An English In Kentucky



















October 4th 2009

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    For those with good teeth, a Beauty of Bath apple, straight from the tree, at just the right time, is crisp and not quite sweet.  Apple juice runs down your chin, and you eat the apple up, with a smile.  A few days later that same apple would be almost sweet, but it would be chalky, and only hunger would persuade a person to finish it.

   In the 'ghost garden' of Oxfordshire, England, there were three Beauty of Bath apple trees, and I have wondered why.  Sometimes I think the reason related to harvest time.  This apple comes very early, and I picture them rushed to market where eager apple enthusiasts were waiting for the first ripe apple of the year.  

    In this vision, such an apple as Beauty of Bath would have filled a niche market.  My ghost gardener would ride home with shillings in his pocket and the family would feast on buttered bacon sandwiches washed down with black currant cordial.



    Sometimes though, this vision leads to another conclusion.  Behind the house was an outbuilding that included a coal shed, inside which there was a darkness that belonged to the ether, more than it did to coal dust.  And in that place my ghost gardener kept a clay jar inside of which he wisely hid his apple money from a grasping family.

    However, Black Current are ready to harvest at around the same time as Beauty of Bath apples, and I picture a demand for pectin and apple pulp so that Black Currant jam might be made.  A vision further articulated by Quince that had been led to climb on the West wall of the house.

    Today I found the 'ghost garden' through that technology that permits a satellite image of Earth.  And I can picture it now belonging to an accountant or a doctor's nurse, and in their kitchen they have holiday brochures, and in their garden everything is mowed so that on weekends there is nothing to do.  

    Then in the coal shed I find my ghost gardener and all he can manage is a shrug.  

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tim candler

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(Black Currants)