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Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards

Simple Pleasures

While running with my husband, Frank, a few days ago (plodding might be a more accurate word but I’m a writer, and writers eschew passive verbs ;-), we passed a tall, thick hedge. Frank, being the avid forager he is, immediately spotted the large and luscious blackberries lurking in leafy shadows (I know, I’m overdoing the alliteration). He backtracked (I didn’t have to), and we helped ourselves to a couple of fruits before continuing our slog… I mean, jog.

Yesterday afternoon we were back, this time with our two kids in tow, equipped with a plastic container and a small stool to reach the parts other passersby couldn’t reach.

Picking blackberries, known here in Peru as moras, is deeply satisfying. There’s the little rush of pleasure when you spot a beauty glistening coyly amongst the leaves. There’s the sensuous delight of tugging a plump globe with your fingertips and feeling it give and come away from its stalk. And then there’s the kind of child-like glee – hee, hee! - at having beaten the system: they didn’t cost a penny! Plus, they’re organic! (dog pee is not a pesticide). The sting and itch of thorns only make one’s triumph sweeter still.

Blackberries! Photo: Jessica Groenendijk, Words from the Wild

We brought our glossy treasures home, and washed and dried them carefully, setting aside the choicest fruit for my mother-in-law who, as a child, spent many an hour berry picking in the UK; I was sure our prizes would bring back happy memories.

In the evening, after dinner, we savoured the succulent fruit with cookies and cream ice cream. Frank warmed the few that remained in a pan with a spoonful of sugar to make a compote for breakfast. This morning, we drizzled the impossibly crimson syrup over bowls of natural yoghurt.

Who was it who said “Simple pleasures are life’s treasures”?

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