This is the first in what will become a series about how Mushroom and I make the most of our green (and not so green!) spaces in the city to interact with nature. I thought I’d start with something seasonal so first up is a post about blackberry picking!
Not far from where we live, there’s a recently renovated park, imaginatively named ‘jubilee gardens’ (no, it’s not the one at the South Bank and yes, I am being a little sarcastic). It’s a lovely park that has been created with an emphasis on making the most of the natural space it occupies. Sort of. But that’s for another post. The reason I mention it here is because you can either walk to it via the main road, passing the usual bus stops and shops on the way, or you can take the back streets…
One of these back streets leads to a wide open field that houses a disused Scout hut. It’s not a route I’d take during the winter months when it’s dark and not many people are using it for safety reasons but during the summer Mushroom and I almost always go this way.
After a short walk past the hut, there is a bit of a path that leads over a river with just a little “dirty water,” (according to Mushroom) and loads of wild flowers. On the corner, just before the river, there is a massive blackberry bush.
Mushroom and I have been passing this blackberry bush for a while and I explained to him that you can eat the little red berries but that they “are not ready yet.” I told him they would be black when they are ready. This week, I packed a tupperware container without telling him and said we were going for a walk. When we reached the bush he pointed to the bush and said “Mummy? Not ready yet.” I said “Yes, they are ready and we can eat them!” I was rewarded with a massive grin, followed by a look that clearly said “are you sure?” I picked and ate one to show him it was safe and gave him one to try. A slow smile spread across his face as the juicy fruit burst between his teeth and he showed me his berry stained gums. I the got out the container and said we would pick some to take home and he was very excited. It wasn’t long before he was covered in sticky blackberry juice!
After about 15 minutes he got fed up so we headed over the river to the park. He kept stopping along the way to pick blackberries from the smaller bushes we saw on our walk and once we reached the park I overheard him saying to another child “berries ready,” as though he was delivering world news. He kept asking for more on the way home so I never got to make the crumble I’d planned as there wasn’t enough left! However, I’m sure we’ll go blackberry picking again before the end of this month so there’s still time.