cider with John


It came out sparkling like liquid sky.

The last time we stopped at Brickers Cidery for lunch and a glass of cider, John left his walking stick and as a man scheduled for a double hip replacement in two weeks, he needs his stick. So yesterday on our way home from errands in Sechelt, we turned off the highway at Norwest Bay Road and continued along that road to the cidery.

There are picnic tables in a grassy area surrounded by young apple trees. A repurposed woodstove for cold afternoons and evenings. A food shed where a woman prepared our lunch: a ploughman’s platter with crusty bread, slabs of cheese, ham cut off the bone, pickle-y things, and slices of apple; and a grilled Brie, apple, and roasted garlic sandwich. (We shared.) My favourite of the ciders right now is Sauvignon, which uses a New Zealand yeast and tastes crisp and citrusy. I also love the Wild One, so much like the rough scrumpy we drank in Somerset and Wiltshire decades ago. I thought of Cider with Rose, Laurie Lee’s beautiful book about his childhood, a book I re-read when I need to believe in a simpler world.

Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples…

We sat in the sun, under that blue sky, a drowsy wasp interested in the drops of distilled apple goodness on the base of my glass, and maybe for an hour it was simple.

10 thoughts on “cider with John”

    1. I’ve always loved Cider with Rosie, Beth. And my older son did too, as well as its sequel, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Forrest and Manon even traveled (while in Spain) to the town Laurie Lee spent time in, Almuñécar (I think it was). So in the way that circles sort of complete themselves, I found a copy of Lee’s essay about his firstborn on my shelf, a pretty edition given us as birth present for our firstborn (Forrest), signed to us by Laurie Lee, and gave it my firstborn for his birthday a year or two ago. And the friends who gave it to us? The ones in Wiltshire who took us to scrumpy dens and introduced us to rough and beautiful drink that instilled (if not distilled) in me a deep love for true apple cider.

    1. Our friends over at Oyster Bay make delicious juice from their apples, assorted varieties, some very old. This year I dried 10 pounds of sliced apples and dried and smoked (over apple wood!) maybe 10 more pounds of halved apples. Keeping ahead of the bears is this year’s challenge.

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