SEPTEMBER, beautiful September. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this is one of the loveliest months, a last hurrah for summer before October raises an Eeyore-like head to herald the proper arrival of autumn. (I know the Met Office says September is officially autumn, but what do they know?)
September’s promise is of clear, balmy days and crisp nights, perfect for taking some time off now that the children are back at school and not clogging up the place when you bob out for a lunchtime sandwich.
In the countryside the trees are heavy with fruit and the hedgerows dotted with berries, especially blackberries. We’re fond of a blackberry, the present Mrs Castle and I, and we have had our first forage of the year to pick a few.
It seems to be a good year again for the bramble and our fingers were soon purple-stained by bursting berries. Meanwhile at knee height the dogs were browsing and grazing on the fruit, carefully plucking the ripe ones and leaving the red. Who knew that hounds were fruitarian?
We gleaned about three pounds, or 1.2kg if you’re so inclined, the dogs probably about the same. Ours will be for a crumble and more importantly, for a bottle or two of blackberry gin.
Of course they will be excellent but not a patch on the many fabulous things created by the entrants in the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards this month.
The proud winners will be admiring their trophies and rightly basking in the glory for this year the competition has been even more fierce, with record numbers of entries. We’ll bring you the full picture next month.
I HAD a bit of fun for this issue, visiting eight of the county’s castles in a single day. It was an idea partly sparked by my surname of course; had I been called Church I’d still be out there.
It was a moment of slight madness, given that I barely had time to jog round one site before moving on to the next, but I’m glad I did it as I’d not been to several of the castles since I was an inky schoolboy and have never been to Caister Castle. I still haven’t, as it was shut which serves me right for not checking first.
One thing that did strike me was how quiet many of these places were, even in the height of the holiday season. The exception was Castle Rising, where enthusiastic historical re-enactors entertained the crowds with the clang of sword on shield and the bang of musketry (they covered a lot of history).
Norfolk’s castles might not be as grand, in many cases, as the country’s big cheeses like Dover or Windsor or Warwick, but they have much to offer, not least a sense of tranquillity slightly at odds with their warlike past. I’m looking forward to going around again but at a less frantic pace.
FINALLY, a small apology. In last month’s issue we printed a photo of a small wading bird which was incorrectly captioned, proof, were it needed, that I don’t know my avocet from my elbow.
Dominic Castle Editor, EDP Norfolk Magazine 01603 772758 / 07725 201153 firstname.lastname@example.org