The only blackberries left were in the woods, and the shaded slopes that the bushes clung to were so slippery that I fell down almost immediately, leading to this:
My favourite purple tights were ruined. I had to make the trip worth it and so I persisted my painful adventure through the woods to try and find some blackberries. The path I was on turned to nothing but nettles, so I headed along a smaller path that went directly up the hillside. That path petered out until it looked as though I was following a single person's tracks. But up above me I could see a huge spread of blackberry bushes that I was sure nobody would have picked.
The hill was steep, and I had to climb over the tangle of brambles and the enormous Himalayan Balsam, which I had to trample completely to get through. Now, I know that the Balsam is an invasive species and you should destroy it wherever possible, but that had not been the intention of my trip. Also, I ruined the effect of my accidental conservation work by popping the seed pods. I couldn't help it. They're like pebble-dash or textured wallpaper, they're designed to tempt my fingers.
The blackberries up at the top of the hill were huge and lovely. They were the sort that fall into your hand as soon as you touch them. Once I'd taken all that I could reach, I had to get to the other side of the bushes, which I knew take me onto a path that would get me home.
I went around the bushes and found myself stuck up to my bare knees in a patch of nettles. I almost cried then and wondered if Mountain Rescue would come out to a person who was stuck in nettles and brambles. But I knew that the journey back down had to be worse than the one up, so on I went. I got past the worst of the nettles and brambles, and between me and the path home there was one final obstacle, a wall of hawthorn bushes. Even the Prince in Sleeping Beauty got a sword to tackle his forest of thorns with. All I had was a carrier bag full of Tupperware.
In the end I got almost a kilo of blackberries and about 2/3 kilo of elderberries. I had no idea what I was going to do with the elderberries, but I decided to collect them in order to make me feel as though the trial of my trip was worth it. I've now made plans to use them for elderberry schnapps, which I'll take to Spain with me for Christmas.
The result of my perilous journey was hands that looked like this:
I'm not sure how much of that was berry juice and how much was blood, which is a sure sign that a blackberrying trip has gone very wrong.
I am covered from head to toe in grazes. They don't look very dramatic, but they made my feel like my skin was on fire all night. They're still sore, and so today I'm just going to do small relaxing things. I've been trawling through Whip-Up and I'm going to pick out a good project. I'm thinking of making this little house pouch: