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.
'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.
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
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.