THIS TIME of year always brings to mind the summers when we were children and blackberry picking was a big part of our August days.

Having gone out the past few years to be met with mildewed berries not even enough to make one pot of jam, I remembered the days when we returned from picking, covered in juice with thorn pricked hands, scratched legs, and buckets filled to the top with glistening, juicy, black fruit.

 We often rose at seven o’clock to get everything ready, as our neighbour also went to the same spots and we wanted to be out before her to get the best of the fruit.

Buckets and long sticks with wire attached, made by dad, to enable us to pull down the high brambles. Words of warning from our Mam to be careful and we were off. We would meet up with our friend and together we would cross the fields to the various good blackberry picking spots.

I never remember it raining, and we would spend many happy hours slowly picking the juiciest, ripest fruit to fill our many containers, and our hungry bellies.

Often so plentiful was the fruit that we would have to go home at lunch time to retrieve some more buckets and tubs so as to not let the chance of another few pounds of ripe fruit go astray.

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