open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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Coastlining 26: Padstow – Port Isaac

Date: Sunday 26th August 2014      Distance walked: 12 miles      Total distance: 255 miles

2014.08.24 (1) Rock ferry

Padstow-Rock Ferry

It’s good to be back on the (other) coast again. It’s somehow been two months since I wandered down into Padstow with my soggy jacket hung on the back of my rucksack to dry out in the June sun. I’ve got to the point where day walks are no longer feasible due to the length of time it would take me to get to and from my start and end points. I didn’t manage to get two days off work together during July excepting one occasion when it was so hot I couldn’t even sit in my back garden in Falmouth for more than five minutes let alone endure ten plus miles of strenuous coast path. Continue reading

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Death of a Naturalist

blackberryI ate my first blackberries of the summer just a few days ago.

I’ve been eyeing them up in the hedgerow since the beginning of the month when they first started to ink up in small numbers, biding my time, waiting for the sweetness, the ripeness to set in.

Pausing on the path up Pennance hill to let someone pass, I saw them, seven, eight, maybe ten black blackberries on the edge of the field. Any thoughts of saving them for my picnic dessert evaporated as the first one hit my tongue, flooding my head with juices and flavours and purple stain, and re-drawing to the surface lines indelibly printed in the back of my mind:

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: the summer’s blood was in it
[….]

___

I was fourteen and I’d never heard of him. It was the end of the summer term, and having finished all our end of year exams we were in a sort of educational limbo between lower school and GCSEs. (But of course I didn’t know the word limbo yet, nor the ‘cold glitter’ and the spark of deep core grief-sadness I cannot dissociate from it.) So they gave us something to bridge the gap, a poem to look at such as we might get to study in the following school year. It was ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney. Continue reading


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Blackberry Picking

It’s not been a good year for blackberries. Leastways, round here it hasn’t been, judging by my less-than-average haul from my two trips along the coast path in search of the goods. It was a sore disappointment after the purplishly gluttonous week I had gorging on the glossy clots as I tramped my way round the Isles of Scilly in mid-September. How many blackberries are too many blackberries? asked my mum approximately half way round St Martin’s. A couple of hours later she found herself questioning how I could possibly still be eating them after an entire day of near-continual berry-grazing – a hard thing not to do when you’re rambling along bramble-lined pathways heavily dotted with fruits so fat and ripe they practically fall into your hands as you reach out for them. Continue reading