I’m not sure I have a favourite season, but Autumn is definitely my favourite season to write about. There is just so much descriptive material; ripening crab apples, hedgerows laden with blackberries, branches drooping under the weight of fat, juicy sloes. And an excitement in the air, as migrant birds fly south, some animals rapidly ready themselves for hibernation, and the days become shorter, in preparation for Winter.
I’m not sure anything signifies Autumn, as much as the Apple. Every time I look out of the window at the moment, I see trees laden with them. The apple itself is an incredibly popular fruit which occupies a prominent position in the heart of British culture and history and, indeed, has been deeply ingrained in British heritage for over a thousand years.
The names of many British settlements have been influenced by the apple including Apuldram in West Sussex, meaning ‘homestead or enclosure where apple trees grow’. Similarly, Apley in Lincolnshire literally means ‘Apple Wood’ and Appletreewick in North Yorkshire describes a ‘dwelling or farm by the apple-trees’. Old fashioned phrases have also come about from the apple, such as ‘to upset the apple cart’ which was first recorded as early as 1796. It means to ruin carefully laid plans and have one’s expectations spoilt, in much the same way as a farmer’s might be if his load of apples was overturned.
Apples themselves are known to have originated from the Middle East, over four thousand years ago. The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed apples to be an aphrodisiac. The wild crab-apple, which co-incidentally the Celts viewed as a great symbol of fertility, has been consumed since pre-historic times, when it was the only species of apple in existence, in the country. Cultivated apple varieties began to appear in Britain around the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Over time, apples became more common-place, gradually entering into festivals such as Halloween, where apple-bobbing became a well-loved activity.
Commencing in the thirteenth century, a demise in rural areas had a knock-on effect for apple growing. Starting at the time of the Black Death, the rural decline continued throughout the War of the Roses and repeated droughts. As a result, King Henry VIII issued instructions to his fruitier, named Richard Harris, to establish the first large scale orchards, in an attempt to continue growing apples. The orchard was set up in Teynham, Kent, and the discovered world was scoured, collecting the best varieties of apples for future growth in the orchard.
During the Victorian era, further apple varieties were found and returned to the orchards and gardens of Brogdale in Kent. Brogdale today houses the world’s largest collection of apple varieties in the world, boasting an extraordinary range of dessert, culinary and cider apples. Throughout the nineteenth century, great steps were made by many to increase the number of varieties of apples in existence. A famous British apple grower, named Thomas Laxton, with the help of his sons, was responsible for the hybridisation of hundreds of apple varieties. Around the same time, Australian apple growing increased in popularity and Mrs Maria Smith cultivated the first ‘Granny Smith’ apple in her Sydney garden.
Fenella Ashworth is a British author of contemporary erotic fiction. All of her stories are available from Amazon and free for those with Kindle Unlimited access. Her bestselling novels are ‘To Love, Honour and Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson series.
Fenella also releases stories on BooksieSilk, Booksie, Lush Stories and Literotica, and is often visible in the Literotica ‘Erotic Couplings’ Hall of Fame (Top Rated).