Saturday was cider day and Mike and I were up, out and at Jacqueline's by nine thirty. Our friends Anna and William joined us for this part of the cider process and I was very pleased they did, or we would have been short handed on the job. I took the trailer position with Anna emptying the pressed pulp out of the pressing cloths and Mike teamed up with Pierre Lecerlc shovelling the apples into the hopper. William was press cloth organiser and runaway apple collector. Once the press and crusher was up and functional we were off, all photos taken before the start as there is no time to dally once the process is underway. The weather was fantastic during our three hour whirl wind of activity feeding the crusher with apples and preparing for the next pressing. The juice just poured out of the apples and into the barrels in Jacqueline's cellar and the whole ambiance is one of achievement and productivity. At one O'clock, the last of the apples was crushed and pressed and the equipment all put away for next year and we went in for a three hour lunch. I enjoy listening in to the chit chat between these country people the two men who did the pressing are farmers and do this activity once a year and after they had drunk the cellar dry and eaten Jacqueline out of house and home they climbed into their tractor and set off to their afternoon appointment. Pierre Leclerc is the barrel carer and went out of his way to proclaim that all this was the fruits of our labour, all your apples, he kept saying and I do wonder if this event would actually happen if Mike and I did not get involved. Jacqueline says that she gets more help from us than she does her neighbours and friends but then picking apples is a hard and time consuming activity and I suspect all those who have done it over the years saw us coming and made their excuses.
On Sunday with achey-breakie muscles we set off on a ride to Vire to collect a kitchen unit that matches our existing kitchen. We have decided that the kitchen needs more facilities and a centre isles is the answer but doing it in such a way that will not destroy the farm house kitchen feel. It is difficult if not a little risky. We got the unit home and although the doors match, it was just too long so Mike applied his ability to see past the problem and cut a whole cupboard's worth out and butted it all up again with a magic and invisible seam and tomorrow we will go out to buy the wood he needs to finish the job. We could not go today as it is the first of November, All Saints Day and all the shops are shut and everybody is on the road visiting family and laying flowers at the graves of their parents. It is a good public holiday if not a little morbid because, like Bastille day, it is taken very seriously so I for one am glad to stay at home to reflect on the concept hoping for good weather so every one can get to where they are going and enjoy this Autumn family celebration.
Good new is that Mike cleared out the courgette plants from the poly this afternoon. He managed a small crop for which I gave him a mouthful but the season is over and that is that, so soon and so decisively