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Blackberry Weather

Thursday 1st October, grey skies, silver-gilt sunlight breaking through.

Today it's grey, and I'm praying for rain, but Sunday 27th that bitter drying wind had dropped at last, and we had a perfect "Indian Summer" day down here, sky over the downs the clear deep blue that only comes in September. We went out to Patching woods to see if the sweet chestnuts were ripe. They weren't, but we went hunting and gathering anyway. Big cluster of Oyster Caps plucked from a fallen beech (actually L. pulmeria, but the whole species is good edible funghi: and we ate them & they were tasty), a pound of sloes from just a couple of little trees on the headland path, where we ate our egg sandwiches looking down on Little Burpham farmstead, the swathes of ochre stripped fields and the great woods of West Sussex & Hampshire stretching away into the far distance, into blue furrows seeming regular as ploughed land. Blackberries on every hedge and bank, glowing hips and haws. We don't gather blackberries, because in fact, as I've proved long ago, I'm none too good at jam-making and nobody wants to eat it, but its good to have had mouths and fingers purpled with juice, (even if I never got sand between my toes) for once in a dour summer. Why Indian? I don't know.

Sat pricking sloes for gin later, it isn't as bad a job as I remembered. Only took half an hour.

Reading: the dregs of Proust. Time Regained fading out, sadly unrevised & sometimes I get irritated at the way he's everlasting talking about "love" when he really means "desire", as any fool can see. Just started La Peste as my breakfast book. Watching: the irisistible Harper's Island! Currently my money is on the chainsaw wielding Masked Gardener; and Chloe is my favourite shreddie in waiting. I know you're not supposed to get attached to them, but she's so cute. Also the latest US fantasy thriller, Flash-forward, but I think I may not take to it.

Things for you aspiring or professional writers to check out, a new enterprise by Kelley Estridge and Nicola Griffith called Sterling Editing, offering manuscript assessment and a whole lot more. And, if you don't already know it ralan.com a fun and useful webresource powered by Ralan Conley, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Fantasticon.

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