I sat like a fisherman mending his net, although I would have been a poor fisherman letting them all get away.  I stitched the pieces of net together with long pieces of string knowing that the job would not need to be a masterful one.   I just needed the holes between the patches to not be big enough to invite the birds into the ‘catch’ of ripe berries.  It seems to be a bountiful mast year for all the berries and plums.  The lovely Sharon has already made eight jars of redcurrant jelly. Although, since this morning I am glad to report this is down to seven jars.  The concentrated flavour of summer brightens up the morning toast.  It balances out the grumbling I do as I stitch the net.  My back aches from kneeling and threading and kneeling and threading.  One thing that really bugged me was the fact that I needed to stitch it at all.  We needed a large square, but the net rolled out of the packet as one gigantic strip ten foot wide and forty foot long.  It was only after time spent on the monotonous meditation of sewing and back ache self pity that I realised that this sort of net is normal.  Of course it is one long strip for most people’s fruit trees are all neatly pruned and wired up in rows.  We prefer the more chaotic approach to the fruit trees; letting them do their own sort of thing.  We mulch and weed them in the early spring when it is possible to walk into them pre-foliage.  Then, over the months we watch in awe as they take on a life of their own.  When it comes to this time of year we wade through them and get lost.  The blackcurrants are about a foot taller then me, and the raspberries are two feet taller then the little man.  We can locate him from the commentary he gives as the raspberry monster; “AHUMM YUM YUM YUM, raspberry! AHUMM YUM YUM YUM.”  The only thing we don’t venture into until it is absolutely necessary, is the spiky gooseberries.  The crop is so large that we still have a few of last year’s gooseberry jam jars stored away.  This year we might be more adventurous; with talk of gooseberry wine.  I think I might need the promise of a glass of gooseberry wine if I am to face the gooseberry picking.

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