At the End of the Day

Blackberry Ways*

I must confess to being a pig in shit at the moment. I am Slog of Greengages, mooching round this land of almost biblical plenty, scrumping figs, picking prunes and mirabelles, hunting out wild damsons and – best of all – blackberrying.

When my kids were small, I remember we took a long weekend down in Cornwall. It was mid October, but the weather God beamed upon us and donated four days of Indian Summer. I still have a picture of my younger daughter aged about four, a colander of blackberries in her hands: there was a grin over a mile wide on her face, and most of that grin was surrounded by blackberry juice.

The downside of blackberries is that you have to plough into the mother-ship of brambles to get them, and in that sense they are a sort of metaphor for life: ‘no gain without pain’, as Jane Fonda suggested, before turning an entire generation into one great big ligament and muscle crisis. There is a similar parallel in that the best fruit somehow seem always to be just out of reach: I’m not sure the grass is always greener in the next field, but I’m absolutely certain that the ripest blackberries are always in that part of the bramble where only those sporting salmon waders can reach them.

Somehow, you just know (yes you do) that Donald Trump would go blackberrying, and hire a helicopter to winch him down to the shiny, juicy ripe berries in the thick of the patch. Grant Shapps would get there early, pick all the easily available fruit, and then claim on the internet he’d hired a helicopter to get them from the middle. Stephen Crabb would drive several naked 1950s Waspi women into the patch to get the best fruit – on the promise of a fat reward afterwards….and then bugger off without paying. And of course, Jeremy Corbyn would scrupulously ensure that everyone’s panier of blackberries was exactly the same size, before disappearing into his jam laboratory for a week.

I’m not sure what Owen Smith would do. His first question would probably be “What’s a blackberry?” and then he’d lobby Parliament about wicked serfs illegally stealing blackberries from Tony Blair’s Sussex estate.

I have fewer doubts, however, about Hillary Clinton’s approach. First she’d borrow money from Goldman Sachs to buy the entire stretch of bramble-rich coastline. Then she’d hire a bunch of interns to harvest the crop on the grounds that it was all going to Allagibya in Africa in order to save 3 million African victims of fgm, having first established that the Allagibyan government had just found the biggest oilfield in the world. Then she’d arm the Opposition Jihadists who committed all the fgm in the first place. Then President Assein of Allagibyan would appeal to the US for help. And then she’d blame it all on Brexit.

Listen – you can tell a lot about people based on how they go about blackberrying.

* You have to be really old to get this reference….it’s to a song recorded by Roy Wood and The Move in 1968. For me, it remains one of the great pop anthems. You can listen to it here.

Earlier at The Slog: Is Nigel Farage about to reinvent himself?


15 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Love it JW. And Nicola (aka Gnasher) Sturgeon would pick a dozen punnets during a carefully rehairsed photoshoot, keening all the while that Scortish blackburries are the best in the Wirral. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband would eat just one blackberry and wind up looking like Heath Ledger’s Joker …


  2. Having picked and jammed more blackberries than we will ever use, I have tried blackberry rum. Like you JW, we are awash, and the wild brambles are yet to fruit. A good year. The walnuts look good too.
    No sign of billhooks involved, just love nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gooseberries, gooseberries and more gooseberries. I like the sour taste, I can see why you get goosebumps too. At this time of year elderberries too, remember my old mum used to make elderberry wine and being clever I learned to abseil the kitchen units to the top shelf to take a sip at … age 5.

    Interesting article on sweets the other night, UK loves sugary sweets, Scandinavians like salty sweets and would never have believed it the Japanese like sour sweets. So if the polticians want to bribe children with sweets, just euro one sweet fits all don’t work. Is this bit where the referendum went wrong, you need BREXIT racist sweets and BREMAIN fear sweets to convince all the little children.

    Remember the song, but in my youth it was played in the sawdust covered pub at the end of the night when everybody was smashed and out of their heads.

    Looking to the future I am hoping for a DeutscheBank crash real soon, so soon if I can nudge it over the edge it going to happen. Then we can all watch Germans eat economic humble pie while Greece laughs their socks off.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Local flooding and fog here in late August. The grapes aren’t fattening up but the cauliflower are sumptioius – but not with ice cream


  5. Before you start on this limp comment, I (as in, The Slog) would like to point out two things. First, this is not the German Gemma, it is an imposter. And second, it is by a bloke who calls itself Gemma Jones but could be anybody. He/she (the jury’s still out) seems to think the sole purpose of this blog is for me to find women to shag. So as a young Bob Dylan once remarked, “He can be in my dreams if I can be in his”.

    Ohh Mr Ward. Can we go blackberrying together?
    I do so love to see you in your shorts on a hot summer day with your rippling muscles showing through your tee shirt.
    Oh then I long for a big hug from you. Oh Mr Ward, I need a hug so badly.
    As I dream that I am locked in your embrace, I slide my hand into your shorts, but there is no stirring of the loins at all, just a soft bump of jelly like warmth.
    stay tuned only at THE SLOG for the bank holiday bonanza that reveals all and exposes what really goes on in the french hedges and corn fields

    Liked by 1 person

  6. perhaps somebody could tell me the difference between a blackberry and a bramble?

    we went picking brambles

    my mum made bramble jelly

    I don’t remember any reference to blackberries all those years ago


  7. nwf
    Use of the plural in the headline was a word-play on Blackberry Way and ways of blackberrying. Good luck solving your personality disorder.


  8. Mark
    The Chinese also like sour sweets. And they salt plums (orgasmic taste)
    As for DB, the Germans won’t suffer any more than anyone else, as it isn’t a German bank. I think of it as more of a global wank.


  9. Bertie Bear
    You are so right: brambles are just wild blackberries. Fortnum & Mason knock the stuff out as Wild Blackberry Jam. Bollocks eh, doncha love it?


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