A Berry Good Day Detecting

Inferiority Complex – Circa 2012

A few years ago I made this comment on my fledgling blog :

In the last couple of weeks I have been banned from a metal detecting forum, received an email that said, ‘there is something about you that I don’t like’, told that my writing is ‘crap’, and seen advice to members of a forum not to click on any of my links because they may contain a ‘trap’ and might ‘ravage your computer’. No wonder I have an inferiority complex.  

But I am still here – despite the inference from an infamous blogger with a rhino-like epidermis that I am ‘thin-skinned’. So, what crap have I got in store for you today? And what was the catalyst for this post?


Stephen Grey

This is the familiar face of Stephen Grey, of Anglo Celtic Metal Detecting who gave me the idea. On his FaceAche page he posted a picture of blackberries and commented that when finds were few and far between, he collected the abundant fruit in the hedgerow. He’d also penned a poem:

Fields Blown Dry

by Stephen Grey

Tractors slowly coursing through the dust, 
electric blackberries are a must. 
Born on a bush under a pylon, 
eat them lustily and put your smile on. 

Heat, sweat and dry cracked earth, 
signals interrupted for what it’s worth. 
Waiting for the rains and a special conductivity, 
moist ground and gold for you and me. 

Cool your heels in a river or stream. 
on electric blackberries we do dream. 
Seeing through the Dust and machinery. 
a born optimist surveying the scenery.

A Little History

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of St. Michael the Archangel who hurled the treacherous Lucifer down from Heaven. When the Devil came to Earth, falling from the skies – guess what – he fell straight onto a blackberry bush. I kid you not! He cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat!

Durham County folklore suggests you should not consume blackberries after Michaelmas because the devil has spat on them.

© John Winter

And that’s why I was reminded of my days spent metal detecting, especially around this time – but before Michaelmas! I was never a very good detectorist and often abandoned my swinging to search through the tangle of thorns in the hedge. At least I was guaranteed to return home with a few pounds of blackberries, a different kind of treasure. Thank you Stephen for reviving those distant memories.

Michaelmas, a wonderful celebration of harvest’s end and the start of autumn’s mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats wrote in his famous poem. I have always loved this time of year, for it reminds me of my childhood. I am fascinated with the ancient feast and festivals that surround this now mostly forgotten date.

Stephen – what are ELECTRIC blackberries?

Electric blackberries grow at the feet of those massive pylons. I swear they are bigger and more abundant. Great article John. I did try to comment on your blog but I was asked for a password. I can never remember any 😊


While I Was Away

The girls took advantage of my time in the Hospice and went searching for treasure. This was the result.

4 thoughts on “A Berry Good Day Detecting

  1. Yes John a great post which brings back many memories going out blackberrying as a young teenager with my mother, father, brother and two sisters we would also collect a sack full of crab apples and my mother making many jars of blackberry jam and “Eve Puddings” and make jars of crab apple jelly ( Jam).
    I still carry on this tradition making blackberry “Eve Pudding” and blackberry jam, there is an abundance of brambles at the bottom of my garden I must have picked over 10 pound of them over the past three weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Michaelmas, a wonderful celebration of harvest’s end”.. If only it were Michealmas!! LOL

    I literally, just got into the house from picking blackberries, John, when I read this.. A very timely post.. I had to fight off those horrible yellow jackets [I am deathly allergic to their stings].. but managed to gather well over a gallon.

    Into the freezer they go and this winter , when things are cold and wet, we will be making jams, pies, et al.

    Thank you for another great post.. too many people today do not or cannot see all the bounty in front of them.. mores the pity.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny how the times have changed and the innocence of our youth brings back a flood of warm memories. Memories of picking berries, playing in swimming holes, or standing outside of the church awaiting the christening results (that last one was for you John).

    Imagine the youth of tomorrow and their fond memories of sitting inside their bedrooms thumbs madly clicking away, and regaling their FaceAche triumphs to their children……..I think we are better off.

    Pie anyone?


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