The day didn’t start out well; woke in the dark to hear the wind howling around in the branches of the orange tree, rain pelting against the roof, dreading having to get up and ride over to South Melbourne for the training course — then I woke a little more and realised that it was still only Sunday and I didn’t have to go anywhere today!

For around five years I’ve been aware of the Kellybrook Cider Festival, but I’ve never managed to get there. Jo and I got married at Kellybrook winery, but we’ve never been back there to visit the winery, or the restaurant, or the cidery! Today, despite the freezing wind and icy rain and hail, we finally managed to drag ourselves off into the wilds of Wonga Park and find out what happens at the cider festival….

Cider; cider and apples, apples and cider, … and morris dancers. Seems you can’t have cider and a harvest festival without morris dancers, prancing rather ineptly around with bells on their ankles and clouting each other with dirty great lumps of wood.

The garden looks much the same as when we were here and got married. Perhaps more overgrown, the enormous oak tree is still an enormous oak tree, and still has all its leaves. The vines look cold and desolate, leafless in the wind. The crowd of visitors all look bearded and “organic” and many speak with English accents.

We got to watch the apples being dropped through the disintegrator — a marvellously titled piece of machinery — and the fresh juice being pressed out and taken away. On tasting were the fresh juice, fresh scrumpy cider, clarified still and sparkling cider, a thoroughly appropriate warm spicy mulled cider, and then the triple-distilled apple brandy. Very potent that last one, definitely a drop to sniff and savour in small quantities! A bottle of it accompanied me on the way home, it’ll probably last a very long time.

Today’s photos

See the photos page.