Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on berries, bunnies and building schools from corn

It's that time of year again: mists, mellow fruitfulness and unexplained heatwaves. A national newspaper columnist describes picking a bag of mulberries and not having a clue what to do with them. Read on . . .

Norman Painting – self-sufficient in mulberries.

I was first introduced to mulberries by Norman Painting, better known as Phil Archer of the radio series The Archers who was holding a charity open day at his mansion in a secluded Warwickshire village. He had a huge mulberry tree which produced thousands of berries. He pulped them and stirred them into goats' milk ice cream; delicious.

Painting's aim was to become self-sufficient. Some of his protein came in the form of rabbits reared in a large hutch. Sentimentally, I asked whether he gave them names. “But of course,” Painting replied. “That's Pie One, Pie Two, Pie Three . . . .”