Sunday 19 September 2010

Tart, as in bitter

15st 10lb, 7.1 units. I spend day after day sitting at my desk in an office with not quite enough to do. Then I come home to sort out some things around the house and end up spending most of the day writing a speech for a client. At any rate that was how yesterday panned out. In the evening I went for supper with about 20 members of my extended family at the Morpeth restaurant I last visited for what I coyly described as a “not altogether successful lunch” on 2 July. In fact it was a bit of a disaster, with the epic slowness of the service driving my elder brother to the verge of apoplexy. And, since we were just about their only customers on that occasion, it was hard to fathom a plausible excuse. This evening offered the converse of fast food, too, but at least the place was heaving and the dishes, when they arrived, were absolutely delicious, so really there was nothing much to complain about. A couple of my cousins were taking part in the Great North Run today, so naturally they were the first to leave so that they could get to the pub and start their preparations in real style.

Back in Cheshire this afternoon, I watched Mrs H and The Boy as they picked apples in what an estate agent would no doubt describe as our “orchard”. This includes two plum trees, both bearing delicious fruit, though absolutely every plum seems to ripen at precisely the same moment in the middle of the night: the only saving grace is that they are clearly different varieties, one of which was ready to eat in July while the other is just approaching the pinnacle of juicy deliciousness right now. I picked a pair of them and they were still a bit firm and slightly sour. I did this with the other tree a couple of months ago, repeating the exercise on a daily basis until I felt sure that, on the next morning, they would be absolutely perfect. I duly approached the tree, basket in hand, and found that the entire crop had turned over-ripe and mushy literally overnight.

Child labour in Britain, 2010

We'll have him stitching footballs by the time he's three

Then there is the crab apple tree, which would be handy for making crab apple jelly if we knew (a) how to do it and (b) what to use it for. The pear tree that, this year, has produced hardly any pears at all. The mysterious tree that must clearly be supposed to yield fruit since it is stuck in the middle of an orchard, but appears to do nothing at all. Perhaps, come to think of it, it is the other trees’ boss. And finally there are the apple trees – three of the buggers, one evidently bearing Bramleys, one another variety of large, green cooking apple, and the third smaller, red apples that look like they ought to be for eating, but are distinctly tart. And not in a good way, like “apple tart” or “f*** me, look at that tart over there!” Just tart, as in bitter. Which is rather how I would feel, to be honest, if I’d planted these trees and this was all I had to show for it.

1 comment:

CC said...

Thanks once again for all the amusement.
Love the pictures of Charlie Appleseed and
his Mum in the orchard as well.