It has been a lovely day today. Bright blue sky and surprisingly warm. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon forest walk. The dog would have preferred to stay by the fire but she was levered, very reluctantly, into the boot of the car.
On the way home, a trailer half full of apples was almost blocking the lane, oh… and there was Madeline in the ditch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her anywhere else but in a ditch.
We slow down as I try to overtake the trailer on this single-track road. Why oh why are the roadside ditches so deep? As we slow down we can hear raised voices… oh, there is Guillaume as well. Madeline is now practically screaming at Guillaume. Guillaume shouts back as he clambers out of the ditch and starts waving at me to go further towards the death trap ditch. The argument continues despite our presence. We slowly edge past the trailer.
‘Same argument every year.’ Guillaume says. ‘Madeline says we should leave the apples for one week. I say, four weeks.’
‘Leave the apples where?’ I ask.
‘Cider. We pick the apples now, a bit late but that’s right, so they are good and ripe. We then leave them in one of those huge black cow watering troughs to ferment a bit. I say we should leave them for 4 weeks to let the natural fermenting process really get started. Madeline only wants to leave them a week before we press the apples. She worries that they will rot. Well, they will a bit, Guillaume concedes but that only improves the flavour, and the strength.’ he whispers.