How time does fly, tis been almost a fortnight since my last post and for this I apologise profusely for my lack of attention to the brave few who do me the great honour of following my blog and putting up with my meandering musings. Ah but if the truth be known I do have a plausible excuse for my remissness (is that a real word?), if any of you fine, upstanding citizens had paid attention to my previous, mournful post you would remember that I was lamenting the fact that I have become disillusioned with my lack of accomplishment with my life of late. So bearing this in mind I have indeed “Got off my lardy arse and done a damn sight more”, which has left little time for tapping away at my keyboard to keep you updated in my world. Also I have been absolutely knackered this past couple of weeks even though my beloved Clare and I have both had a little time away fro the grind.
So what has this rotund little Welshman been getting up to of late? Indeed you may ask for I could weave a tale of journeys long and wearisome and fraught with many a danger, of the mighty quaffing of copious amounts of grog and grand feasts of suckling piglet, mead and vitals. But to be honest that would be stretching the truth a tad, oh alright it would indeed be a post of tall tales and a little bit of exaggeration and yarn spinning, but hey if it wasn’t for my total honesty, ahem, then you’d all be none the wiser.
Ok so here’s the report and run down as it happened, firstly my good friend and work colleague, Chunky Monkey (you’ve been warned previously not to ask) have completed our first attempt at making cider. For us this was a totally new and untried task and to be honest we’re not 100 per cent sure that we’ve done it right (more like 5%). But for those interested here’s how we stumbled through; firstly we collected apples (yes obvious I know), close to where Chunky lives we were fortunate enough to have access at four different varieties of apples all of which seemed ripe enough for the process to begin. Our thinking being that by mixing types of apples we’d have a better chance of producing something vaguely drinkable. After washing the apples we cut them into segments and worked up a sweat pulverizing them into a course mash using a piece of rounded hardwood, this mash was then pressed (in our newly acquired fruit press) to relieve it of its precious juice. The juice was roughly filtered into demijohns, a measured amount of yeast added (well sort of measured) and then stopped with an airlock. Simple eh, taking just a few moments of the morning? – Pah, with all the apples that we’d gathered we were expecting gallons of apple juice flowing into our demijohns with the bare minimum of effort, ha haw naive we were. Several hours of cutting, pulping, pressing and filtering later with some not so inconsiderable Anglo Saxon been emitted we’d fill……. Wait for it….. two demijohns!, yes that’s right two poxy demijohns, we must have sweated more liquid than that. But truth be known we’ve learnt a lot from this attempt, firstly it takes a lot of apples to produce enough juice for just one demijohn (about a gallon of liquid required about 16lb of apples), secondly we need to buy/make a device to pulverize the apples before pressing as this was the most time consuming and palm of the hand blistering part of the process. Worth it? Well in 6 months I’ll let you know, but for the time being watching my solitary bottle bubble away as it ferments brings a smile of remembrance of a day happily spent with a mate, laughing, swearing and looking to the future, so yes very much so worth it. Oh and by good fortune the apples around here are just ripening nicely so we’ll be having another bash soon.
Ah time flies doesn’t it? Barely two weeks ago myself and the bog monster were indulging in one of my favorite walks. It consists of walking down the dried river bed of the River Alyn through
and down to Cilcain. The change in the air around us told us both that autumn was just around the corner. Something deep inside of me loves this season, the change in the air is so tangible it can be smelt and indeed tasted, it brings visions of hearty meals, darker evenings swapping tales around warm fires and walks that have just that little more in the way of pulling you to next horizon, it’s truly a season of change, which indeed goes hand in hand with my present frame of mind. The thing I enjoy about this walk is the different perspective that it gives you of the land around. I know the short trail between Loggerheads and Cilcain well, but when viewed from the dry river bed the walk is a stranger to me, offering a new twist to a much visited and familiar trek. Another thing is that along this ‘trail’ I’m the only person here, with suits me and Lucy fine, meaning that our thoughts are our own and if I want scratch me arse I’m perfectly free to do so without offending a sole. Human company is fine, but the solitude to be sometimes found in our overcrowded isle is pretty much unbeatable (ok so I’m a grumpy so n so). Loggerheads Country Park
Today, 14 days later, we traveled the same trail once more and from the pictures you can tell that it was the woodland paths that our feet pounded and not the broken limestone bed of the river. A few days of heavy rain, and what at one point seemed to be an ever dry water course was singing away in full voice once more, all the plants that seemed to have taken a permanent hold over the last few months had been washed away in an instant.
One good thing thought, the evening’s rain meant that myself and the bog monster had the trails to ourselves, one bad thing though – guess who decided to play the ‘spook game’ and guess who fell for it once more?
And of the rest of the time, well Clare and myself have be spending time together, this is precious for us for at times we hardly see head or tail of each other when the long shifts of work conspire to leave us we only what seems as the barest glimpses of each other. It’s now, when we’re off together that we feel that in some ways we’re just getting to know each other all over again. It may seem strange that after 18 years of marriage this should be the case, but work and everyday living does keep us apart in many ways so that this time off together is made the most of to reaffirm the bonds which bind us together in our lives with one another.
Of course I’ve been out on the trails with the phantom of the slime pit; So here's a few photo's of what the autumnal season is bringing us as me and old smelly tread ever further afield in search of rarely trod upon pathways:
We’ve been checking out a couple of new fishing venues which I’m sure will lead to some interesting adventures to regale you with, the garage has nearly been rewired by yours truly and also the prep work has well and truly been restarted upon Carp Diem, I also planted some late beetroot and leaks in the corner plot (as it’s now called) of my back yard. So all in all a busy but rewarding time, I’ll try and be more constant with my musings in future, but for now thank you for taking the time to read this far.