When we arrived in St Albans it was an Indian Summer and we had inherited a bramley apple tree which showered us with its abundance. I spent dreamlike weeks in the garden peeling apples and watching our three tiny children scampering about in the sun.
Eight years later, we moved to another neighbourhood and we had an apple tree again, but it bore fruit only grudgingly. Then Nigel pruned it and it began to flourish.
In October, we would sometimes have a dessert called Apple Surprise. Apple Surprise was any pudding which actually contained no apples. That was the surprise.
But this year we have moved again.
As yet our garden is a featureless rectangle. We are focusing on the house so the garden must wait until next year.
Except for one thing – the apple tree. I came home last week to see a very long cardboard box on the drive.
Bert the Bramley had arrived and Nigel spent much of Saturday planting him. He then lavished him with compost and flooded him lovingly with water.
But it will still be two or three years until we can eat apple surprise again.
Which is why it was particularly welcome when Chris and Christine appeared at our door on Sunday with a generous bucket of windfall apples.
Rest assured Chris & Christine, Bert the Bramley was watching and one day he will reward your kindness.