Driving home in mid-September, through the web of winding, high-hedged lanes between Uckfield and Blackboys, I glanced through an opening in a hedge and snatched a sighting of a gnarly orchard. It was drenched, darkly, from two days of heavy rain, the bark of the apple tree trunks blackened and the tangled canopy of branches heavy with leaves that were beginning to die after the fruit had been harvested.
I stopped and wandered through it, shooting shapes and remembering a fairy tale, 'The Gnome', from my childhood. It was by the Brothers Grimm and told of a King's three daughters who were banished underground for picking and eating an apple from their father's tree. The same punishment had been handed out to many before them, but as he was their father, they didn't believe it would happen to them.
I'm sure I could hear voices chattering beneath me as I hopped back over the gate to carry on my drive home. Luckily, all the apples had been picked already when I discovered The Orchard and sneaked some time there.
I say 'luckily' as I love apples...