Tack is turning to Hub, if you follow TofE’s adapted Blodgett method for defining the seasons, and the blackberries are beginning to ripen. Who knows what adventures might befall me this year when I venture out with my picking-punnet? Yesterday I strolled towards the scene of my thrilling encounter with the Warning Berry (which I’m sure you haven’t forgotten).
As I walked I saw on the lane ahead what appeared to be a black panther or possibly a puma, peering with malevolent intent into the hedgerow. Getting closer it inevitably became a domestic cat (it only takes a slight trick of perspective to turn moggies into tigers, they are perfect scale models; no wonder these Beast of Bodmin-type stories won’t go away.) Anyway, the cat suddenly leapt at the hedge and ripped away with something in its mouth that squealed appallingly. I wasn’t close enough to tell if it was a bird or a rodent struggling in those feline jaws, but the noise was awful, until, awfully, it stopped. Thus cats; nature’s horrible bastards.
When walking I often like to chew on a straw or stalk plucked from the hedgerow. It’s amazing how having a straw or stalk between your teeth makes you feel…bucked. One can’t help but saunter, swagger even: a mind-body trick, like the alpha male posture of walking with your hands clasped behind your back, front fully exposed as if to say “Look at how confident I am that I won’t be punched. I am invulnerable.” Very few men can walk into a strange room with their hands clasped behind their back, probably just Prince Philip, Barack Obama and a handful of Rear-Admirals.
In Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty there’s a nice little observation about a character who keeps describing the sort of person he is (“I’m the sort of guy who always says what he thinks”; “I don’t bear grudges, I’m not that type of person” etc). The effete narrator marvels at his self-confidence and wonders, absurdly, if he could pull it off: “I’m the sort of guy who prefers Pope to Wordsworth.” Next time the opportunity arises I might declare that “I’m the sort of guy who saunters along chewing a straw or stalk plucked from the hedgerow.” Reminds me of Ron Burgundy’s chat-up line in the brilliant comedy film Anchorman: “I’m kind of a big deal….I have many leatherbound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
Hmm…though maybe such self-awareness isn’t necessarily so desirable... “I’m the type of person who picks blackberries and then writes about it on the internet.”