In another life, I can picture myself as a cider apple farmer. I suppose for a lot of city dwellers the idea of a rural lifestyle is a bit of a false idyll. The traditional village life of Slad that Laurie Lee described in his classic 1959 book Cider with Rosie was already being transformed even as he wrote. Nevertheless, in happy ignorance of the harsh reality, I maintain my daydream and, in the absence of any possibility of ever making my dream come true, I content myself with a pint (or two) of cider.
Of course, it is the summertime and the unseasonably long spell of hot weather, which have turned my thoughts towards cider and the countryside. Cider is a summer drink, best drunk after a brief, sweaty roll in a dry hayrick. A generation of urban, underage, off licence groupies may disagree with me, but when I drink cider I want to taste the natural outdoors and not a synthetic cocktail of additives, designed only to bring on instant oblivion.
My first pint is Celtic Marches’ Lily the Pink. A nice fruity colour and a nice fruity taste. 4.5%ABV; more powerful than the name might suggest.
A happy summertime soundtrack plays through my head. Actually, that is not quite accurate; I simply have one record playing on constant repeat. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks.
Another pint of cider is called for. This one is Turners Russet and, because I spot the ABV is 8% I, uncharacteristically, limit myself to a half.
The cider is very clear, looking more like a spirit. I take a sip. It tastes more like a spirit. The flavour is subtle, but my over-riding impression is of alcohol not apples. For me, cider should be a fun drink, and this makes me feel more ashamed than joyous. On the positive side, I had begun the day with a stress pain in my shoulder, which disappears almost instantly after a few more sips.
Not my particular bushel of apples. Never mind. I return to the bar for something less potent.
Nice sparkling, golden colour, strong apple taste: I just wish I could recall its name. Loss of memory; it is how it starts. I recognise the signs of a cider stupor. I remember why I would never make a good cider apple farmer: cider always induces in me a sense of lethargy.
In the summertime.
© Beery Sue
Beery Sue is not averse to a spot of the forbidden fruit.