Monday, 23 August 2010

Blackberry Picking

This weekend Daniel and i went Blackberry picking. Last year, when the blackberries had become ripe we took a long walk along a disused railway stretching from one area of London to another. I'd thought that we'd go back there but a few weeks ago whilst cycling around our local green area, we noticed long stretches of blackberries which would soon be juicy and ready for picking.
I wore my jeans and a long sleeved jumper to protect myself from nettles and brambles. A mixing bowl, and a measuring jug were our containers of choice and I popped them in my bycicle basket. We cycled along a few streets then over the canal bridge, along the canal and into the fields. It's a strange green space that we live next to. In what was once a big industrial area, next to the building site of the Olympics. There's big old factories and electric pilons and a railway running through it but it's a nature reserve with many birds and insects, fruit bushes and trees. When I first went there I didn't like it and thought it was to industrial to be pretty, but as I've spent more time there I've seen different birds (a heron and a kestrel on this occasion) and the changing of the wildlife through the seasons. I've come to appreciate that nature doesn't only exist in peaceful countryside, it lives all around me in the city.
Just like last year i found myself wishing I had a walking stick to pull down those high branches laden with plump berries, just out of reach. I'd learnt that trick as a child. I remember a lovely day trip to the Lake District with a friend and her parents to fill tupawear upon tupawear with berries. On arriving back at their house we made jam with my friends mother in the kitchen, us two girls stiring the pot.
Daniel and I didn't have a walking stick and couldn't find a stick on the ground to use so I thought of an alternative. He put me on his shoulders and I could reach the big juicy berries on the fruit laden high branches. I only managed to get about ten before he needed to put me down but it was fun. The train kept going over our head and we were so near that the passengers could probably see us filling bowls and our bicycles near by. I always thought that my dream would be to live in the countryside but there is something fun about finding alternatives in the city. Blackberry picking in big open fields is the perfect way to spend an end of summer afternoon. Do I mind the pilons and train going by? Not so much these days.
I'd love to hear your recipe suggestions. I'm thinking crumble and muffins......