Barbara Murphy

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I have always had an interest in writing since I was younger. I have been in a few classes over the years. The piece I am exhibiting is an exercise I had to do, I had to write a piece of prose about an object in my area. I wrote about a tree in the garden where I live. I write short stories but I have never had anything published yet. I have entered a few competitions.

Current project

I am exploring a few ideas at the moment.

Writing sample

The Apple Tree

I live on Novara Avenue just down the road from the college. I have become aware of an apple tree over the past few years. Every year at this time its fruit can be seen lying about; some fall victim to a passing car, some pecked at by birds, some kicked to the side of the path and some going rotten. It stands tall, alone hanging over a gate. The majority of the houses on that road are old. It makes me wonder had it been part of an orchard at one stage, perhaps there were other similar trees but now it’s solitary, overlooked. Maybe young children climbed the branches or a sleepy cat may have taken refuge underneath in its shadow.

It’s a cooking apple tree (I keep thinking of all those apple tarts that could have been made.) It reminds me of the ones my mum used to make. We had apple trees in the garden. Some were cooking apple trees and some were eating apple trees. My grandmother would pick the “windfalls” (those that had fallen too early) and she would make apple jelly jam out of it. She would peel them, chop them up and boil them and then they would be strained through a piece of muslin. This took place over a couple of weeks. An upturned chair would be placed on a table, the muslin would be tied to the chair legs like a small hammock and it would drip through the muslin into a bowl underneath. The end result would be a red liquid which would be brought to the boil in a pot and sugar added. Then finally it would become the jam. Smaller eating apples were stored away on shelves until ripe. There was always a lovely smell of apples when I would enter that room.

As a young child I decided to make a hammock in one of the cooking apple trees in our garden out of an old sheet, I thought would be a great idea. Not being strong enough to the tie the knots and not taking into account my weight as opposed to the cloth, it tore slightly and then twisted around, leaving me suspended upside down.

It makes me feel sad to think that this tree is being ignored, not utilised – redundant. A sign of times passed. Now that autumn is here the leaves will start to turn and it will eventually become bare like a skeleton. A reminder that winter is coming, but I will look forward to seeing the blossom in the Spring.

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