Blackberrying

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During the afternoon of last Thursday, my mum asked me if I would like to join her Blackberrying. 

I remember I used to go Blackberrying when I was very young with my mum and grandparents in the common near us, when we lived in Guildford. 

We used to take a load of empty ice cream tubs, with lots of carrier bags, and collect the ripe blackberries from the bramble bushes. 

My mum and nan used to make lots of jam and pies out of the blackberries they collected, and froze the others to use throughout the year. 

I decided to join her, as it was a nice sunny day, and I brought my camera along with me to take some shots. Mum brought an empty ice cream tub with her and a carrier bag. 

We walked across the countryside through Rowly towards Smithwood Common Road. 

As we walked towards to where the blackberry bushes were located, we passed some fields filled with flowering clover and buttercups. I took a few pictures of them. 

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Clover 

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Buttercup 

As I recently found a super macro option on my digital camera, I was able to get good close ups of various things. 

Mum then heard and saw some grasshoppers amongst the long grass. I took some pictures of the grasshoppers. It was difficult to get close to them, as they’d jump away if they saw me looming towards them. 

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Jimmy Cricket 

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I remember a black cat which used to visit the garden in our old house in Guildford. It used to be funny watching the cat hunt and eat the grasshoppers in our garden. If the cat were with us today, she would have been in her element having so many grasshoppers to catch and eat. 

We saw some blackberry bushes in Rowly, but they were not quite ripe enough to eat, and they had wasps on them. 

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A wasp enjoying eating the blackberries 

I saw some dandelions with their seeds ready to release into the wind. I took a picture of one of them. 

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We reached the edge of Rowly and crossed Smithwood Common Road to get to the fields on the other side. 

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There were many wild flowers and long grass growing in the fields. 

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I took some pictures of butterflies and bees. There are not that many bees and butterflies around this year for some reason. I had to wait for the odd few to appear, and then tried to get close enough to take pictures without them flying off. It was quite difficult to do, as it was windy as well, which blew the flowers all over the place whilst they were sat on them. 

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bee 

We passed some elderberry bushes. From a distance, I could see many tiny grey coloured birds feeding in them. I have never seen or heard birds like that before. As I got nearer they sadly flew off up high up into an oak tree above the elderberry bushes, so I was not able to take pictures of them. I could hear them chirping away on the oak tree branches, and occasionally saw them fly around. I also heard a green woodpecker, but didn't sadly see it. 

Mum found some ripe blackberries to pick in various bramble bushes. She soon started to fill up her empty ice cream tub with them. 

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I left her to it, whilst I explored and took some photos. 

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I found some other things like black and orange caterpillars eating a plant, a busy anthill, and a ladybird running down a stem, some sort of parasite larvae inside a red furry ball, which was growing around a plant, as well as bracken fern, honeysuckle, and many other flowers unknown to me. 

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Hairy caterpillars 

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Anthill 

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A ladybird on the run 

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What kind of strange creature makes a furry red ball on a plant to live in? 

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Bracken fern 

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Honeysuckle 

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There were two green spiders on this flower, but when I got close with my camera, they climbed to the other side of the flower, so was unable to catch them! 

Once mum had collected enough blackberries, we walked back the way we had came towards home.

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The ripe blackberries which filled mums ice cream tub 

We walked through a field that had seeds flying all around the air like cotton wool, and I took a picture of mum realising some them into the air. 

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Mum holding on to the seeds 

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Mum letting the wind take the seeds on their journey 

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As we got nearer to road in Rowly leading back home, we had reached civilisation again, as I could hear the sound of cars, buses, and lorries again, as well as see people walking their pet dogs.  

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Its a nice place and I liked walking round in the long grass and seeing all of the trees, bushes, flowers, and insects. 

One of the things I enjoy most is not hearing the sound of motorcars, and people. I instead hear many different types of bird singing, or the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and long grass, which is very relaxing and some of the best sounds to be heard on the planet. 

Although I miss living within walking distance of a busy town, over the years I have grown to like living in the countryside, and being surrounded by nature, as I can escape it all by just taking a short walk to somewhere remote. 

I would quite like to live by the sea one day, and then I can hear things like the waves of the ocean and seagulls. 

Mum has already made some blackberry pies. 

I imagine early man lived in a time, which was far more interesting, by foraging for berries and things to eat from the land around them. I would certainly rather do that than pop in my car to the local Sainburys for a tin of baked beans to eat. 

Blackberrying - By Sylvia Plath

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks --
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
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.
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me
To the hills' northern face, and the face is orange rock
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths
Beating and beating at an intractable metal.

Comments on Blackberrying

1
Posted by Jude | 18 August, 2008 7:06 PM | www.judes-writing.blogspot.com | Jude's profile | | Permalink

Hey Barry
The poem Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath is one I've taught to GCSE kids. It can be read as quite a sad poem, especially given the poet's own sad end. Your pictures are lovely - you really should enter a photo competition some time.

2
Barry's avatar
Posted by Barry | 07 September, 2008 7:43 PM | www.bchappell.info | Barry's profile | | Permalink

Hi Jude,

Thanks for the comment.

Blackberrying is a great poem.

I will look into doing more with my photography.

See you again soon.

Best wishes

Barry

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