Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cherry ripe, cherry ripe

Ripe I cry,
Full and fair ones,
Come and buy.

Cherry Ripe is an English song with words by poet Robert Herrick (1591–1674) and music by Charles Edward Horn (1786–1849) which contains the refrain above.

I was born and brought up in Kent, the county known as the Garden of England.  Well, it used to be. Nowadays it is more a Gateway to England (or Exit from England) with the world's busiest ferry port and the Channel tunnel terminal together with their associated motorways and high speed rail tracks.

Anyway, in my youth the county had many acres of hop fields and orchards, especially cherry orchards.  Cherries featured quite heavily in our family's diet during the season, partly because we had a large cherry tree in our garden.  This tree provided us with pounds of fruit every year and we didn't suffer and deprivation by the local birds.  The cherries on this tree were cooking cherries, not dessert fruit.  So cherry pies and stewed cherries were fairly frequent desserts at our dinner table and my brother and I learned the words, 'tinker, tailor, soldier, spy.  Rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief' at a very early age.  We did eat dessert cherries as well and my memory (which may not be completely accurate) is that whenever we went out to play (in the street, as often as not, in those days) my brother and I each had a handful of the fruit.

But I seem to have developed an allergy to cherries!  Too early for English fruit to be in the shops, I bought some Spanish ones the other day . . . and every time I eat one I start coughing and can't stop for about ten minutes!

I ask you!  A Man of Kent allergic to cherries!!

But maybe it's just the Spanish ones.

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