Enchanted fruit

One of my favourite places at this time of year is a lane at the end of the village that is lined with old fruit trees.

Old trunk | The House at Nab End

Their gnarly branches and lichen-covered twigs lend a touch of enchantment. Tiny pears drop like magic fruits from leafless branches; rosy red apples hang from heavily laden boughs.  There’s an air of abandonment that makes us feel as though we’ve stumbled upon some otherworldly place.

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Each apple tree along the lane exhibits a different variety of fruit; each one a mystery to me.  And as so many of our old apple varieties have such wonderful names, I stop to wonder what they might be called.

Two red apples | The House at Nab End

Back home the old apple tree in the garden hasn’t produced as much fruit this year. But there have been pickings enough for a saucepan full of cosy beetroot and apple soup. And in the cool of the cellar a handful more are stored, each one carefully wrapped in a layer of paper, ready for turning into gingerbread baked apples or for adding to braised red cabbage.

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I always associate apples with October, and with Hallowe’en; memories of bobbing for apples in the days of simple, homespun festivities, before shop-bought costumes and branded Hallowe’en treats.

Rosy | The House at Nab End

As a nod to that custom our table on All Hallow’s Eve will be decorated with apples, each one holding a tealight for a comforting glow.

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