Here at The National Archives we’re really lucky to have beautiful grounds and it’s great to get outside at lunchtime to see what’s happening around the site. Among the many interesting plants within the grounds there are lots of small patches of blackberries – common as muck in the British countryside, but much, much more palatable.
Blackberries are one of the summer’s greatest pleasures – dark, shiny nuggets of flavour just oozing with goodness. Full of vitamin C, these are a perfect, healthy snack and it’s quite a treat to be able to nab a few on the way back into the office.
I’m not sure these lunchtime forays really count as ‘blackberrying’, because I never intend to collect enough to turn into a crumble or jam. There are some familiarities though – knowing that there will always be a few that remain tantalisingly out of reach, that it is inevitable that some part of me will get stained with blackberry juice, and that these things really don’t matter in the pursuit of a free sweet treat.
The last of the blackberries will be ripening at the moment. Folklore has it that blackberries shouldn’t be picked after Old Michaelmas Day (10 October), as the Devil stamps on the bramble bushes, making them quite inedible. In a practical sense, the weather is damper and what’s left of them will be going mouldy – so with that in mind, I’m heading outside to the grounds for one last foray…