Saturday, 24 December 2011

Thursday 20th October 11 Apple Day at Dringhouses School

A very satisfying but tough day.  I woke at 7 after less than 5 hours sleep and got myself ready, with the screw thread part and the spare ratchet bolt, and a couple of sacks of small apples which I'd either been given or foraged from somewhere, and some good examples of Bramley's Seedling and James Grieve to put on an example table, and set off at 7.50.

Gill left earlier, by bus (using a family day rover ticket) with both boys to the station, where she dropped our eldest off as he was having a school trip to London, and then on another bus to the Steiner School to drop off our youngest, and a bus back to the station where she got a train to Leeds to see her sister who's broken a bone in her hand so she wanted to go and see her.  Funny how injury brings out the best in people!

I arrived at Dringhouses Primary School at about 8.20 and helped move stuff into the hall where the press was already set up.  The children and their families had brought LOADS of apples in.... It looked like we'd never get through them.  There were two mums who were chopping the apples in half and checking for soft brown rot (which contains a toxin called patulin and shouldn't be put in to make apple juice, but is OK for cider as I think it's destroyed by fermentation.)  I started the first grinding and at 8.50 we had our first class... and I managed to do a full press full and got quite a few jugs of juice for them to try, just half a cup each at first, and then a top-up for those who liked it, which was most of them.

During the day I worked with 10 classes and did a grind and press for each class.  I imagine I got approximately 15 litres of juice out of each pressing, as the press can hold 36 litres of pulp.  As I did the grinding, the children came in twos to see the machine, as it has impressive toothed rollers which 'eat' or 'kill' the halved apples.  The smaller children stood on a little platform to see into the hopper.  As I was expressing the juice, they were able to ask questions, most of which I could answer.

We supplied apple juice to the kitchen staff, and in return they gave us a poached egg sandwich.  At midday I went for a little walk to the school nature reserve, a small woodland with a scratty little pond, two compost piles and a ring of chopped logs to sit on, amongst a few trees.  I ate my sandwiches here and came back to school to get on with another grind and press, to supply apple juice for people to have with their lunch.

In the afternoon I did a load more, finishing just before 3pm, and then taking the equipment out into the playground, where someone would hopefully clean it up. One of the dads helped me carry it to near a hose, where I left it.

During the day I'd received a text from Pauline, one of David's PA's, asking me whether I could take him to a lecture this evening, as she had a bad cold.  And when I got home, there was a phone message from one of the Stables Staff offering to pick up our eldest from the station, so that meant I could say yes to working for David.

So I didn't have long before I was going out again and got to his place on the dot of 5.30pm.  We had our usual evening... lovely.

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