J’aime les poires mais j’adore les mûres

Today I went blackberrying. I just finished a book about a British woman in rural France that used blackberry as a verb, so I can, too!

The walk along the Yvette is full with blackberry bushes and I have been picking them as I walk by. Today I brought a little tupperware container and …. realised that I wore the most impractical clothing imaginable for picking blackberries. I forgot they have thorns. The long flowy skirt really wasn’t a great idea.

Also, most blackberries are either dried up because of the August heat or not yet ripe.

These aren't ripe yet.

These aren’t ripe yet.

The ripe ones are really high up. They look so delicious. But with all the thorns it’s impossible to climb up there without serious damage. Some of them are hanging above the water and can’t be reached either.

sadly out of reach, about 2 metres up.

sadly out of reach, about 2 metres up.

If I found ripe blackberries in reach, there was usually a bug sitting on it.

You can just about make out the body, half hidden behind the blurry leaf

You can just about make out the body, half hidden behind the blurry leaf

All in all, it wasn’t a major success. I also noticed pear trees and at least one apple tree, so I picked one each. I only looked up wild pears and apples at home – they aren’t really edible until after they had frost. And even then they are not very good.

Not very impressive. Almost as pityful as my harvests ;-)

Not very impressive. Almost as pityful as my some of my balcony harvests ;-)

As I walked by an elderly couple talking with another man, he pointed at my tiny harvest and said something about “mûres” (blackberries!) and “quelques seulment”, which even I understood to mean little / few. I managed to get out a sentence in French, that the best ones are too high up for me. But since I neither knew the word for ladder, nor ripe my small talk with locals was quickly over.

After encounters like these, I always wonder what people make of me – what does a sweaty, impractically dressed middle aged woman speaking hardly any French do in the woods of Palaiseau of all places, foraging for food, which she clearly is not very good at? I kind of hope the regular walkers give me a crazy backstory.

In the end I gave up blackberrying because a thorn caught in my skin and broke off (is there seriously no expression for Schiefer einziehen in English?). It was in my right hand, too, and all I had to get it out was the pair of tweezers I pluck my eyebrows with. I was really proud of that home-made surgery. Now I only need to up my foraging game to become self sufficient ;-)

No tears were shed and no stitches necessary.

No tears were shed in the making of this photo.

Edited to fix typos.

3 thoughts on “J’aime les poires mais j’adore les mûres

  1. An essential tool for blackberry picking is a coat hanger that way you can pull down the higher branches and pick away. Also, always be vague about just where you picked them….

    • ah! that’s a great idea – I was thinking of a stick maybe, but the coathanger would work much better. thanks!

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