Tuesday, 10 August 2021

The Return of the Wild Raspberries

For me, one of most moving parts in Archie Montgomery's reminiscence about staying with his grandmother, Lady Langman, at Balintore Castle was his reference to picking the wild raspberries along the drive. Since then many things changed: Lady Langman died in 1963 and the castle fell into dereliction. 

However, the wild raspberries are still here. With the transience of life, we cling on to the eternal or seemingly eternal. Great solace and joy is to be had from the stars, familiar landscapes and in this instance, the wild raspberries.

wild raspberries at Balintore this year

This year has been a bumper one for raspberries, and as I walked past the bushes yesterday, I reminisced about my own acquaintance with Archie Montgomery, as he himself passed away on the 17th July this year. It goes without saying that I cherished this connection with Balintore's past, and his death totally took me by surprise.     

Archie is the chap who commissioned this fantastic drone panorama of the landscape around Balintore Castle as part of creating a diorama in the snooker room of North Cadbury Court in Somerset, which houses the original billiard table from Balintore Castle. So in a sense the snooker table is now back at Balintore, albeit a virtual recreation courtesy of digital technology.

high resolution Balintore panorama (courtesy of Andrew Holt)

Balintore Castle on the snooker room wall

the Balintore landscape on the snooker room wall

This year, I spotted some of the raspberries had a golden hue. Googling reveals that yellow raspberries do occur in nature (a recessive gene) but Darwin found they did not survive longer term as the birds don't like them! Naturally, I sampled and my palate found the taste of the yellow to be superior - I had been expecting an identical flavour. 

wild golden raspberries at Balintore this year

in memory of
Archie Montgomery 
13th August 1957 - 17th July 2021

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