We took the kids blackberrying at the weekend. I have memories of picking heaps of large, ripe blackberries as a child, along hedgerows in the middle of nowhere, with a gentle September sun shining overhead. And my kids were keen to experience something similar. But, of course, our outing was nothing like that. Well, it was sunny, but that's about as far as the parallel goes...
For a start, we were picking along a fairly well-frequented footpath, which meant that most of the berries had already been picked and those that hadn't were small and scraggly. I'd also forgotten how prickly blackberry picking can be. We spent a lot of time searching for dock leaves and consoling children who'd been scratched by brambles and stung by nettles.
But they weren't deterred. After half an hour or so, we'd managed to pick enough half-decent berries to flavour the apple crumble that was planned for supper...which neatly leads on to the second part of this blog post.
The kids had volunteered to cook for us -- guacamole, salad and bread, and apple crumble. Sounds great, doesn't it? But a ten and an eight-year-old doing the cooking does not mean that the parents get to put their feet up. In reality the parents supervise, which means advising at every step, helping with anything that the kids can't do themselves, and generally hovering in the background ready to avert all culinary disasters.
But I exaggerate. Every time the kids cook, they get better and need less and less supervision. This time they even loaded the dishwasher and wiped down the surfaces as well.
Oh, and the apple and blackberry crumble tasted great too, so it was worth the effort after all!