I walked the long way home from work today Yesterday’s jaunt along the canal taught me three things: that my sense of direction is fine as long as I have the confidence to stick by it; that a walk can suddenly seem half the length if you have a decent meal in your belly; that the blackberries are early again this year. So I promised myself a long walk home with a bag and some hedgerow foraging.

It was a glorious sunny afternoon, endless people walking, cycling, canoeing or boating along the canal, everyone in a jolly mood saying hello or thanking one another for stepping aside – a couple of people even stopped to ask how well I was doing! The canalside is so peaceful, it seems to bring out the best in people!


I picked just under a kilo of blackberries between the Fusilier and home, and spotted some under-ripe sloes for later (I do love sloe gin!) and some rose hips… Brambling is so therapeutic and rewarding, but you do need sticking power. The best berries are hidden where the birds haven’t been able to see them – under leaves or in clusters tucked away in thickets. As well as fighting the brambles themseves (I’ve a fair few scratches) you’ll have to contend with nettles (which unfortunately did sting me) and wasps (which fortunately didn’t, despite my disturbing a nest while trying to unearth a good sized cluster – oops!). I also came home with berry-stained fingers and nails, shoulders (from pulling a persistently wayward strap back onto my shoulder) and cheeks (from pushing back strands of hair) – but not lips! It seems I’ve outgrown my childhood berry-picking habit of “one for you, two for me”!


Dress: George; shoes: Tesco; jacket: charity shop


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