In days gone by a blackberry was a hedgerow fruit & IPod, was what I did with peas & beans:
No longer, it would seem, as technology holds us increasingly in its thrall. Well, some of us, that is; to me that first fruit darkening the hedgerow with its sweet tang, still heralds the onset of autumn & is as far away from a box of ‘wiggly amps’ as it gets.
After the long spell of gloomy weather, today we revelled in the delight that there was thankfully sufficient sun over the valley to allow the goats back out after milking following their ‘camping holiday’ last night. Unfortunately they’d slept under the verandah of the stables, overnight; & had happily munched on the woodwork as a midnight feast in the meantime so our beautiful stable block is looking decidedly more, err, functional after the evening’s activities. Needless to say when we turfed the goats back outside they were directed into a neighbouring field rather than anywhere near the apparently appetizing buildings.
Our friends Pete & Barbara headed back to Shropshire after taking tea with us in the garden, enjoying the rare sunshine to chat about business, fine food & life in general. I unearthed a tin of wonderful Labookellie Ceylon Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) loose-leaf tea, which has a delicate colour & subtle, refreshing flavour.
BOP is one of the finest grades of tea & the evocative aroma brought to mind our wonderful time wandering the mist-laced hills of Nuwara Eliya’s tea plantations, where the glossy evergreen bushes scented the air with perfume akin to a thousand daffodils & the wispy vapours wreathed like steam from a cup.
Jonathan Swift’s description of the brew as ‘water bewitched’ is accurate indeed.
After bidding our friends farewell I wandered through the garden to check on our trio of Indian Runner ducks. Pausing beside the greenhouse I noticed that the first few blackberries had somehow managed to ripen, in spite of the lack of sunshine.
I recall a Bank Holiday visit from dear friends a couple of years ago; we basked in sunshine on Pen Bryn beach; & afterwards, accompanied by our faithful & curious little goat kid Armeria, we picked juicy, plump blackberries from the hedgerows, which were bursting with ripe fruit. I immediately turned some into a lusciously rich, fruity jam for them to take home as a memento of their visit. And although today is benignly warm, the forecast threatens less promising conditions for the days ahead, so it will be a while before the hedgerows are heavy with their purple bounty…..so hurry up & happen, Summer: Autumn, it seems, is already on its’ way.