The mornings are noticeably darker now and I always struggle to wake up without the sunlight streaming through our bedroom window – not that we had many sunny mornings this year! Each day as I set off for work I am now well wrapped in coat, scarf and gloves to insulate me from the cool nip in the air.
This weekend we had an indulgent day in Manchester, firstly at the Whitworth Gallery viewing an exhibition of paintings by David Hockney and one or two fascinating new ‘installations’ followed by lunch at the Gallery’s award winning cafe and then a walk through the surrounding park collecting leaves to press for future craft work. Afterwards we moved on down the road to the University to visit the Artists’ Book Fair held in the Holden Gallery by Hotbed Press. This was our third year and it is great to chat with the artists and be inspired by all their new work. My favourite this year was a tiny concertina book which opened out to show a series of watercolour line drawings of two latin American dancers – the artist had captured the movement of the dance perfectly.
As we are well into Autumn now and it is the time for ‘gathering in’ many churches will be holding their Harvest Festival services and at the same time there will be events hosted up and down the country to celebrate the humble British apple – this is what I wrote for October in my Art book ‘Celebrating the Year 2009’
October is the time of harvest Festivals and the month
we also celebrate Apple Day.
We went to our first Apple Day a few years ago at Erddig, a
National Trust property in Wales.
Until that moment I had never fully realised just how many
varieties of apples we grow in this country,
partly because when we buy our apples in a supermarket
the choice is often limited to 5 or 6 different types
when in fact there are hundreds.
Seeing them all together in one place was like a treasure trove
and we watched a botanical artist delicately painting them
individually with absolute precision. These paintings
act as a factual record and historical
archive should a variety become forgotten or extinct.
By far, the smaller Russet apples are my favourite. The subdued
colours – from golden brown and burnt umber to
silver-grey, and the rougher skin textures are quite
amazing and stand out against the perfect
blemish free apples on the supermarket shelf. There is
something of the past captured in the
Russets; they seem ‘earthier’ and are the apples
that past poets wrote about. They are part of the bountiful
harvest to be found at this time of year.
Apple Day events are happening all across the counties and are announced on the website at Common Ground and the National Trust. Quite often you are able to sample and buy the apples on show so that you can rush home afterwards and bake some delicious pies.
Common Ground initiated Apple Day on October 21 1990 in Covent Garden and launched it countrywide with over 50 events in 1991. These ranged from markets in village halls to menus in National Trust houses, pruning, and grafting classes, apple road shows by horticultural societies and apple food and drink in the Houses of Parliament.
We have a few busy weekends ahead of us doing the usual rounds of visiting our beach cottage, my mum and finally my mum-in-law but I hope we can squeeze in a visit to one of the Apple Day events. As I am still managing to stick with eating my apple a day I would really like to stock up on a few different varieties as a welcome change to the limited ones on offer in the supermarkets.
Have a good week everyone and thank you to all my new friends who left me such supportive comments after my last post when my daughter left home recently – I felt very comforted and am pleased to report that I am feeling so much better this week and slowly getting used to the quiet empty house.