That was the apricot summer that was!

English apricots Everyone over the age of 50 can remember the Summer of 76. To that we can now add the Summer of 2018. Not quite the same ring but hot it was! It would be nice to think we’ll get more of the same but I doubt it.  Our summers are notoriously unreliable and while I’d like to be proved wrong, I predict we’ll be back to the usual mixture of sunshine and showers for the next 40 years!

If you read diaries from centuries past you’ll see that weather patterns haven’t changed that much. Samuel Pepys describes a very long, hot summer back in the mid 17th century. The weather men always refer to the hottest this or the wettest that since records began, but the records don’t go back all that far. Most weather records are less than a century old.

One benefit of a hot summer is that we’ve had some bumper crops in the garden. I’ve never seen so many apples! But the star of my summer produce was my crop of apricots. The trees come into flower very early, in March, and are prone to frost.  But this year I covered our tree in a special frost blanket. This did the trick and 5 months later I was able to harvest this plate full. With the hot sun helping the ripening process they tasted delicious!

But there is some garden produce you just can’t give away. Apples are one and the other are marrows. These start out as courgettes (zucchini) and if you eat at Alberto’s in the Old Town, you’ll know his zucchini fritters are delicious. But leave them too long and you end up with marrows the size and shape of a mini zeppelin! That’s great except that there is only so much stuffed marrow you can stand. I’m afraid several of mine ended up on the compost heap.

It has been a busy year on the Piccotts End social calendar, with a very successful summer garden party and a burgeoning book club. It now has 15 members and unlike most others up and down the country has a strong male presence. If you enjoy reading and discussing books you should join!

Ss the year heads into autumn we still have the annual fireworks party to look forward to.This year it will be held on Saturday November 17th at Marchmont Cottage. A flyer and email will be circulated nearer the time.

Since last writing there have been a few more casualties in the Old Town. Elbows Off the Table, the cafe that opened on Sunday mornings – A for effort – has closed along with the florist. But we now have the Med Grill and Pie in the Sky. Long may they last.