Well, the wettest, yes, we have met office statistics, but as I lay in bed last night and listened to the throb of the burners heating up the oast house just up the road, I realised at last, September was here.
We desperately wanted to move into our house in September 2010 (well August 2010, but there were complications) so that we could watch the comings and goings of the hop harvest. We are surrounded by hop fields here in Kent, indeed from where I sit, I can see a row of dilapidated hoppers sheds used to accommodate the pickers as they thronged in from London. It wasn’t to be, we missed the 2010 harvest so stupidly imagined we’d be here for the 2011 one. I saw that one on my own. And although we’ve had enough rain to make beer flow down the street, the 2012 harvest is about to start and Mike will again just miss it. Actually there’s not really much to it apart from discarded hops all over the lanes and a rusty old tractor buzzing 24hrs a day from field to oast. But it smells nice.
I don’t put hop bines in my kitchen. Mainly because there’s no room and also because it reminds me of the time when I lived with my sister. Mum, so exasperated by our attempts at housekeeping, decided to become our cleaner and Julie arrived home one evening from work to find mum dusting the dried old hop bine that had been hanging in the kitchen. They make a mess when they collapse, a bigger mess that the one she’d come to sort out. I also made a hop pillow earlier in the year, from last year’s crop and almost sneezed my head off. They are now confined in a plastic bag amongst the “craft things I’m going to sell one day”.
Hop picking, bucolic, but this is an interesting article that I came across on The Orwell Society web site, that removes the rose tinted specs http://www.orwellsociety.com/2012/02/05/orwell-and-other-writers-on-hop-picking-by-ron-bateman/
Countdown begins now….. 26 days until the 27th, at last September has arrived.