Now we're talking. This is what it's all about. Absolute bucolic heaven. We look forward to this day all year, it's better than Christmas by far. The day we go strawberry picking deep in the Sussex countryside, with views of rolling hills and a tiny glint of Bewl water reservoir in the distance. The strawberries this year are huge, and there are thousands of them. The woman womaning the pay shed told me they had a bumper crop, so I asked her:
"What makes a year a good strawberry year?" keen to get some top tips for the allotment next year.
"Its in the lap of the Gods!" she replied, insinuating that the weather, slugs, winter, birds and all that nature seems to throw at our fruit growing efforts, made not much difference at all. Well, fancy that.
So we ambled up to the first field , the children galloping ahead and stopping at the first plant they see with a hint of red jewels, quickly scoffing them before I had chance to tell them the rules of strawberry picking.
1. Only pick the strawberries that are completely red.
2. Only eat a few, the farmer works very hard all year and we should pay for them at the end.
3. Pick the strawberry with its green hat on so that it stays fresh for longer.
4. Please try not to get strawberry juice all down the school uniform.
After a really wonderful time in the late afternoon sunshine we took far too many strawberries home with us, heavy with the days sun and still warm.