For those in the Stanthorpe area or with a connection to it, the Border Post interviewed me recently about parts of the books set there. It was a pleasure to spend time in the area when researching the books, especially going back to where my family’s orchards stood, and always such a privilege to interview older, local people and learn their stories. xx
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Buon anno a tutti and warmest wishes!
The new year was generally start of harvest time at my family’s Applethorpe farm, with various fruit and vegetable picking over the first four months or so. Seeing photographs of that time, I’m taken by the generous camaraderie that comes across among the hard work and summer heat, especially knowing family and friends came from near and far to help my great-grandmother, Cesca and her youngest two left alone on their farm after her husband Mico’s sudden death at fifty-three.
At my desk again for the first time this year, while I await the next step on book three I am making a start to some research, a bit like ‘harvesting’ snippets and stories, that I hope (and I can’t believe I am writing this) will become book four!! Again, best wishes for the year and tante belle cose. xx
Came across this photograph of my family’s Applethorpe farm in the 1950s with the orchard in flower and realised when I was there doing research for Mezza and Joe’s, I happened to take a picture from almost the same spot 60 years later.
Even though Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar is completed, it is a pleasure to keep hearing more stories from my older relatives who always seem to have a little more to reveal about this era of their lives.
Talking to my great uncle Vincenzo recently I found out the varieties of produce they grew on the family’s Applethorpe farm included Granny Smith and Delicious apples, Santa Rosa and Wilson plums, Packham pears and green beans, also known as French or string beans. And the beans were the easiest to pick come harvest time.
(My great-grandmother – back left – was in her 50s when this was taken and though having recently lost her husband was working hard to keep the farm going.)