Tarvin Apple Pressing 2016

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ApplePressing sstory

Were you to try 'Googling' — Sister Rosetta Tharpe — "Didn't it rain, children" — you might get some sense of the almost biblical proportions of the downpour on Tarvin Woodland on Saturday 1st October. Having had a week of fine days (and then had several more in the days thereafter), the contrast was even more pointed. Our apple pressing day could have been a disaster.

It could have been — but it wasn't, in any respect. Our staunch (and suitably waterproofed) supporters turned out to erect gazebos, mount equipment, organise power and water, begin to supply thirsty workers with drinks and then to start the process of pressing the apples. Only one or two 'visitors' arrived early, but they came equipped with hundredweights of apples and, very shortly, deft hands were quartering apples, grinding the pieces into pulp and then pressing the pulp to yield the juice. It is amazing how good a cup of freshly-pressed apple juice can taste, as a steady trickle of raindrops run gently down your neck and inside your shirt!

Then, a few at a time, hardy souls arrived — parents, children and grannies — all determined that they were going to enjoy themselves. Some were fascinated and concentrated on the complexities of the process, while others enjoyed the juice and then went off to try the various crafts available. Caroline Gregson, Tarvin's very own willow artist, had everyone plaiting sets of willow wands, which, once completed, were rolled up to make a very convincing snail.
Tarvin Wildlife Watch, in the person of Sandra Hill, had all manner of crafts available, including the making of "red apples" from wool. These were attached to one of the woodland's own apple trees and made a very striking, almost luminous sight — they have been left in place, so please do look out for them as you walk through the woodland.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust mounted their own display and I know that their representative, Tracey Gibson, thoroughly enjoyed her chats with the many folk who went over to talk to her and to buy items which the Trust was selling.

As lunchtime approached, still more people arrived and the refreshment stalls were kept busy making tea and coffee and grilling Wally Dutton's hot dogs and beef burgers. Many, many happy smiles were evident, despite the rain! The overall support that we received was sufficiently great to result in the day breaking-even, financially, despite our having to buy both food and some items of equipment needed for the day. It has never been our intention to make a profit from this event — the Woodland Trustees aim has always been to provide a really enjoyable day-out for Tarvin families, at minimum cost, without it reducing the funds which the Trust uses to run the woodland. And we succeeded in that — despite the rain!

Last year's apple pressing day was an experiment — which went well. This year's apple day was a success, despite the atrocious conditions and, if such a day can be such a success, then how much better will it be on a really good day? So, I think it is safe to say that Tarvin's Apple Pressing Day has definitely found a place in the village calendar — on the first Saturday in October. Next year's will be slightly later — because the first Saturday falls on 7th October in 2017.

The thanks of Trustees' must go to all our stalwart helpers — who are too many to mention here. You all know who you are — Thank You! However, two young ladies deserve a special mention. They are the sisters Thorp — Kirsty and Annabel. Annabel advertised the event within the school by circulating flyers to everyone and then stood up in assembly to encourage them to come along — a daunting thing for anyone to do, let alone for someone so young. Kirsty took all of our photographs — including those that accompany this report. A good photo-journalistic record, I'm sure you'll agree. I think her photography shows great promise.

And the final — and heartfelt "thank you" must surely go to all those people who, undaunted by the definitely adverse conditions, came along to share in a wonderful (if soggy) day. So many people came along and, despite being wet, enjoyed themselves so much in Tarvin woodland. That makes it all worth while. Thank you!
(Ed. A separate photo story of Kirsty's efforts will be online soon)