Parched earth

We seem to have had an astonishingly long spell (for Cumbria) of dry hot weather. The grass has almost stopped growing and even the trees are struggling. While the dozen or so young trees in the orchard have been cossetted by watering cans, the established trees have had to fend for themselves and are now starting to look a little thirsty. Hopefully they will struggle through and not lose too much fruit, while the fruit that does stay on the trees may be sweeter and even more flavoursome than usual (optimist!).

Talking of flavoursome, we have just bottled the first batch of “Brown Snout” – named after the principal bittersweet apple it is made from. It is bursting with flavour, and has some tropical fruit overtones – rather appropriate, given the tropical temperatures we have been having recently.