Nettle tingles and searing scratches ripple through my typing fingers this evening, and 6 jars of blackberry and apple jam stand on the worktop for my pains. But despite the scars (and they are abundant), there is something deeply satisfying about blackberrying - it marks the end of summerness and the start of the slow slide towards autumn. I love the fact that my children love it too - munching dark, stainy mouthfuls and spitting out seeds, reluctantly dislodged from dental crevices.
Why, my younger son asks, do the best berries always dangle from the most inaccessible part of the bramble eruption? Not quite so inaccessible to my longer arms, but still an annoyingly uncomfortable and often scratchy reach. Dress carefully for such forays - tough old jeans, long sleeves and boots to stomp down the accompanying nettles - or regret it at your peril.
But look at these almost metallic beauties with their juicy juice-bags. Yum, yum, yum. Ouch, ouch, ouch. More painful than Estonian mushrooming, but just as satisfying.