could taste them. I could hear your excitement for the new kitchen, please post some photos if you can. Enjoy the rest of your week, the weather here in Sydney is starting to feel warmer so I'm looking forward to Spring. Love Simone xx

Unknown said...

I have been picking blackberries for a few weeks now and there is still loads on the bushes opposite my house. My freezer is rammed. Yum! X

Donna said...

Oh what a lovely afternoon, the perfect way to spend a Bank Holiday :)
Have a lovely week. Donna x

Sue said...

AAhhh Steph, what a smashing post, my kind of read too, with photo's to match, BLISS,Love the sweet peas too

Hope you're all well
Best Wishes
Sue xxx

LandGirl1980 said...

You have reminded me to raid my friends garden for bobbily fruits for crumbles!

Anonymous said...

Do you know, I hadn't even thought about it being blackberrying time, so thanks for the prompt. And have you found your sweet peas have suddenly burst into fresh life? I thought mine had done, but suddenly one wigwam is providing me with two sweet posies a day. Love your photos.

SandyshoesCornwall said...

Lovely to see new posts - please give us more! Enjoy your blackberry cooking x

louise said...

Your delightful post has reminded me to go over the fields and pick blackberries - good to know it's a good crop this year!

Unknown said...

So glad to see a new post from you! And such beautiful photos! You and your boys have certainly made some marvelous memories together. Now, what did you make from all of those berries??

Pipany said...

Gorgeous pics Steph. You really do live in a very pretty spot. I too am prepping for the colder isn't it? xx

Ali said...

What a lovely post - and it is turning into the best late summer I can remember. Yesterday, my friend described them as 'soft days' - I know what she means.

Nata per sognare said...

you can not eat wild blackberries ... they are the food of the elves.
Wonderful images.

purple-roses-country-cottage said...

Dear Steph,
what a great afternoon and so wonderful pictures. Some days ago my kids and me went to a field for picking blackberries. It was a great fun. Have a nice weekend. Nicole xxx

Streetcomber said...

It's going to be a wonderful berrying year. Lovely photos.