In the 60s the cherry trees could be up to 12 metres high and as a school boy I topped up my pocket money by picking cherries. My grandfather had planted these trees back when Germany still had a Kaiser. My dad would set up the ladders, which could be up to 40 foot long, against the trees at 5 in the morning. During the summer holidays ten-year-old me would climb up with a pannier and only climb back down when it was full. You had to concentrate up there on the ladder- you couldn’t hold on, as both hands were needed for picking – fast and carefully to get the cherries into the basket with their stems intact. I was paid by the pound and it was fun to set myself daily targets. The last of my grandfather’s trees were cleared by my father in the 70s, but there still is an apple orchard that my father planted in 1967.
All the other fruit trees from my father’s time have been replaced and my sons are gradually renewing plots I planted during the last 35 years.