A spot of blackberrying, a little late in the season. We dawdle up the lane, feet crunching over beech mast. The two smaller boys have drawn maps. We pass through Kenya, New York zoo and dragon island to get to the top of the lane. Suddenly the lure of the small field where there are two felled ash trees far outweighs the task of picking berries and they are gone, playing hide and seek and I am left holding the empty bowl. I slowly pick all I need, or think I need. I never pick with a recipe in mind and never come home with the right amount. Still, this time there is enough to make four small pots of blackberry and apple curd for cakes and scones and suchlike. The wind has picked up a little and there's a scattering of leaves in the garden. I leave the kitchen door open as I make the curd, the berries staining the wooden spoon as they cook, their jammy hedgerow smell is autumn caught in the saucepan.