July 28th, 2010


I've got nothing against blueberries. They're fine. It's just that they're a bit bland and unexciting. As this guy said on the radio the other day, they're "an easy listening fruit".

It was in a programme all about berries. Apparently the industry talks about major berries and minor berries. Major berries would be strawberries and blueberries- possibly raspberries- and minor berries would be everything else. Apparently the only British supermarket that still stocks gooseberries is Booths.

Until quite recently blueberries were exotic. I'm sure I never saw them in the shops when I was a kid. Their success is down to their hardiness; easy to grow (in the right climate), easy to store and transport. Those blueberries in your local supermarket- that have elbowed the minor berries off  the shelves-  could well have been harvested a month ago. It suited the industry to sell us blueberries, so they marketed them to us as a health-giving superfood. Complete tosh, of course. They're not bad for us, but they're no better than any other fruit. Gah, what saps we are!

I regret the gooseberry. The gooseberry is a wonderful fruit.  We had a gooseberry patch at the bottom of our garden. I remember picking them and "topping and tailing" them with a sharp knife and my mother or grandmother baking them into pies and crumbles. The taste is utterly distinctive and the acid makes your eyes water- but in a good way. I want them back. Please Mr Sainsbury, if you're listening, how about clearing the blueberries out of one just one little bin and filling it with gooseberries instead? You stock 'em, I'll buy 'em. Do we have a deal?

Tobacco Advertising

Someone in my mother's village- probably the owner of the general store- collects old advertising placards. You walk up to the store- which is set well back from the road- and they surround you-  nailed to walls and fences.

I particularly like this one...