There is an abundance of free fruit out there at the moment so grab your pales and start picking! The sheer plumptiousness of the blackberries this year is staggering. I have already had several good picks and now have a range of different jellies and jams in the pantry with the stocks building for the winter once more. My favourite at the moment is Blackberry and Gin jelly, a real favourite with the old boy!
I was in the middle of a picking session on Saturday last when I picked up my large green trug and moved it to a part of the bush I hadn't yet visited. As I put it down on the grass next to me I heard this very peculier swishing sound, like a cheap carrier bag being rustled and stood confused for a moment. Out of the corner of my right eye I suddenly caught movement of the back end of a ocre coloured snake with small green detail on it back, moving into the fullness of the blackberry bush in front of me. I think I had placed my trug on the old chap and he wasn't best impressed! It moved so fast that my brain couldn't digest the pattern on it's back and as I had never seen a snake in this country before (only a slow worm that had been half chewed and delivered on the doorstep for me by the cat a few years back) and wasn't too sure if I was in any danger.
I called my beloved and was promptly reasurred it would be a hospital job if the bugger came back and bit me. I had my sturdy walking boots on and jeans and figured I was ready to take the fastidious beast on should he return. We should all be allowed to frolic by the Blackberry bushes and was determined not to be beaten by something that couldn't discuss things rationally. The pick continued and I was not bothered again I am pleased to say and returned with a glut of berries which were cooked squished and strained in the jelly making process. A wonderful natural dye too, easily set with salt, Just think ...purple pants!