The kiddiestinkers are pining for daddy. I know this because they refuse to sleep alone. It’s very tiring but I am used to having children that don’t sleep. To be honest I don’t sleep much myself.
Today was Sunday, and the sun was shining, and so, I wanted to do something homemaking, and comforting for them. Something to ground them, that we could do from home, with no travel disruption or strapping in the car.
The other day, we walked through a lane in the pouring rain and we all got thoroughly drenched. Each, and every one of us, was soaked to the skin. It was big, fat, warm summer rain that ran down your nose and into your mouth. The children stomped loudly through puddles and made big splashes.
On this walk, we happened across many blackberry bushes laden with big, fat, juicy blackberries. The biggest blackberries I had seen in years. We all stood and ate as many as we could in the rain, until the rain seeped down our collars and ran down our backs and we could no longer stand the wetness.
So today, armed with tupperware, we headed to the lane to go ‘brambling’, or picking blackberries. The sun was warm and the day had a slightly autumnal odour. The sun had dropped in the sky a couple of degrees. On the cusp of seasonal change, eeking out the last rays of summer.
Brambling reminded me of my childhood in York. The snicket just off Tenent Road; where Betty, my beautiful gran lived, was always rich in blackberry pickings. Armed with an empty Stork Margerine tub, we would pick the blackberries; whilst some undesirable youth would nip into one of the orchards that backed onto ‘Batchie Hill’ and knock some apples. (For my USA readers translation – a young thief would head into the orchard that backed on Bachelor Hill and steal some apples). I would then take the apples and blackberries to Betty and she would bake us a bramble and apple pie. (I was about 8 years old and knocking apples, getting a ‘penny for the Guy’ and caroling for cash donations were not openly acknowledged as morally dubious practices to my innocent 8 year old mind. During that time and place it was the norm.)
We were not disappointed; the lane was still a feast of blackberries at heights to suit all ages. It was still a challenge to reach as many as were available and we simply couldn’t get to them all. What seemed to be the biggest, fattest and juiciest were fiercely guarded by thorns, nettles, barbed wire and height. But we managed to gather enough for a crumble. All around us the rain and the sunshine had created bowing fruit trees. There were plums dripping off trees in the lane. Sweet, little succulent plums that fell of the stone and melted in your mouth. I felt like I was in a rural, pagan heaven.
The children loved picking the blackberries and would definitely be up for another blackberry adventure. In my garden the fruit trees are also full of fruit. I picked a pocket full of damsons and some apples. My pear tree is absolutely chocka too so I am thinking about how to make the most of the pears. I would welcome any suggestions – waste not want not an’ all.
We got home and I washed the blackberries, peeled the apples, slicing and dicing them, de-stoned the damsons and then boiled the damson and apples in water and sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon to make compote. The apples and the blackberries I stewed and then made a crumble. The smell of the blackberry and apples stewing was wonderful and it reminded me of Betty, singing and saying “righ-ro” in her kitchen as she cooked up the pie.
It was a good day. The kids felt grounded and were calm and contented. We had apple and blackberry crumble with custard for pudding and it was delicious. Then daddy rang and they rattled away at him down the phone. They miss him so much….children need their daddies – they really do.
Some people who also love baking such wonderful things look into cooking classes via distance education to learn more recipes.