There is something inescapably bloody about brambles; as Seamus says, they look like ‘a plate of eyes’: much more macabre than desiccated bodies in the peat. Brambling always makes me feel somewhat like the prince in Sleeping Beauty, fighting through the thorns to reach the prize. Fingertips turn red, clothing is snagged, burrs stick to sleeves and no matter how hard you try to avoid them, the nettles always sting you. I don’t know what sort of protection racket the nettles have going, but wherever there are brambles, you can be assured they’ll be there too.
I picked my first brambles of the year tonight. There weren't many in the usual place so I tried another spot where I had spied them from the Grey Mare’s back. I started off picking anything that looked ripe then, as I found more fruit hiding under thorns and dry grass, I became more finickity about the specimens that made it into the bowl. Truth to tell, there weren’t as many as I’d hoped; but there were enough to bake into a crumble with apples from the garden. Hopefully, this one won’t leak around the edges.