Jan's View

By HarlingDarling

Finally, the harvesting of the lingon berries!

Rose had told us about finding a place in the forest where the lingon berries were like cherries, huge, beautifully red and so plentiful she was desperate to go back there! So we planned an expedition. With coffee and with sandwiches, with waterproofs and with hopeful, big buckets for the harvest. We headed off into the mist, again with the mist! With added rain! (my favourite, as you know I love rain, really really love it. It's part of my personal development work. Thanks Daveen! Along with adding the middle name "Grateful" to my given name. I decided I needed an adjective not the noun "gratitude" that I first thought of.)

We drove down a rather slim dirt road to Byviken and headed off into the foresty areas away from the shoreline. Before long we spotted massive lingon berries right by the path - in huge clusters. So, although we were not yet at the Lingon Shangri-la, we picked. Within no time at all we had litres of the gorgeous, in fact perfect berries. I have picked for 40 years and have never, ever seen such bounty. The conditions must have been absolutely right for this to happen, our new gold standard for berries.

Tomorrow I will be making lingonsylt, which is a sort of runny jam that we use on our morning yoghurt/kefir. It is a sort of sour but delicious taste and it goes well with meat dishes too. The nearest thing I can think of is cranberries. I love the colour, like glowing jewels nestling in among the intense green of the leaves - it's a lovely plant! In the blip you can see the picker I use, it's a child-size version that I like better than the bigger one most grown ups wield. The yoghurt pot is the first place I empty them into, then that goes into the big bucket-with-a-lid.

Getting back to the car involved some rock climbing on loose mosses and with added wet rotting branches on steep slopes. Hilarious Mr Keith "thought there would be a path here" - I never learn that the man trained as an outdoor leader has his moments! Rose took it very well, I too it very slowly. We dashed into town and the second-hand shop where Rose needed to buy some bits of material and I naturally found treasure. A little tapestry waxwing to play with, two enamel mugs and a device that chops the top off boiled eggs and neatly becomes an eggcup when you turn it upside down. Clever!

We attended a political meeting that had the potential to be a right fight, but it turned into a wandering around the houses discussion instead of a slugging match. After enough wandering, I said my piece about good leadership involving allowing people to make mistakes without ridiculing them. And that we need to remember that there are new representatives coming into the group and they have to feel welcomed, not scared off by sharp remarks between the old timers. I think it was received in the way I meant it, as encouragement rather than more ridicule. Hope so anyway. We risk scaring new people off, especially younger women. Groups of volunteers working together, so much potential for strife, so little authority to lead!

Our very long day out ended at about 9 with a spot of sugar-shopping, need lots for the lingon. Once home Keith fried sausages, I turned my nose up at them and had some crisps and did my blip comments! Not sure this counts as health food so I have now poured myself a small glass of red, for the sake of balance.

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