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.