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The English Apple Man


31st Mar 2023 - 'Diamonds are forever'

It is a very long time, but seems to have gone so quickly!


Yesterday, 30th March 2023 my wife and I celebrated 60 years of marriage!


'Time flies' and we only fully appreciate that fact when we reach our dotage!


Celebrating our Diamond Wedding with lunch at The Wild Mushroom in Westfield East Sussex.

When we were first married, a night out was a visit to The Regent Cinema in Cranbrook Kent, occasionally having a modest supper at The Corner Cafe, normally ham egg and chips washed down with a cup of tea. All for 3 shillings and sixpence, sometimes if we were feeling flush we would add bread and butter, all for 3 shillings and ninepence!!!!


For those too young to calculate Pounds, Shillings and Pence, 3 shillings is 15p in todays money, and 3/9 pence is seventeen and one half pence!!!


Below: 'Diamond Memories'


30th March 1963


We met when we were 16 year olds and 5 years later we married!


In those far of halcyon days, getting married before the end of the tax year 5th April resulted in a tax rebate. £7 rebate does not sound much in today's world, but a farm workers weekly wage then was circa £10 in 1963, so equivalent to £300 in 2023.


Life was so much simpler then, we only had a limited amount of money then as we set of in my 5 cwt Thames Van for our Honeymoon in Margate!


No flashy 'hen night' and no dashing off to a Mediterranean island for a boozy stag do!


My friends (3) and I set off for a modest pub crawl around East Sussex, the one concession Dad lent me his Vauxhall Velox, yes I drove!


Our honeymoon funded by £25 given to us both by Dad as a wedding present. I think we spent it mostly on lunch or dinner, establishing our love of eating out when (much later) financial resources had improved.


Before our marriage I spent every spare moment redecorating our cottage, it was that winter of 62/63 when snow fell on Christmas Eve and was still hanging around in early March.







Below: Husband and Wife return from Honeymoon


Keeping warm with a small paraffin heater I worked so hard to modernise the kitchen. These days it would be a visit to a Kitchen Shop, choose a new glossy ensemble, knock out the old kitchen before installing the new model.


But with little money available I spent weeks resurfacing the wooden kitchen units with that new medium FORMICA


Daily I would be at the farm 'just 1/4 mile away. In the winter learning to prune with my Mentor: My fathers fruitman Tom.


In summer I spent most days mowing the orchards, initially with a set of gang mowers before we acquired a Hayter mower.


Harvest time relied on the pickers, many 'working mothers' or husbands taking a fortnights holiday to join their wives in the orchards. These husband/wife arrangements often had an 'end goal' - a new fridge, washing machine etc.


It was hard work in those days, picking into boxes (30 lb and 40 lb) with lots of 'double handling' but it was FUN.




Great memories!



Below: left. 25feet Tall trees grown as Standards and right; A Bush Tree



Below: The English Apple Man with Spindles in the 1980's


Back in the early 1960's our trees were either Standards grown on strong rootstocks with ladders of 25 rungs or more required to prune and pick them. The first Bush Trees with a short trunk were planted in my Grandfather's tenure between the two World Wars


Anything planted post 2nd World War was planted as a bush tree and initially at 21 feet apart - square plan, then to 18ft square plant. We planted the first 'Spindle Bush' trees in 1970. From then onwards all were on Spindles planted at 12ft x 6ft.


That is all for this week


Take care


The English Apple Man