Friday, 19 November 2010

Weekend Rambles

November 2010

Shoreline Apple Tree
Catching up on my long over due homework (sorry, Catherine!), I went off to capture what I could of a late autumn harvest of berries in and along the East Lothian coast

Sea Buckthorn along North Berwick Golf Course
Sea Buckthorn abounds – it scrambles, twists and twines into a Sleeping Beauty fortress along the ancient sandy dunes from Gullane to North Berwick and beyond (to Russia, I believe). Brilliant orange berries cluster in huge abundance in the joints and branches of the extremities of the silvery bushes. A forager’s trove– if armed with impenetrable gloves, long-sleeved coat, thick boots and very sharp secateurs.  The trick is to snip and freeze the berry-clad twigs and thorns intact – the berries will snap off easily once frozen solid.

Sea Buckthorn harvest

Along the country roads are farm lanes lined by hedgerows bursting with hawthorn and autumn berries.  But with few lay-bys (pullouts) it can be tricky to stop to gather – and if there are any sloes in the area, you run the risk of social ostracisation if pillaging someone else’s patch….  So I returned to the fringes of the NB golf course and found a solitary weather-worn patch of berries, on a gnarled bush thick, rich and plentiful.  Nearby was a stand of young Dog rose – covered in luscious ripe hips which fell neatly into my basket.
Do I have to de-seed these??

Haddington Herbals
A sojourn inland to the county town brought me to the new Haddington Herbals – a lovely old/new shop located at the end of the High Street. Filled with natural remedies, cures, cosmetics and lotions displayed in the antique cabinets lovingly restored. They also sell mixing oils, dried herbs, and essential oils for us DIY enthusiasts.


John Pendrey said...

I liked your picture and story. I have visited these berries at N Berwick and at last have them growing on The Isle of Barra. I was recently impressed by a poem about them by Helen Cruikshank. I hope you don't mind that I used your picture as an illustration on my own blog? you are credited.

John Pendrey said...

Sauté an' cruel winds tae shear it, [salt]
Nichts o' haar an' rain - [nights of cold mist]
Ye micht think the sallow buckthorn [might]
Ne'er a hairst could hain; [never a harvest could harbour]
But amang the sea-bleached branches [among]
Ashen-grey as pain,
Thornset orange berries cluster
Flamin', beauty-fain.

Daith an' dule will stab ye surely, [death and dolour / grief]
Be ye man or wife,
Mony trauchles an' mischances [many struggles / troubles]
In ilk weird are rife; [in everyone's fate]
Bide the storm ye canna hinder,[cannot]
Mindin' through the strife, [remembering]
Hoo the luntin' lowe o' beauty [how the blazing fire of beauty]
Lichts the grey o' life. [lights]

Helen Cruickshank

Copyright is held by A C Hunter, Ashgrove House, Loanhead, Midlothian, Scotland EH20 9NG Photo at North Berwick golf club, Scotland.