What happened was that recently The Donkey Field Community Orchard was granted a 98 year lease by the Town Council who actually own the land between the allotments and church on Church Hill, Enmore Green. Since 2005 we’ve been in negotiations with our elected representatives over this lease. They’ve shillied and they’ve shallied over the issue and at times been downright awkward. But at long last, thanks in no small part to Tamara who’s been dogged in her determination to get a satisfactory result, its all been verified and made official.
One of the terms of our constitution, which we had to formulate and adopt as part of the requirements to formalise our project, is that we pay the landowners rent annually each autumn of a peppercorn or an apple. Seeing as it was the first Full Council meeting since their summer recess, we did it last night.
The apple was a cider one called Sheep’s Nose, so-called because of its somewhat pear-shaped and puckered appearance. We chose a nice rosy red one from a tree growing nearest the road. I met Jon at 7pm and during the ten minute public consultation we did our thing.
Truth is, like I say, we’ve not had an easy relationship. So it was really nice to see smiles cracking on the face of the Mayor, Town Clerk and others when we handed over the rent. I hope that in future years, as the trees grow bigger and the crop gets heavier, we’ll make more of a celebratory song and dance of this important occasion. I’d like to think that The Paying Of An Apple becomes part of the fabric of this town, in just the same way as Wassailing on Twelfth Night and Apple Day (this year on Sunday 18th from 2pm) have already begun to do so.