An Occasional Piece for British Apple Season

It is half past three in the afternoon on a weekday in October 2011, I unlock the red front door of my house. I am sad because I had always wanted to be a green door when I was younger. After getting home from school, I would always allow myself a yoghurt (low fat), a cup of instant coffee with semi-skimmed milk and an apple. Cox’s Orange Pippin was and still is my favourite. It is getting dark outside, but I don’t mind because there are two wonderfully big orange-red balls waiting for me in the kitchen, I choose the biggest, apples are the exception to my always pick the smallest rule.

I am sitting on the sofa watching cartoons, my coffee is hot, my yoghurt pot is empty and the Cox is waiting for me: Still wrapped in a sheet of kitchen roll, I pick up my apple and imagine the attractive carmine colouring. I hold him in my right hand and give him a shake. He is ripe and ready, I can hear his seeds rattling around inside his core!
I begin to move my entire body and pretend my insides are rattling around inside my kitchen roll skin. I peel away the paper and bring the cox to my open mouth, tangy aromatic juice lands on my tongue and dribbles down my face after every bite until the yellow flesh is transformed into a perfectly malnourished version of its former self.

A long time ago in 1858 I was sitting with my Grandfather at the table in the kitchen watching him peel a huge apple. It was a Wednesday afternoon and the golf was was on the television. The apple was yellow with red stripes and near enough 500 grams. Grandad was preparing apples for Mrs Peasgood. Mrs Peasgood had become quite famous in the area because of her ability to make a whole pie from a single apple: They would say, ‘Wow! Mrs Peasgood, can you really make a whole pie from a single apple?’ ‘Yes of course.’ She would always reply with.
Mrs Peasgood had inherited her baking abilities from her Mother, Mrs Catshead, a sharp, yet lumpy looking woman who would without a doubt, wear electric green every day. Poor Mrs Peasgood never saw much of her parents as they moved to Virginia sometime around 1600.

It is about half five in the evening now, my Father has just come in from work, he is in the kitchen thinking about what to make for dinner. Uninspired, Dad goes into the garden, ‘Can you prepare two potatoes for me?’ He shouts before he closes the back door. In the kitchen I open the cupboard door where we usually store potatoes and have a feel around for a couple of good ones. I remember back in 1998, the year my sister was born, we took a trip to Bardsey Island and dressed up as monks. It was the year that a single apple tree was discovered in the same area that an ancient orchard belonging to a monastery used to stand. In our robes, we were allowed to gently touch the apples, one by one. I still see the red and gold colour, and gosh that sweet lemon aroma! I remember as I was taking my turn with the tree an apple fell to the ground, I hid my windfall prize in my hood and kept that sacred object until it rotted away.

In each hand I hold a warty potato, I rub them all over my arms in an attempt to relieve my knotted muscles. I look down expecting the eyes to have fallen off, but these potatoes have no eyes. Green and yellow potatoes with a black knobby russet. These are apples I am sure, I take a bite: Soft and creamy flesh, I hold it in my mouth until my stomach cannot take it any longer. I have already had my share of apple today, so I prepare the old maids for boiling. Dad comes in from the garden and takes over in the kitchen, we are going to have fried leek and potato with chickpeas, I have time to go for a run before tea. It is dark outside now, I shut the door behind me and turn right towards the house belonging to Alfred Hull. Mr Hull grows delightful apples in his garden, he named them after his daughter Pam, who sadly died in 1964. There is a very bright light keeping aglow that famous bathroom windowsill where those tiny seeds were first planted.

I am up in the Carse of Gowrie, it has been many years since I have been scrumping, but in the grounds of Megginch Castle I spot a tree full of lovely dark red apples with pink streaks. As run closer I can hear their ribbed texture calling my name. Hot and sweaty, I take off my top and fashion a bag to hold my stolen apples, I hear a loud noise.

I am laying on the ground now and I can’t get up, it must have been raining because I am feeling very soggy. There is a woman walking away from me towards a compost heap, she is carrying my bag of apples.


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