The long awaited Operation Blackberry finally went underway last week. Basically, Parsley and I set about drastically cutting back all the brambles that were surrounding the plot. Satan had truly had his way with the berries by this point, as for the most part they were shriveled and inedible.
I went to it with customary brio, yet in the true way of nature vs nurture, I felt divided. All this from someone who was ready to nuke the lot! For the most part I was using my telescopic loppers - yes they are as awesome as they sound, even if it's not the technical term for them. As some of the thorny stems were so thick and buried it took good old Python power to hack them up. Otherwise we were getting in with the secateurs. Make no mistake it's a messy job. Sir Cakealot had forewarned me in a scene that unfolded not entirely unlike this :
Sir Cakealot brings three steaming goblets of tea to his round table where he's holding council with his wife Lady Masters and his aide Sir Edward of Wakefield.
Sir Cakealot : 'Hark, Sir Edward. M'lady tells me you are set to tackle the veritable beast that is the bramble bush on yonder.'
Sir Edward : 'T'is true me Lord, I have about my person the very weapons by which I shall best the beast,' so saying Sir Edward arrays before him an axe, throwing knives & c.
Sir Cakealot : 'Hmmm, you may need more than that, there are wild cats about, the Manx sort as I have heard; the brambles are as steel and will whip and gouge at the merest provocation too. Look,' Sir Cakealot draws back the sleeves of his tunic and displays an impressive array of white scars, small lacerations offset by coiled serpentine wounds.
Sir Edward : 'Ha, t'is but sport sir! Let us see what the day brings.'
Lady Masters : 'Grow up.'
I ignored the pain of getting my arms shredded. Even with a jumper on I was pockmarked by the cat tooth sharpness of some of the thorns. It was like a jungle, a dense canopy of old, dead leather brown stems and the hardy youth of the emerging new ones. The cutting back was addictive though, so we kept going, amassing some three or four giant piles of thorny detritus.
Sir Cakealot brought magnums over at around four o' clock. That gave me some much needed energy and I went ape with a rake, smashing down and pulling up bramble city aka cat city. The felines love it in there, what with frogs, rats and mice. That or they're just being weirdos.
In the meantime, I shall mostly be admiring my own collection of small scars. It's like a tally of how many bramble kills I've made. I'm not violent, honest.
A good days work makes for a bit o' the old two thumbs fresh.