I took the little man along the hedgerows after his dinner.  We browsed the local natural larder looking for blackberries to pick.  I remember that in some years late September was often too late for all the good berries, but not this year, not this area.  The amount of bramble bushes was very thin on the ground, literally.  Even what was present was not even close to a ripe crop.  I grazed on a few under-ripe berries as the little man vocalised from his rucksack.  At least there is the hope of sloes along a different lane.  In the spring I made a mental note of the landmarks near a full blossom of creamy blackthorn.

We stopped off at a neighbour’s house and tried to barter half a dozen eggs for some local blackberry knowledge.  It just confirmed what I, and the vocal one, had observed.  We would need to trek further afield to the nearby forest.  It was not within walking distance and would have to wait another night.  Instead we headed back to the cottage and picked up a jar of honey for a different neighbour who had still not received delivery.  It is customary for me to deliver a jar to the neighbours on behalf of the bees.

haws before the birds strip them

We walked in the wind and over bits and pieces of fallen twigs and branches.  It really does have the feel of September about it, and it is his first.  Last year he was carried around by his mother as her little passenger, her little soul inside.  This year he is perched on my back wrapped up in his winter fleece and peaks out through his hood, my little soul along for the ride.  He wore a pair of shoes on his feet.  The first time he has covered up his feet with anything other than fresh air or socks.  Shoes are on my own feet these days, a sign more obvious to me than the grey skies and falling leaves that winter is on its way.

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