Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cider Apples

There are areas of both the south west and south east of England which are famous for their fruit growing prowess (not for Ali's lovely kiwi fruit and avocados) but for apples and most particularly apples for making the alcoholic drink of cider.

Herefordshire is the county we lived in when first married and DD1 was born, Gloucestershire where the other two came into the world, Somerset where we now live and it's neighbours Devon and Dorset all like to claim themselves as the Cider Making Capital of the UK.

We have some very dear friends, Pearl and Jon, who run a farm providing bed and breakfast and self catering holiday accommodation about half an hours drive the other side of Hereford, heading towards the Welsh border. We got to know them when we attended the same ante-natal classes with Sarah and their eldest Heidi. Subsequently they did us the great honour of standing as god-parents to our youngest Louise.

Over the past few years they have had a very tough time - they narrowly missed losing their herd of cattle during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. However as all traffic on and off farms in the area was severely restricted they watched their holiday business dwindle away to almost nothing. Then a short while later they lost half of their herd to an outbreak of Bovine TB. Pearl also had a nasty bout of viral meningitis followed by a long episode of Post-Viral syndrome making coping with a business and a young family very difficult indeed.

To top all this off Pearl's father lost a two year battle with bladder cancer last autumn leaving her mother who suffers from alzheimers in a very distressed and confused state. Pearl is their only child and lives over half an hour from them so with the responsibility of dealing with his illness which included regularly taking him over 100 miles away for treatment has taken its toll.

Louise had a letter from them last week apologising for not sending a christmas gift - as if we minded :o) - and the writing between the lines spoke volumes.

So I spotted an appliqued apple tree as part of a pattern the other day and adapted it to make into a wall hanging to cheer her up. Their main crop on the farm is cider apples so I thought it rather fitting.

I think I shall add some plaid/homespun borders to match round the edges and get it off in the post to her soon in a bid to bring a smile to her face for a little while at least.

26 comments:

joyce said...

It sounds like your friends have had a very tough time financially as well as emontionally. I'm sure the wall hanging will cheer them up.

Screen Door said...

Plaid homespuns will be perfect with that piece. I can tell you have a big heart. When you write of your friends, you're right there with them as they go through their heartache. The quilt will be perfect for them.

Screen Door said...

Plaid homespuns will be perfect with that piece. I can tell you have a big heart. When you write of your friends, you're right there with them as they go through their heartache. The quilt will be perfect for them.

Screen Door said...

Plaid homespuns will be perfect with that piece. I can tell you have a big heart. When you write of your friends, you're right there with them as they go through their heartache. The quilt will be perfect for them.

Screen Door said...

Plaid homespuns will be perfect with that piece. I can tell you have a big heart. When you write of your friends, you're right there with them as they go through their heartache. The quilt will be perfect for them.

quiltpixie said...

I'm sure your thoughtful gift will bring comfort and cheer.

Libby said...

You have made a beautiful piece that will certainly help your friends know how much you think of them. Sounds like they have had a tough time of it -- I hope it all turns around for them soon.

Angie said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful gift for your friends, Anne! Plaids always add a bright spot, IMHO! :P

Fiona said...

I really like the fabrics you used for the apples and leaves - the way you've cut the pieces to 'shade' the apples makes it look like a stencil. You are always coming up with great touches.

Marcie said...

What a sweet friend you are. Your friends have sure been through a lot. They will love your gift of the heart!

meggie said...

What a lovely thought for your friends. They sure have had it tough.
Your ideas are so great.

Alena said...

what a beautiful aplique, what a lovely gift...

Tanya said...

Hi Anne,
Thanks for your comments and visiting me and for letting me use your work as inspiration. The group I am in is made up of 5 or 6 ladies, only three of us who are "experienced" quilters. A group of abuut 12 of us started out over 10 years ago making one bed cover size quilt for the kindergarten each year but gradually people have moved away or gained other interests. When we get to the applique I may have to ask about your favorite techniques. We all groan when someone suggests an applique quilt!

Sandra said...

It's a sad story - I hope things will go better from now on. The little apple tree is lovely and very fitting.

Diana said...

Your friends have really had a bad time--how nice of you to make something to let them know how much you care. The plaid for the border will really set off the applique.

Lily said...

Oh Anne, your poor friends! Puts my little worries into perspective. What a good friend you are. Love the wall hanging-in-progress too.

Jane Weston said...

What beautiful appliqué! Once again your work is lovely and I look forward to seeing how it all comes together. Homespuns will be perfect!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Beautiful quilt, lovely gesture... you are a true friend; I am eager to see it bordered with the homespuns, that will be a perfect finishing touch; please share pics!

Ruth's Place said...

What a lovely idea! The block looks lovely too.

Lois R. said...

What a beauty! The colors are perfect. I'm sure it will cheer them up.

ForestJane said...

I think you're a good friend indeed, to stick 'be-cider' thru her troubles... :)

What a great wall hanging that will be!

Tanya said...

Thanks Anne for your advice about pictures. I think it worked! Your apple tree block is beautiful. I really will have to gain more experience at applique. Many thanks.

Helen said...

What a great friend you are. I hope your friends fin dthis year kinder to them than the last.

Ali Honey said...

I am sure she will love that Anne. Isn't it awful and strange how some families seem to have one trouble after another. I am glad she has a friend like you; she certainly deserves you.
Hugs for you both from Alison.

Dawn said...

Oh your friend is going to love that apple tree! That is so thoughtful! And very cute!

Shelina said...

What a sad story, and how sweet of you to make a beautiful apple quilt for them. It is pretty.