On Bute there were two stands of blackthorn. If one was lucky and it was a good year, and one got there before anybody else, it was possible to make enough sloe gin to comfort oneself throughout the Christmas season, and also a few carefully selected friends. One could drink one’s way through the island’s entire stock of sloes.
I watched the blossom very thoughtfully in the spring. I was not going to be able to drink my way through Ayrshire’s sloes.
I identifies a stand of bushes on a quiet road, and last Thursday after work, with an indigo sky and a Bloody Mary sun I stopped on the way home from work and began picking. It was fast apparent there lots of sloes, large and luscious, but nearly all of them were just out of my reach. So I climbed the somewhat rickety fence, and picked. The sloes retreated, and I climbed, clutching the thorny tree to my bosom. The road was deserted, and then the tractors came. The first one had a driver whose jaw sagged, the next one opened his mouth, and the third one’s jaw fairly dropped.
Had nobody told the idiot middle aged woman balancing on the top of an old fence that those bushes were not brambles? My, she would get an awful shock when she baked her pies.