The first signs that something might be afoot were the eerie light created by a low sun under dense thundery clouds, and the sudden urgency in the flight of the Blackbirds and Wood Pigeons seeking shelter. As the storm moved in, hail rained down, blanketing the ground with shiny white marbles of ice. The hens sensibly bolted for their coop, I on the other hand, rather stupidly went for a walk in the orchard! Fortified with a glass of cider, and protected by a wide-brimmed hat, the storm raged around me in spectacular thundery fashion.
I've heard many times of hail storms ruining a grape harvest, but this is the first time I've encountered this kind of damage to our fruit trees. I'd guesstimate around 50% of the leaves on the apple trees are damaged, and the blossom on the James Grieve has taken a knock. I think it's early enough in the season for the trees to recover, none of them are in full leaf yet and most are a few days off blossom-time.
The storm has passed, calm is now restored, and a Bank Holiday weekend of gardening and relaxation is nearly upon us. After the recent barreling up of our ciders, the fridge is well stocked too, which is a nice bonus.