In 2009 we planted some perry pear trees to celebrate the birth of our first four grandchildren.
The first planting was Winnal’s Longdon which has special significance as the variety originated in Weston-under-Penyard where Brian was born. As more grandchildren arrived in subsequent years we planted more trees.
We now have Brandy, Blakeney Red and the one bright spot of 2020 was a sufficiently good crop of Hendre Huffcap and Yellow Huffcap to make single-variety batches. Both had reached a specific gravity of 1010 by New Year’s Day. Our chief taster, Fran, declared them up to standard and we have put some in champagne bottles to mature. In a few months’ time we’ll report on progress.
As for the orchard the emergence of daffodil shoots reminds us that we need to be finishing pruning. This will include trimming off lower branches broken by muntjacs and higher branches by fallow deer.
Our popular Jack’s Tipple cider recognizes the previous generations who have managed our traditional orchard. Planted in 1959 by Fran’s father Jack Greenway it has supplied cider apples to Bulmers and Westons. Jack would meet his friend Norman Weston in the Slip Tavern in Much Marcle (beware any visitor who occupied their barside stools) and discuss business as well as share village gossip. There may be some truth in the family story that payment was in cider rather than money.
Another snippet of family history from that era, verified by Fran’s mother, was of the postman nipping into the cellar to pour a horn of cider from the barrel to sustain him on his round.