A man with a full crop of face apples has blamed ‘an unseasonably warm December’. 35 year-old Derek Grantham has never fruited before, and biologists believe it is yet more evidence that changes to our climate can confuse Mother Nature.
“I thought it odd that my lawn still needed mowing in November”, confirmed Grantham. “Normally I can safely put the lawnmower away in October, just after we’ve pruned back the cat. But we've been collecting berries from our rabbits as late as last week, and I’m already digging up tortoises that are sprouting.”
Grantham is ashamed to go out in public with his face covered in pomaceous fruit, particularly as a lot of the apples have bad skin. “Some of the smaller apples are especially embarrassing”, admitted the moderately wealthy source of Vitamin C. “From below, they look a bit like dogs’ bottoms. The man at the garden centre said the stress of fruiting too early can cause health problems, he's painted grease round my knees, to reduce the risk of canker."
Grantham’s wife is trying to be supportive of her husband, but admitted she prefers a banana. “I enjoyed it when he was in blossom, the scent more or less made up for the bees and it’s nice having a husband who counts as one of my five a day. But I’m not completely sure he’s innocent in all this. My mum swears she caught him self-pollinating in the greenhouse, the dirty little sod.”
Fortunately, help is available for sufferers of male pippin boldness. “I’ve joined a support group where we can discuss our fears, work through our self-esteem issues and exchange recipes”, said Grantham. “Last week we went on a field trip together, it was liberating to stand in neat rows, sunning our coxes. The organiser didn’t even charge us, although he did let some Romanians give us a bit of a shake and pick up the fallers. He’s always wanted an orchard.”
Grantham hopes that he will eventually learn to adapt to warmer winters, and is receiving expert help. “There’s a range of treatments available. Some people have been wrapped in newspaper and stored in sheds until the Spring, or treated with a range of creams, poultices and custard", explained the heavy cropper, but Grantham is trying something more radical. "Doctors are planning to repot me, so I only produce chest fruit in future. It's too early to say if it'll be successful, but I look forward to the day when I can hide these beauties away from prying scrumpers. The surgeon hopes he can bud this in the nips."