August 6, 2015

Ah, a nice day (even the weather was nice) filled with some of my favourite things – a bike ride into town for coffee and gossip (sorry, I meant an important literary planning meeting), with just enough time to stop and capture the waterfall in full spate (I was still the first one there as my fellow plotters were held up by roadworks, which was obviously annoying for them but rather satisfying for me).

waterfall in spate

And then on the way back, a chance to stop and forage (not as nice as the massacred wild raspberries on our road, but still pretty good and with the advantage of not having been sprayed by some sort of weedkiller)

wild raspberries

And that reminded me we had cultivated raspberries of our own to pick for tonight’s pudding (at least those the blackbirds had left us).

garden raspberries

A little light hassling of the coonsil by email and my day was complete.

This is exactly how you imagine your life will be when you down shift and move to the country. And occasionally it actually is.


Curly Wurly

July 16, 2015

We were strolling down to check the level of the ford the other day (about an inch, if you’re interested) and decided to check out how the wild raspberries on the verge were getting on when we discovered that – disaster! – there were none. There’s not a single cane from last year to be seen, and although this year’s canes are coming through strongly, they won’t have any fruit on them until next year. Clearly some change in the verge management process (normally the council sending round a tractor with a sort of lawnmower-onna-stick arrangement) has resulted in the mature canes being removed before they can fulfil their destiny of providing us with a delicious incentive to go for a walk. We’ve got raspberries of our own, and they’re looking pretty prolific at the moment, but it’s still a bit of a blow not to have the fantastically tasty wild raspberries to look forward to as well.

distorted cow parsley

Whoever massacred the canes may have done us a favour though. The cow parsley on the same verge has been looking distinctly odd in recent weeks (and some of the other vegetation too). Anyone know what might have caused it to grow like this? I’m hoping not some nasty chemical that might mean forgoing our blackberries, sloes and hazelnuts too…

Get Orff My…

August 9, 2013

Setting off for the dentist on Wednesday I was horrified to discover not one but two strangers blatantly picking OUR raspberries, and by OUR I mean the ones growing along the road near our house which we’ve pretty much had to ourselves up to now (we do actually also have raspberries of our own which grow against the garden wall, which means the easiest way to pick them is to stand in the road and lean over, looking like we’re blatantly scrumping. Fortunately nobody’s called the police yet*)

Anyway, I restrained myself from threatening them with both barrels, although I was reminded of a time when my mother was out picking blackberries and got accosted by a woman who was keen to tell her how contaminated they were likely to be along the road. Unneccessary paranoia we thought – but perhaps on reflection it was merely possessiveness.

Fortunately, as I found when I went out this evening, there are still plenty of raspberries to share, the predations of incomers (or worse, visitors – they were on foot and not accompanied by dogs so clearly not local) notwithstanding. Although I’ve clearly now lived in the country too long …

* you might laugh but a good 15 minutes was given over to the case of the missing village hall wheely bin at the last Community Council meeting. Apparently the bin lorry occasionally eats them, but there were dark suspicions that the New People might have appropriated

Blowing a Raspberry

July 6, 2009

We were out for a walk yesterday evening. When we first arrived here we went for a walk most evenings if it was fine, but it’s a habit we’ve got out of recently. In fact it’s worse than that, it’s a habit that we’ve replaced with another: the evening ritual of drinks and nibbles on the sofa before supper. Needless to say, there’s only one way that can end, and that’s with the pair of us having to be winched out of the house through the window because we can no longer be squeezed out through the door. So, at my suggestion, we dragged ourselves away from the nibbles last night and set off to check the level of the water in the ford*

We had not gone far before we spotted the first wild raspberry glowing bright red among the leaves of the hedgerow (ten days earlier, it would appear, than last year). These really are delicious, much sweeter and more fragrant than commercially grown ones with almost a vanilla flavour (that’s vanilla as in ‘tasting like vanilla’ not vanilla as in ‘not tasting like anything’ – ice cream manufacturers please take note). They don’t grow as thickly as blackberries do, and there’s no question of taking any home, or even them lasting long enough on the bush to be photographed for posterity – to see one is to eat one, and then to start hunting around for the next.

The discovery that there were snacks on this walk considerably cheered up the other half at the time. But I suspect that it may also have defeated the object of the whole exercise. I wonder just how thinly spread the raspberries would have to be for the walk to be calorifically neutral…

*Dry as a bone, since you ask.

Springing to Life

March 1, 2009

Just when we’re all craving colour


Will this do?

And meanwhile, look what’s happened to my sticks, and even to my garlic:

raspberry_canes2 garlic_shoots

they’re alive, alive I tell you…

Food For Free

July 15, 2008

Top tip for those moving to the country – get someone with some botanical expertise, such as my sister*, to come and visit early on and identify all those things in the hedgerow for you. That way you won’t miss the fact that those funny looking brambles by the side of the road are in fact wild raspberries complete with delicious ripe raspberries. It’s even better if they tell you before they and their daughter have scarfed the lot, but never mind. I’m sure some more will ripen eventually…

And speaking of families, we’ll be off helping Huttonian downsize for the next few days. I may blog, I may not. It will depend on whether I can get a word in edgeways at the computer.

*Not babymother but the non-blogging one. Every family has a black sheep, you know.