I walked to work and managed five hours there before I couldn't do any more. Possibly that's because the sun was shining, the world was beautiful and B phoned me to ask whether I wanted to meet him in the orchard – between my workplace and home – where he found apples on Sunday.
The late afternoon sun slanted through the trees, dappling the leaves, the trunks and the apples strewn over the ground. We wiped the soil off them and tasted each variety before burdening ourselves with their weight. They were so abundant that this wasn't really scrumping, though we did come across one person chucking a hefty stick into a tree to get the fruit down. I was irritated at his pursuit of unripe apples until there was a fluster of undergrowth, he disappeared from view and I began to think his stick had fallen on his head. But it hadn't
so then I rather wished it had. Karma for my unkind thoughts: a narrow, sloping, muddy stretch upended me into a nettlebed along this path by the river. I was glad of my autumn trousers.
Although this orchard is 30 minutes’ walk from home, it was once, when there was a hand-pulled rope-ferry across the river, only seven minutes away. Communities on both sides of the river appealed to the Council for a footbridge a few years ago (we have the heated open-air pool, they have Cowley Road: win win) but to no avail, and as I was walking in this very lovely spot, I started day-dreaming about building myself a raft…
By the time we reached home we were foot-weary and it was almost dark.