By Kipsie

It could be still, it could be sparkling,

it went in on the 28/29/10/19, I'm not sure when it will be ready to drink though. It was all a bit hectic when we went to check out the cider making process at Sheppy's cider, our first port of call, after packing up the car for our Autumn 2019 M.O.T. 3 loads of luggage etc., Sandy driving, Josie navigator, me squeezed in the back.  A coffee first then a browse. A very well stocked farm shop, ciders galore, :) great looking meat, & a very tempting deli counter with some very freshly cooked scotch eggs, so delicious looking I had to buy one. They must be popular as when we departed there was a roadside sign advertising the fact that they had a batch of freshly baked scotch eggs. But back to the cider pressing etc., it's all highly mechanized, the apples coming in off a truck through a washer, up a conveyor belt, through a crusher, the juice going in one direction, the apple skins going up another conveyor belt into a waiting trailer, the pulp & gubbins (grass, leaves, twigs) going into another trailer. Not sure that gubbins is a cider makers term but it works. There were 3 sheds with big, bright, shiny, silver casks, okay not stills, plus a few huge wooden casks, the wooden cask at the back of this shed had the above dates written on a chalk board. There were also some sets of initials, which I would liked to have known more about but the only member staff around was dashing from this shed to another so not sure what was happening but I sensed it was probably not a good time to try and get his attention. The sets of letters could be varieties of apple, or perhaps where the fruit had been harvested. I purchased a bottle of Dabinett cider to sample.
Next stop The Willow & Wetlands Centre at Stoke st Gregory,  another interesting stop off on our way to our holiday lodge. A look around the museum then lunch. Sandy mentioned that we might want to pick up a few twigs for her activity. We each take turns to make a dinner & provide an activity for that evening. We just happened to find a display with samples of the different types of willow both stripped and bark on. Perfect timing!
We drove past the RSPB information centre at Avalon on our way to the lodge so we were getting our bearings. We reached our destination, met the owners, farmers who had been advised by their accountant to diversify as rearing Devon Ruby Red cattle was not making them any money, so they had purchased 3 lodges & sited them in a paddock behind the farmhouse. They then related to us their bad experiences to date with customers, it took a while .... They'd had the lodges two years. I mentioned that I did'nt have any bedding in my room . "I'll bring a set up". An hour or so later she came back with it .. "The family wanted their tea so I fed them first" ... Great customer care!! I'm going to leave it there ...

Thanks to MerrillHope for hosting Mono Monday, the tag Still Life .. I think. :- )

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