Friday, July 25, 2008

Taste of my childhood.

My parents live next door to a big field that used to be a cherry orchard in my youth. Every summer a family of travellers (I am fairly sure they were the same family each year though my memory may fail me) would purchase the rights to the fruit. The whole extended family would move down and live in caravans, in time for the fruit to begin ripening.

Of course selling the cherries was the aim, but that wasn’t all there was to the job. As the cherries began to ripen so the birds had to be kept away from eating the fruit and they used several methods for this. One was to have several weasely dogs that ran around the orchard yapping; another was scarecrows and the last device was what I knew as ‘cherry bangers.’ Quite simply this was what sounded like a cross between a shotgun firing and a very loud clap. I’ve no idea how these were set off but they went off all day, every day. Visitors would remonstrate but we hardly heard them any more.

By way of compensation for being next door to what they worried was a nuisance, a large bucket full of cherries would be passed regularly over the hedge for us to consume.

They were lovely people. On the day of my maternal grandmother’s funeral they closed up shop for the day, out of respect. My mother was so touched.

They put a sign on the gate, saying ‘No cheeries today.’


6 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a great story :)

Yvonne said...

That's really lovely. Have a great weekend JJ.

uphilldowndale said...

Our local butcher, still drops the shop blinds, 3/4 of the way down, when the funeral cortege of a customer is due to pass, as a mark of respect, you wouldn't get that at Tesco's

KatW said...

Great story - it felt like something you'd read in a book - if you haven't already, it would be great to use as part of a fiction piece. I just bought some cherries earlier. Think I'll make a start on them now!!
Kat :-)

Carol and Chris said...

Your Mum must have been really touched...that was a lovely thing for them to do!!

C x

Angie said...

I love this story JJ, very sweet and cheery. :)
Enjoy Brittany (that's my sissy's name).