Not too early a start, but not so late that I had to rush. After breakfast I combed the garden for recent windfalls and put them all in a plastic fruit box, a mix of James Grieve, Cox and Bramley, and took them down to St Nicks. I showed the volunteers who were preparing apples for the grinder and press how to use the fruit press, as it's not that simple, and a 5 minute 'workshop' helps.
Then I raced home and had lunch, washed and got changed into my Fiddlesticks gear and loaded up my trailer with bag-o-tricks, unicycles and pedal-go things, and a bag of balloons to give out as 'dogs with apples in their tummies' as prizes (my usual 'dogs dinner' model!). I got to the Environment Centre just before 1pm, the start time. It was a slow start, as it had rained at about midday, but over the course of the next 3 hours, we had 170 people through the gate. I did a 3 apple juggling workshop at 2 and again at 3.15, helped with the 'apple olympics' (apple bobbing, apple and spoon races, apple skittles) and helped with announcing, as I have a loud voice which carries. My favourite activity was helping with the juicing, and I think we juiced enough apples to get about 10 gallons of lovely juice.
There were more stalls there than previous Apple Days, the 'in house' haiku stall, longest apple peel competition, apple pudding competition and a kids storytelling and facepainting area, one stall from Grace working with Abundance, to make some 'apple butter' using a fire-pit made from a washing machine drum and a huge saucepan. Fulford Community Orchard had a stall, as did Jane Thurlow with a big selection of her apples.
I enjoyed two small portions of two apple puddings after the winners were announced, and especially enjoyed meeting Claire from Grace, and Claire's Mum... and we had some good conversations and agreed some bartering next year... I think my pea beans might very well end up in some Grace pickled vegetables! I was given a jar of hot 'apple butter' and a jar of the delectable Grace onion marmalade.
I spent an hour and a half helping finish off the apple juicing and then the clear up afterwards, so I didn't get away at 4, and helped wash down the fruit press before it went back with Barry Potter. I brought a demijohn of juice back, which I'll let turn into cider.
So back before 6 and I collapsed after putting my circus stuff away and bike away. Later, I made a big saucepan of carrot and apple soup on the woodstove.... inspired to add some apple by today's activities.