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.