At this time of year it seems as though every cider-maker - including us, we hasten to add - is posting pictures of beautiful blossom in peaceful orchards, so to ring the changes we thought we’d post something about Pippi the Dog.
For the first time ever in her 8 years of joyous, enthusiastic, tail-wagging life Pippi underwent the trauma of a professional grooming session today. She was beginning to look like a ridiculously fluffy teddy-bear rather than a self-respecting cocker spaniel so she was subjected to the clippers, but as a reward (and to assuage our guilt) we took her on a long walk to an orchard afterwards, her to chase pheasants, us to unwind.
For both canine and hominid, orchards are therapeutic places. Whether one is steadfastly and repetitively picking apples by hand or doing restorative pruning on a grand old tree, it’s not difficult to forget one’s woes, feel one’s pulse slow down and blood pressure drop. Although man-made, traditional orchards are in many ways the perfect example of man and nature working in harmony. The planting of fruit trees is a commitment to the land, in the way that the planting of an annual crop just isn’t. With careful and considerate management, orchards become havens of biodiversity and provide all sorts of valuable habitats in which the natural world can thrive and in return, year after year, mother nature will provide an abundant crop.
Running one’s own business can be a lonely affair. It seems there’s both a need for and a general expectation of exuberance and confidence, but there are times when one loses sight of successes and achievements, when a minor disappointment becomes a tsunami of doubt. Today was NOT such a day for us, but a chance remark gave us cause to reflect on how fortunate we are to be able to call orchards our place of work, where we can re-balance and regain perspective. And orchards are, for the most part, places which Pippi the Dog can also enjoy, and her waggy tail also has a remarkable ability to cheer everyone up. Pictures of blossom will return soon.