‘Now I will tell you something you don’t know.”
“Before she sold off The Cottage, Rachel Leigh-White she owned The Butter House as well and they were all one property and the orchard across the road that was more part of The Butter House and not The Cottage. The man Gould he managed to persuade her to sell him the the orachard as well and that gave him the garage and a woodshed and somewhere to park your cars.’
‘It was Rachel Leigh-White who planted the apple trees there. She had one of the gardeners come over from the big house in Bantry. They were started off there and he brought them over and the five trees were laid out in a neat row.’
‘But it was the man Gould and his wife who loved those trees. I don’t know maybe they didn’t have apples when he worked at his bank in India but he would make sure they were back here every year in September so they could have the best of them. Some of the apples they are good enough to eat as they are and others yoo can cook with them.’
‘Gould’s wife, she was a great baker and if you were working on the pier and she was in the kitchen the smell would be there coming out of that corner window. They would send their children up the road to where the church and the school is with bowls from the kitchen to pick blackberries. The children would come back with their faces and hands all black with the juice but they would have enough left over in the bowl for her to cook with.’
‘Mary can you rember her name. He was called Terry but I can’t remember her name.’
‘Now this is what I was going to tell you. You remember Curly O’Brian. Of course you do. He died a few years back but he used to work around the garden and mow the lawn. You gave him a lift home sometimes in the evening when it got too far for him to walk back into the hills from here.’
‘Before Gould sold the place he would say that one of the things he would miss most would be the eating the apples come autum. So for a few yeasrs after you bought it Curly O’Brien would be asked to pick some of those apples and wrap then in paper and send them to him back in England. Curly would get a letter and some notes to pay for the postage and his time. But then one year there was no letter and that was the end of the arrangement.’
Back in The Cottage I went to the shelves by the cupboard under the stairs and took down The Cottage Log that Terry Gould had left behind after we bought it. In it he had made a note of useful telephone numbers, guidance on the intricacies of the plumbing and the pump. On one of the pages he had made a note of the apple trees in the orchard.
1st nearest road Bramly late Oct on. Hard cooker. Very good flavour- good keeper.
2nd furthest from road Grenadier August. Soft golden yellow cooker. Almond flavour.
3rd furthest from road Worcester Pearmain (?) heavey cropper September. Good eater especially eaten straight from the tree.
4th furthest: Elstan, younger tree. September/Oct very crisp eater.
5th furthest: Cox’s Grange Pippin October – fine eater