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Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Michaelmas!

It’s quite disconcerting, especially on a beautiful morning like this one, to contemplate the fact of the endless war on the spiritual plane between St. Michael and all the hosts of the heavenly army on one side, and Satan and his evil minions on the other, with you and me and everyone else caught right in the middle.  But there it is.  Whether we like it or even acknowledge it or not.

By the bye, October 11, which was the old Michaelmas until the calendar got switched around, is also known as the Devil Spits Day and, according to folklore, one shouldn’t pick blackberries after this day.  (Yes, I’m writing about it two weeks early.)   The story is that the devil got kicked out of heaven on October 11 and landed in a blackberry bush, on which he vented his spleen, ruining the berries.

There’s a patch of wild blackberries out the back gate of Port Swiller Manor but you need not fear for Ol’ Robbo on this front because the things didn’t really give any fruit this year.  (Blackberries only fruit on mature stalks, not new growth.  Any winter we get any kind of reasonable snowfall usually breaks the stalks down, so the new ones coming up the following summah don’t produce.)

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