Well, after a bumpy start at the beginning of the week, when it seemed unlikely we could get enough apples to get going with Woolly Pig 2012, we now have the first 1,000 litres in the bag with the next 1,000 well underway.
Our greatest and oldest friends Terry, Maureen and Nick made the 330 mile journey from ooop naarth to give us a hand (maybe with a more romantic notion of cider pressing in mind than the dusty, sticky, back-breaking slog it really is) and have got truly stuck in this week, lugging 11kg boxes of apples around the orchards and the barn, scrabbling under trees knee deep in mud and rotten fruit to scrump what we could when stocks of picked fruit ran low, wheelbarrowing piles of pomace around to feed the woolly pigs. Copious numbers of ibuprofen have been downed to numb aching feet, knees and elbows, Cottage Foods have been stripped of pasties and biscuits to keep the carb levels up, jumpers, jeans, wellies and shoes have been splattered with pulp which once dried takes about 18 months to get off, and much tea (strangely not cider) has been imbibed.
Now we're down to our last few polypins of Woolly 2011 we're hoping for a sunny spell to get this lot a-bubblin, and with luck and a fair (warm) wind we'll be racking off soon after Christmas. With a new home to move into - the old jam factory on site - and Christmas around the corner there's plenty to keep us old duffers on the go. What are the odds that the plans to submit our 2011/12 tax returns before the 31st Jan deadline for a change will go awry?