Last evening we went to the annual Cyder Club party in the next village. Lots of home-made cider to drink and, in the tasting tent, those that were entered in the competition. The quality is variable – some rich and potent with a sherryish flavour, others somewhat acidic and some simply peculiar. The Sage is a member of the club, although he doesn’t make cider himself, but enjoys the social angle of the monthly meeting, when he goes along to help with the apple pressing, bottling or whatever is going on. My contribution is saving any screw-top wine bottles to donate. Jenny won the prize for the best cider.
When we arrived the cover was just being taken off the hog-roast contraption. Adrian spent a couple of years perfecting it -the spit is powered by a motor and he was using ash logs for the fire. He started it off at about 9 in the morning and it takes the best part of 12 hours to cook through. It tastes gorgeous. He did the hog roast for El and Phil’s wedding party – a local caterer did one for Al and Dilly’s which, though very good, did not have the barbecue flavour, having been cooked in the oven.
There were lots of people there and it was a great evening. Farmer friends (who provided the unfortunate, though tasty pig) introduced me to a delightful French girl who is staying with them for two months, while studying fairly locally (I didn’t catch where, but it is in a farming-related course). We chatted, and she asked about the band. I said that they were a local band, not professionals. “Is this traditional English country music?” she asked. “We don’t have music like this at home.” “Er, it’s sixties pop,” I explained. “About the same age as the people dancing to it.” “Hi, ho, silver lining” joined in the dancers, waving their arms in the air. We moved outside to continue our talk as the band moved on to the Stones.
I was circumspect in the quantity I drank. Young cider can be deceptively strong and quite acidic too and I had no intention of risking an uncomfortable night. Camille, having politely drunk a small amount, was avoiding it…however, when we went for some cheese, I noticed that she chose the Stilton and Cheddar over the Camembert, though she didn’t recognise Cheddar and had to ask me.
Today, my sister came for a visit, driving up from Wiltshire. We met at the pub – I went there from church to get the drinks in and the Sage, Al, Dilly and the children and Ro followed soon afterwards. Rosie, the landlord’s daughter, was behind the bar, home from her gap year of teaching in a village school in south India. I’ve known her since she was about ten, she’s a lovely girl. Our drinks, two pints of bitter, a pint of Guinness, a half of shandy, an orange squash and a large glass of wine, came to £10.90 (you see how I remember these things for you). Afterwards, we went home for a barbecue in Dilly and Al’s garden and sat there all afternoon chatting. Just a baked potato and some cheese for supper, and my sister Wink is already in bed and asleep.