The other day, my Mum went back to look round our old family home where I grew up, in Edington, Somerset, on invitation from the current owner. The house has changed completely since my Mum moved out in 2001 – she told me the only thing she could find that was ‘recognisable’ was the old door frame going out into the garden from the ‘dining room’.
As we were talking, she passed me an apple: “Take some, they’re from The Haven”.
Apple juice turns to liquid in my eyes as I ‘taste vault’ back to 1972: the apple lands me back into the garden, on the lawn, under the apple tree branches so huge and looping in my child memory, hot summer, playing ponies on the lower boughs, apples dropping off on my friends’ heads, fear of the wind breaking branches weighed down, close up study of the bark with my fingers and hands, boughs sinking towards the mossy lawn at the end of summer, all those kodak instamatic images I have in my mind from that era.
The tree is both a single entity and a multitude of play and times – a powerful, surprising joining up of past and present, through the ecstatic taste of the fruit.
No other apple I have ever eaten, tastes like this one.