Year 6 OMG
It feels weird to write about 2020 when in a sense it's still with us - a long, dark lockdown of the soul, stretching out into the indeterminate future. What a fucker of a year. The virus has impacted so many lives in so many ways it makes everything else seem trite by comparison.
I type this sitting staring at the walls in locked down London as the trees in Devon slumber peacefully. Another growth ring for them. We got planning permission in the spring to build a cider shed at the orchard meaning I can move out of my in-laws barn which I was slowly colonising as I added more and more containers to the collection like a Speidel fanboy. This is probably not going to be a fast move (£££!) but it gives the long term plan a little more solidity and a path to the future.
Speaking to pubs, even when they were open this year, tastes changed somewhat; the drinking crowd being younger as the oldies were more likely to play it safe and stay home, meaning a shift to sweeter cider or away from cider all together. That said, the brilliant Nobody Inn, Cridford Inn and Cider Bar in Newton Abott were great to me as ever, as well as the wonderful Real Al company in London. Joining them for the first time, Cafe Ode in Shaldon with my first foray into 500ml bottles, the Shipwrights Arms, also in Shaldon, and the Waterman's Arms in Barnes. Arms seem to have been a theme of the year, as I became a bit of a running joke on the excellent Neutral Cider Hotel podcast for supposedly having big arms but all publicity is good publicity I'm sure!
Lockdown also led me on a cider exploration via Scrattings, I kissed a few frogs in the process but the diversity out there is incredible.
Unfortunately the land on which some of the trees I pick from has been sold. I'm trying to reach out to the owners in the hope they don't plan to grub up the trees that have been so good to me to date, however I picked from a beautiful orchard this Autumn just down the road and my trees finally started delivering.
2019's Pet Nat turned out great and the fantastic Art and Craft Brewery in Streatham took most of it off my hands. This year I've doubled down on the Pet Nat, my difficult second album, and also a 750ml bottling from just my orchards trees. 2021 may not start with the same optimism as 2020 but things can only get better, onwards...