He was a Methodist Circuit Steward and lay preacher, and also taught in adult education, yet amazingly still had time for gardening, as this photograph shows. He had a large garden (but now, sadly, houses have been built in most of it) at the back of his house in Sea Mills lane, Stoke Bishop, where the Trym flows past the ancient Roman harbour and into the muddy Avon up which in those days the great ships sailed all day long on their way to the docks in the middle of the city. The ships were a constant excitement to his children, and I'm sure he chose to live there because he also loved to see them.
Grandad grew over a hundred different fruit trees in his garden, which must have kept my grandmother busy jamming and bottling for the winter, and also, as my father recorded in a little memoir he left behind him, Grandad grew wineberries, which, my father said, he had never tasted before or since, and had an incomparable flavour.
|japanese wineberry in bud
It's a beautiful plant, with bright red bristly stems in the winter (if you plant them where they catch the sunset glow they are spectacular then), pretty leaves and deep pink buds (when the flowers have been pollinated, they shut up again, and the berries develop inside a sticky calyx, to open later and show the new pale red berries). The ripe berries are ruby-coloured, also sticky, and, as my father wrote, have an amazing, unique refreshing flavour.You can just see the berry, still green, peeking out of its protective calyx, on the photograph above.
|photo: Rasbak, via Wikimedia Commons
|Next year's fruiting stems in winter
|The children who ate the berries then; my father on the left