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The English Apple Man


29th Mar 2024 - It's my Birthday

Another year passes by and Today 29th March is my 82nd Birthday


Oh how time flies, when we are children it seems to drag so slowly. Now the weeks race by faster than the days used to. One wonders what awaits us, as friends pass on with increasing frequency!


Sorry for my gloomy mood. Thankfully my family are spoiling me today and I am looking forward to a nice meal and a few drinks this evening!!!


Regular readers will be familiar with my usual subjects, primarily apples, or matters important to apple growers!


This week, I am mixing nostalgia with events of today!


Reflecting on my life and highlighting the Tractor Rally in London this week. publicising the 'unfair challenges' faced by British Farmers & Growers.

Looking back to my childhood as I turn 82, I draw extracts from my life story




In the lottery of life, our greatest win is where and to whom we are born!


One only has to watch the world news to realise our God given gift is decided when and where we are conceived. I was truly blessed, although my birth on the 29th of March 1942, half way through the second World War could so easily have been a precursor to, at best, a life under the German 'Jack boot' or at worst a brief encounter with life on earth!


My family roots are a blend of the paternal bloodline, The Guest family with generations of farming stock; a background of modest privilege, balanced by the strong physical bloodline of my maternal family, The Ashdown's, historic builders of roads and early users of heavy transport.


My father was John Ranger Guest; popularly known as 'Jack' while my mother Cicely Margaret Ashdown affectionately known as 'Peggy' primarily due to her mother-in-law, my Grandmother also being a Cicely.


So, looking back I have been so lucky, my health until the last few years good. My life in the fruit industry as a growers and in later life in a Technical role with a major supplier, enabled me to gain a full perspective of growing and marketing.


For the last 15 years via my English Apple Man website, I have been able to spread an understanding of the joy and despair associated with growing fruit and farming in general.


Any regular reader of my weekly Journal will be well aware of the desperate crisis facing our fruit industry and pretty much all sections of British agriculture. Recently efforts to make the situation clear to everyone that a continuation of current policies and practices will bring about a drastic reduction in home grown food production, culminating in imported produce as the only (and that is by no means certain) source of meaningful supply. Only The Government can solve this, Supermarkets are killing our home grown producers, but Government can and MUST legislate (or even apply current legislation) for a viable British Farming and Growing to survive.





Many will have seen the British Farmers Tractor Rally in London on TV. Groups called Save British Farming and Fairness for Farmers of Kent staged a slow-moving convoy around Westminster.



It was so pleasing that the Rally was well supported with well over 100 tractors taking part. Farmers who attended told me the general public present, and there were many, were understanding and fully supportive of the farmers highlighting the unfair challenge facing them. The Police I am told were brilliant and the evening was an excellent example of our fair minded British way of life.



One tractor could be seen in front of Big Ben with a banner reading "Save UK food security" draped over its front, as farmers stood by holding placards, while two more also 'spread the word'



Below: left. 'On the way to London Town and right. The Tractor masses gather before entering the Capital.



Below: More scenes across London on Monday evening



Below: Tractors across London



Below: Liz Webster


Wiltshire beef and arable farmer Liz Webster said: "In 2019, this government was elected with a mandate to uphold our standards and deliver a ready-made deal with the EU which would see British agriculture boom. It is now entirely obvious that they have totally betrayed us all.


"Polling shows that the public back British farming and food and want to maintain our high food standards and support local producers.


"We need a radical change of policy and an urgent exit from these appalling trade deals which will decimate British food."


Organisers have also criticised labelling that allows products to bear a union flag when they have not been grown or reared in Britain.


Ms Webster claimed the current situation was "like going out with the English football team to the World Cup and saying 'off you go, you've got chains on your legs and chains on your hands'. We are completely and utterly disadvantaged".


Trade deals with New Zealand, Australia, and 11 other countries after entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Asia-Pacific trade bloc, along with a lack of import checks, were allowing lower standard foods into the country, she added.


Jeff Gibson, founder of Kent Fairness for Farmers, said: "It's so important that our message about substandard imports, dishonest labelling and concerns for food security is heard.


"With an election looming, we want to ensure the next incoming government takes up our cause."


Geoffrey Philpott, a cauliflower farmer in east Kent, who is bringing three tractors to the rally, said: "I hope to be farming for many years to come, but if things don't change, I won't be and I won't be employing the 14 people who work for me.


"Then we will be reliant on foreign produce that will not have the high standard of UK production. Once that happens, we could be held to ransom over supply and pricing.


That is all for this week


Take care


The English Apple Man