The other week I was wandering along the tops at Cleethorpes, the other side of the boating lake down towards the Yacht Club at Humberston (Cleethorpes aficionados will know what I’m talking about: everyone else will have to imagine a glorious utopian Shangri-La) when I noticed that one of the apple trees opposite the Fitties chalets (again, Cleethorpes aficionados etc etc) was starting to splash with the unmistakeable colour of blossom. Now. I’m not naïve enough to believe that old trope about the more abundant and early the blossom, the more abundant the apples will be, but still, there seemed to be a lot of it. There seemed to be, and maybe I’m looking at the past through apple blossom-coloured glasses, more than last year, and certainly that was a good year. Maybe, then, the old stories are true and maybe the apple abundance is coming.

Straight away, from the vantage point of mid-April, I planned a return trip in early September with a bread bag in my pocket so that I could enough apples to stew and put on my porridge and maybe, just maybe, this might be the year that I attempt to make an apple pie.

Back home from Cleethorpes, I began to notice apple blossom everywhere on my evening stroll on the top road from Darfield towards Ardsley: tiny lamps of pink and white lit in the hedge, giving the promise of all those full bread bags come the autumn. In this way the apple tree is a kind of living time machine with leaves on: somewhere in its present you can see the future. In other words if the present is blossom, the future can be crumbles and pies.

I suddenly travel through time in my mind to a late Sunday afternoon in November 2024. All the family, the kids and grandkids, are in the house and we’ve just had a fantastic Sunday dinner and I’m asking if any of them have got room for any pudding and of course they all have so I go into the kitchen and fetch a marvellous apple pie into a room. Ah, that golden crust! Ah, the smell of the stewed apples! Ah, the way the apple pie is waiting, just waiting, for the custard to complement it but not overwhelm it!

The kids and grandkids are impressed. ‘Did you make this yourself?’ one of them asks. I nod, blushing with pleasure. ‘Well, it looks like it’s come from a shop!’ someone says, but I’m able to assure them that it’s all my own apple and pastry work.

Suddenly, as though we’re in a film, the scene shifts and we’re back in the present, back in the spring of 2024 with the apple blossom on the trees. I’m a bit like an apple version of Ebenezer Scrooge in a Christmas Carol: I’m seen The Ghost of Apple Pies Present, which is the blossom in the hedges, and I’ve seen The Ghost of Apple Pies Yet To Come, with that wholesome images of the family bonding over the best apple pie they’ve ever seen.

But what about The Ghost of Apple Pies Past? What about that spirit? Ah, is that the time? Can we talk about something else? Can we talk about anything else but The Ghost of Apple Pies Past? Too late: the scene shifts and there’s The Ghost of Apple Pies Past, featuring Ian McMillan a few years ago in a flowery pinny with floury hands and flowery language escaping from his mouth. He’s stewed some wild apples which, let’s face it, is the easy bit, and he’s been rolling some pastry in order to make an apple pie that will make him consider swerving his career away from being a bard to being a celebrity pastry chef with his own TV show which will be called The Pie’s The Limit or Crust Almighty.

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Frankly, readers, this is a vividly-recalled moment from my fairly recent past. It’s a moment that shows that you should never pretend to do something that you can’t. I thought, because people in books and on TV made it look easy, that anyone could make the kind of pastry you could make pies with. After all, it couldn’t be that hard, could it? Let’s face it, if I could make Yorkshire puddings I could make pastry, couldn’t I? Maybe. Maybe not.

I’ll tell you what: let’s stick with The Ghost of Apple Pies Yet To Come. The pastry is going to be award-winning; I’ll report back in the autumn, I promise!