Apples. Press. Cider?

Right! A blog. A first really. I typed a bit on Facebook after a couple of strong bottles of local cider. Drank a third and got all…..this subject of cider? Very much deserves a blog. So. Here I am typing stuff. Not sure of what is to develop here. So Cut and Paste the Facebook stuff and start adding. Hunt inside the Facebook words and, as said, add, add, add. By the end of this? Who knows. Could have changed my Last Will and Testament and given it all back to myself. 😉

Well. If you follow my drinking faves then the God given Jack Daniels, as you know, is King in my life. But. Way back when, in the 1970/1980s, when we first came to holiday in Wales in a static home type caravan chained down on a farm near Kington, was a traditional visit to Dunkertons Cider makers near Pembridge. We bought gallon sized demijohns of Kingston Black and got more than squiffy sitting outside under the stars. As the sun disappeared? At times warm in retrospect. But at times in spring or autumn. Cold as cold. Despite grabbed blankies or woollen cardies topped off with duffel coats. Glorious days. P****d and not bothered. Wake up in the later morning…..actually….very bothered. That’s what our heads told us!

I have drunk cider from time to time since. But it’s been those ciders everyone knows. Cheap supermarket varieties. So…. a few days off from work and I asked Angie to get me some local cider from her shop. So glad I did. First up. They’re strangely strong in % value. Drank first tonight at about 5.30 after a stir fry. Don’t know why I mention a stir fry. Could have been a cheese and chip sandwich. Doesn’t matter really. The Dunkertons first? Probably because of past history knowing the brand attached. I went back to the 1970s/1980s in a flash. Smiled and thought ‘If the others are as good as this? I’ll be pretty chuffed’.

Followed up with the Berriew. Like a Scrumpy I drank back in Butlins when I was very young and got very p****d on a half pint. Mum was mortified. Dad just smiled. The Berriew was smooth, a large bottle and tasted perfect. Just started on the Old Crow. Deeper, a little more sour, but lovely nature. So. Three local ciders and thumbs up to them all. Going to try some more of our Welsh ciders. May even try to make some from our apple trees in the garden. That would be fun.

One thought! Does Jack Daniels and local cider mix?

Strength values. 6.8% Berriew medium. 7.4% Old Crow. Dunkertons 6.8%. Great choice % wise Angie.

By the way! I’m looking at the Berriew label in this pic below and know it is skeewiff…………or is it?

So. After these bottled nectars? I thought. I got a ton of apples on the 9 ancient apple trees from 100 year plus old trees in my garden. So? Now I’ve been ‘apple press’ Google searching/looking. Why? Every year it’s the same old same old. Promise to pick them. Even got one of those metal 3 length, strap them together apple picker thingies that grab the apples that are up top of the trees. They’re the best. Closer to the sky, heaven and God. No grubby little beasties dare get inside the apple skins and turn them into a mess of whirly badness. And. Every year of going late into the garden. Same feelings. Fed up with yearly drops onto the grass in the garden, bruised and battered joyous Adam and Eve oldest fruit mentioned and the snake equivalent of wasps having a field day.

So after tonight’s Cider exuberance? Been singing that Wurzel song all night and making up my own words 😳 ’Oi am a Soider drinker, Oil drink it all night long. Oi am a Soider drinker, coz it makes me break into song. Doo ra doo R’s day doo ra doo Rs hey. So? I reckon…..I’ll make my own this year…..maybe. Got no idea what’s involved cost wise. Check it out tomorrow. On a nurses wages? May just have to collect them, shove ‘em in a big old bucket and jump up and down on the Granny Smiths equivalent Victorian varieties in wellies. Can I afford wellies?

9 comments

  1. Cider? Try 180 proof Apple Jack. I drank that stuff one time, in 1973, Galveston, Texas. I had it over at The Texas Rifleman’s apartment (he was a trick shot, won numerous awards as a sharp shooter over the years). This stuff he picked up in Terragona, Spain. It was basically drinking straight alcohol. He was impressed I had several shots of it with him. I was impressed that my alimentary tract held up. We got on his horse and rode down the beach on the gulf coast, singing old cowboy songs that everyone knows, except we made up new, bawdy lyrics and laughed like hyenas. Somewhere along the beach, I fell from the horse and Frank just kept on. He later found me passed out on his way back. It was a hot night and I was fine. He threw a canteen of water over my head and yelled at me to hop on. We went back to his apartment where his wife waiting with a rolling pin in her hand. “You don’t take off drunk as a skunk, Frank, leaving me alone here to worry about you.” “But we were on the horse and he knows the way.” “Frank, that horse died ten years ago. You two were on the motorcycle.” Several years later, a friend called me from Galveston to let me know the best shot in the West had blown off his head in his apartment. He left a note to his wife saying he could no longer stand the chronic pain he was in. He had had back surgery that failed and he no longer could shoot or ride his motorcycle. “Why should I put up with this shit any longer?” There were no services, Frank Miller was only the Texas Rifleman in his imagination. He had been an expert shot and had fought in WW2. Oh, he had won a lot of awards for his marksmanship and he had at least 30 championship patches on his Texas Rifleman’s Levi’s jacket he always wore, but he was not the best shot in the west. Just one of many. He may have been a champion Apple Jack drinker. I am sure it dulled his chronic pain. As he said to me before we had our first shot of it that evening in 1973, “It’s the REAL TING, Mister.”

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    • Glorious. Love your stories. Bon Jovi sang ‘I’m a cowboy, On a steel horse I ride’. And a bike wheelie would feel like you were on a rearing stallion I suppose. Laughed at the explanation of this crazy night. Sad ending though. There’s a fantasy book I read once by Robert Holdstock called Mythago Wood. I seem to remember, if it indeed was that book because I read so many similar in the 1970/80s, that a guy making cider urinated into the vat. Said it made it stronger. That’s how you get to 180% proof apparently. Joking. Nice to hear from you again Michael. Hope you’re chipper.

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  2. Many a fine plan is hatched after the third bottle of anything, good luck 🙂
    On the two occasions we have made it the first time we chopped the apples by hand and mashed with a pummel made from an oak tree that I had chopped down the year before. Last year we found an industrial shredding machine (from Ukraine) which made a lovely pulp for pressing.

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    • My wife, Angie, has a wholefood shop in Machynlleth, here in Wales. Her customers are very keen on all things eco and pursue and try so many interesting hobbies/old traditional ways of life. There are people who specialise in identifying herbs, plants and……apple varieties. Some have presses too. So, my adventure may well begin. Probably next year though. You sound like you are so inherently comfortable with all things regarding a natural lifestyle. Such joy I bet! I remember making a pole lathe once way back when. Also Raku firing pottery in a made up kiln out in the open air in Warwick University with a friend who loved my mystical creations made with White St. Thomas/raku/ivory clays. We scraped Raku down fine enough to make beautiful lampshades. Challenges like these fascinate my curiosity. Nursing? When I retire hopefully next year at 65, I can begin again to seek solace in the Goodlife ethic. Lovely to hear from you again Eddy. And thank you for the advice.

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      • In our area and certainly amongst the company we keep there is a lot of interest in a natural lifestyle. For me I’m just a tight Yorkshireman at heart and like anything for nothing (despite the hard graft) 🙂

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  3. My wife had a business partner in her Wholefood shop. About a year and a half ago this business partner went to live in Brighouse to be with her partner who works in SUMA, the Yorkshire based food and other consumer products supplier. She opened up a vegan shop in the Piece Halls, Halifax. My wife and I have run it for her a number of times now so she can get a holiday. They have to open Monday to Sunday. No days off. Long and short of this little story? I’ve visited Yorkshire about 8 times now over the last year and a half. Both for working in the vegan shop and for holidays to visit our friend. Love the countryside. Driven to many towns and beauty spots. My fave of all? Saltaire! Oh! Love the Charity Shops too. Very reasonably priced. All the best.

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  4. Hi Gray.
    Sorry about the silence but I was in hospital for a week and then have been recovering at home for, so far, five days. A serious infection so drip fed with antibiotics. Not Covid-19.
    Lots of ‘adventures’ which I’m sure you’d appreciate but I decided not to do a post as the care assistants, nurses and other support staff (cleaners, meal bringers, etc) were absolutely wonderful so I didn’t want to risk them being tarred with the same brush as some of the hierarchy, about which I would have been extremely rude!

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    • So sorry Roger re:your infection. IV antibiotics, so a bit of a whammy infection. May knock you sideways for a fair few weeks…..months even.So give yourself some gentle relaxation and TLC. Possibility of Covid would have really worried you I’m sure. So….Phew! Hierarchy? Enough said. Naive and inept beyond belief. I’m afraid that they will lose my contribution as a nurse. I will be giving up. Decision made. My morals and ethics have been, and still are, seriously challenged in the way they are handling this. That is my ultimate ‘don’t go there’ area. To go back to yourself again. So pleased you are recovering. Medicine? Lots of that marvellous food you write about. It’ll build your immune system back up nicely. All the best.

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      • Hi Gray. I’m sure your decision to get out of nursing is correct; you’ve done more than your bit! It was good to know about the IV antibiotics; nobody had told me that before. Did you get the personal message I sent on Messenger to ‘Gray Summers Too’? I wanted to talk to you more privately.

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