Blackberry Way

img_1408One of the joys of a dawn cycle ride in mid-September is that you can skip breakfast and head for your favourite blackberry bushes. In the shops, a tiny punnet of blackberries costs at least 3 euros, and they’re probably imported from Mexico. Out here, they’re free – and plentiful. This morning I must have eaten over two hundred, while humming Blackberry Way of course – The Move’s 1968 hit, and probably one of the most depressing songs ever penned. Tomorrow I shall stick to quoting Sylvia Plath’s mesmerising poem Blackberrying which includes the lines: « I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies, / Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen. / The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven. »

It is a sad reflection on our day and age – and our churlish abandonment of Mother Nature – that if you Google “Blackberry” the entire screen fills up with references to the make of mobile phone, with not an edible soft fruit in sight. 

Blackberries are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, anti-oxidants and minerals, and they are very low in calories. However, let it be admitted, loud and clear, that they are also outrageous imposters, since they are not in fact berries at all from a botanical point of view.  But then neither – I hear you groan – is a mobile phone. At least the fruit of the humble bramble looks somewhat like a berry. Ah verily, ’tis not alone his inky cloak that can denote him truly…

A blackberry isn’t a single fruit but a circular arrangement of 80 to 100 drupelets, like a miniature bunch of grapes for the dining-room table in a doll’s house. After this morning’s overdose, I was inclined to believe they also had hallucinogenic properties, since shortly afterwards I came face to face with a vision of an abandoned trampoline in an otherwise empty field. However, I took the photograph below to confirm that it was not a trippy apparition induced by blackberry delirium. At any rate, it inspired the following immortal verse. 

The saddest thing I’ve ever seen
Is an abandoned trampoline.
Yet show me the man who would not renounce
A trampoline that’s lost its bounce…

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