Sunday, 25 July 2010


    The plan for today was to fettle the Rusty Old Wreck. In a couple of weeks C, my wife and I are due to spend a weekend in a field in Somerset drinking beer and eating hamburgers with a load of old car nuts, and of course a load of suitably tatty old cars. It would thus be just a tiny bit embarrassing not to have a tatty old car of my own to er... hang around, drink beer and eat hamburgers in front of. Yeah, I know, this isn't usual t-girl fare, but this particular bunch of old car nuts aren't your usual geeks and despite the cars this one will be a relaxed weekend, one C and I have attended together before.
   So much for the plan. The Rusty Old Wreck has been deposed from its ramp by a piece of broken agricultural machinery that can't be moved. Who knew that a Kawasaki half-shaft would cost four hundred quid! So my Sunday fettling has had to be put off and my chances of going to Somerset in the Turbocharged Rollerskate and enduring the mirth of my peers just got a lot higher. Ah well, they'll be laughing on the other side of their faces on a hot August Saturday in their 1960s cars when they realise the Rollerskate has Aircon!
   Never mind, a chance to do something else that's been demanding my attention. Bottle my cider. Suffer the usual bottle shortage, scour all my storage places and find just enough empty beer bottles. Some of them have labels welded not glued in place. People give me bottles for which I am very grateful, but some of my friends don't  think to wash them before putting them on one side for me. Grrrr, a couple of hours are spent washing and sterilising. Then the fun bit. My cider is fermented in plastic jerrycans, I put a chair on my mother's kitchen table, place the jerrycan on top and syphon the cider into my clean bottles. I couldn't resist trying some, I think the '09 pressing's going to be a good one!
    A further ten minutes with the crown capper and there I have it, a table covered in bottles of cider. This cider was pressed last October, fermented until early this year before being racked, then stood to settle and for secondary fermentation. I'll now put it in a dark place until this October when it'll be ready to drink. A lot of effort, you might think, but the final product lasts for years and really is worth it.
    At this time of year the British countryside is almost indecently fertile. Everything seems laden with fruit or flowers, and most of it is edible directly from the plant. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea. On my mother's kitchen table, a selection of produce and flowers fresh from the garden. All I needed to do to assemble an impromptu still life was move it slightly to bring it all into the same frame.


  1. We have made our own blackberry wine for the last 2 years. But we didn't use high grade wine corks or seal it with wax, so several bottles have been spoiled because air managed to get past the cork. horrible!

    We have put up 35 quarts of tomatoes and frozen 25 quarts of okra and less amounts of corn. All will be used in soups during the next year. Yummie!

  2. If the cars are all of the same family then I think airco is the least of the problems :) Vapour lock and burnt legs from the gearbox cover are the biggest problems in the Spit when it gets too hot. Mind you who needs airco in a convertable! (Oh yeah, me when I stop at traffic lights and start to slow roast ;p )

    I love your cider, lots of effort, but much appricated by all those who get to sample it I'm sure :)


  3. @Sarah: You can grow okra! How cool is that! Our Northern climes can't match that one. Kale, Mmmm, tasty! :)

    The cider's closed with crown caps as used on beer bottles but I've used corks in the past. A suggestion I've heard being used by winemakers who use screw cap glass bottles, pour just enough vegetable oil into the bottle to cover the surface of the wine. That provides an airtight seal, or so I'm told. Never tried it though, so don't render your whole batch oily on my sayso.

    @Stace, this is a group of car modders, Google "Retro Rides Gathering". C and I like them because they don't get precious about it all. So there will be all sorts of tat, not just Canley stuff.

    If you fancy sharing the load in October you're welcome to jump on a ferry and come shift some apples! :)

  4. I do need to try that cider one of these days, Jenny. Do you recommend it hot or cold?

    Calie xxx

  5. Room temperature or from the fridge, either works. I draw the line at over ice though, the favoured way to serve cider in trendy pubs these days.