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Scratches and a sprained ankle

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This morning's dedicated to brambling. That's picking blackberries unless you're a yokel like me. Dress in brambling gear: loose thornproof trousers that are not alas as loose as they used to be, loose longsleeved sweatshirt, trainers, thick socks. Those monsters fight back if you don't get your shot in first, y'know.

Collect gardening glove for left hand (to pin down briars with), plastic boxes for brambles, mobile (how times change. When I first went brambling we didn't actually have a phone at home at all.) Decide against taking water as it's heavy and I will be back home in two hours and I can't be arsed to carry it. Get the bus to the local bramble patch.

Tons of ragwort here too, it must be the weather, I have a feeling that ragwort is an Indian plant but it seems to like the climate here. Approach the bramble patch with a seasoned eye. There's little sign of previous pickers and Saturday morning is a good time because you get in before Weekend Pickers. See a bunch of berries that will be within reach if I squirm halfway into the thicket. Start to squirm, holding down briars to tread on, as I go.

There's quite a science to picking brambles or raspberries. Honest. I find I can pick six without needing to empty my hand into the container, so I'm counting as I go: pick pick pick pick pick pick, drop. Ten minutes and I can't reach any more, so I move round the patch. Fill one container, then another, saying 'ow' occasionally. I wonder if wild raspberries have as many thorns as this? Cultivated ones certainly don't.

My right hand is going purple.

I'm halfway round the thicket and on the third plastic box when things go pearshaped (note the continuation of the fruit motif, rather clever I thought). I catch my left foot in the undergrowth, my right on a tussock of grass and sprawl headlong. Fortunately the grass is thick, so I land soft, however am aware that I've sprained my left ankle. My left ankle, which has been sprained half a dozen times and broken once. Ow.

I have, however, only split two brambles out of the container so clearly got my priorities right.

Get to my knees very slowly and gingerly and test ankle. Fortunately not too bad. Stand upright and hobble back to where I've left my bag. Decide that, on the whole, I don't want to take further risks with ankle, and have got very respectable amount of brambles for making jelly. Could do with a drink; wish I'd thought to bring some water. Head off home.

Back home, I count up.

The fruit, washed, weighs 2.2 kilos, so just under 5lb and I'll get four or five pounds of jelly from it. I have a slightly swollen ankle and multiple scratches to add to the bruise I got adjusting the seat of the stationary bike at the gym the other day and the multiplicity of mosquito bites from the one that was clearly in my bedroom with me two nights ago.

Think I just about won though.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Glad you got all those blackberries (never heard of brambles before). Sorry about the sprained ankle. Do be careful.

    1923 days ago
    I wish there were something in my area that I could go out and pick! Sounds like quite an adventure, though I'm sorry to hear about your ankle. I hope the jam turns out delicious! (I'm sure it will.)
    1923 days ago
    I always thought the plant was a bramble, but the fruit blackberries. Rather than them being names for the same thing!

    I need to find some near me. Last year we had loads in the garden and I was well supplied, but I've moved now :(.

    Hope your ankle is OK!
    1923 days ago
    Love your blog. This one makes me hungry for some "brambles" of my own... I don't think I could pick enough to make jam/jelly (which I rarely eat anyway)... I would eat them fresh from the berry cane. Take care of yourself. Audra
    1924 days ago
  • IZZY37
    I've just moved. Your blog reminds me to find some brambles - maybe an exploratory walk for me tomorrow. As well as "the gear", I also take a hand-held weeding rake with me - it's great to pull some of those out of reach branches into reach.
    Enjoyable blog, and I hope your ankle is better soon.
    1924 days ago
    1924 days ago
    heal up & happy jamming!

    around here you also get to deal with chiggers when picking blackberries. Gotta tuck your pants legs into your socks and pull your gloves up over your sleeves.
    1924 days ago
  • KSCRAP363
    The blackberries look wonderful!!! Sometimes the trouble we go through is worth it in the long run...Hope you are running about like normal very soon! Enjoy the jelly!!!
    1924 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I have blackberries in my back yard, along with raspberries.. those stickers really DO hurt one! I wear a pair of disposable gloves.. no holes to fall into though.. just my lawn.. I hope your ankle feels better!!
    1924 days ago
  • BIGDOG18
    1924 days ago
  • 1954MARG
    Nature's bounty, there's nothing better.
    1924 days ago
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