I've noticed that exhibitions come down with a good deal more speed than they go up. All the work's up front. Come closing time panels are demounted with a quick unzip of velcro. A clatter of boards folded, stacked and a-bundled into a trailer - which disappears with a squeal of tyres. The door's locked. The money is counted. Done and dusted.
Time on hands now. Ho hum, twiddling of thumbs....What to do next?
Well, with that time on my hands and little ambition, I went out in search of blackberries - brambles (call them what you will). This will be a good season for fruit - a benevolent spring, plenty of water and now a mellow autumn. Hawthorn, Hip, Rowan, Crab-apple and even Sloe are already much in evidence. There for the taking. Food for free.
A walk along our lane yielded 4lbs or so of fruit - that's 2kgs - with very little effort. The picking was slow and easy - with other pleasures, and time to think along the way. The sun shone and insects buzzed in the hedgerow. Overhead, and occasionally, a buzzard would mew or a raven 'gronk'. A scruffy flock of sheep grazed alongside the lane. Such solitude. A wonderful opportunity to see late summer flowers still colourful - honeysuckle creamy and pink, hard-heads and willow herb. Nettles now at their most fierce. Where brambles twine through the hedge, nettles stand guard below - the one to rip your elbow and the other to assault ankle and knee. And don't forget the briar roses too - if one thorn doesn't snag you, another one will. How like life is that?
The berries are now dripping through a jelly-bag - tomorrow I'll add sugar and boil up the fruity juice until the syrup turns to jelly. Three or four jars will be my reward - a taste of summer on the pantry shelf to spread on toast on a winter's day.