Saturday, 28 August 2010

Blackberrying with Ron

One of the hazzards of blackberrying is doing it with 'a Ron'.

We walked up to the ridge in companionable silence, watching the tractor waiting for the return of its driver from what would have been a late breakfast. The harvest was safely in, bales of straw the only indication that there had been a crop in the fields leading up to  Wymondley Wood.

All was well. The sun was putting in the occasional apearance, there was an abundance of blackberries within reach, although some of the bushes had none at all ar the ripe stage but were covered in little hard, green balls. Ron was finding doggie-stuff to do in the long grass beneath the elderberry bushes. Having picked all I could safely reach without getting tangled in the brambles, we headed back down towards the lower track and more bushes.

Ron playing 'drown the ball' in France
Ron made a few forays into the ditch that marks the boundary between two large fields. There are several spots where animal tracks cross the 'stream' where he likes to take his ball to 'play' in the water. But there was no ball, so I had no difficulty at all getting him to return when I whistled - until we reached the bottom of the hill. There is a little footbridge over the second ditch which joins the first one more or less at right angles. Ron returned to the first ditch and disappeared into the tunnel of brambles that covers the main ditch. This time he was deaf to all calls and whistles.

I could hear him splashing about and knew he had invented his own game to replace the 'drown the ball' one of which he is so fond. There was nothing for it, I had to make my way down the bank and under the bridge to  try to determine where he was and entice him out. The little bugger did appear at one point, from behind me. I'd totally misjudged where he was because of the vegetation forming a solid cover over the stream. He was so fast I didn't have time to grab his harness as he galloped past .

Time passed. I called and whistled. Nothing. A woman with three terriers crossed the bridge and asked if she could help. The sound and scent of the terriers brought Ron out from his playground. I grabbed his harness and hauled him onto the bridge where Mrs Woman was waiting to attach his lead. A man who had crossed the bridge with Mrs Woman helped me up the bank.

Both Ron and I were covered in mud but, despite being dirty and soggy, Ron had not had enough. He made one more attempt to go back to his play by jumping from the bridge but didn't even touch the water. His harness acted as a brake and I swung him back onto the bridge. Several more bids for watery play were foiled by the expanding lead.

Back home, we shared a shower but not towels.

The blackberry 'haul' was good, given the circumstances. The blackberries filled this wide-based cereal bowl.

Normally, these would be destined for an apple and blackberry crumble, but, this year, I've decided to make a sugar-free Summer Pudding or two. One will be frozen for use at Christmas instead of Christmas Pudding.

Summer Pudding Recipe

I rather like this recipe - it uses Cassis.