68. 'Simple Fruit Growing' by P.K. Bear.
This much-thumbed little book is very precious to me, but not for any of the advice given within its covers. It is printed on rough, dull cream paper, "produced in complete conformity with the authorised economy standard".
My father bought the book in 1945 when he was discharged from the army at the end of the Second World War. He filled the blank frontispiece with the names of all the roses that he had bought to make a rose garden. On the end pages he made a record of the fruit trees, planted over several years, that became our orchard.
It was a magical place, underplanted with spring bulbs, the long grass scythed only a couple of times a year. When I look at the names that my father has written I am transported back to the orchard, my favourite part of the garden. I remember the different trees well, 'Egremont Russet', 'Ribston Pippin', the 'Irish Peach', the hard 'Pitmaston Duchess pears, and the cherries that the birds ate the minute they were ripe.
Eating cherries, 1950's.