A writer's fruit


When we bought our house many years ago, a couple of friends came round to visit. Although the husband conceded that it had potential, his remarks were largely disparaging, especially about my DIY ventures (well, actually he had a point there). The garden also came in for criticism, notably the néflier, which he called ‘a little runt of a tree’ that was pointless. For some reason, we’ve lost touch with these friends. But I’d like to show him a picture of the néflier now, not only luxuriant but this year, for the first time, laden with fruit. More specifically with medlars, the best fruit you’ve never heard of.


There were two secrets behind this success. Firstly, patience – it’ll bear fruit when it’s ready. And secondly, don’t be afraid to prune it. Ruthlessly cut away those unwanted or unsightly branches – it’ll only come back more strongly, what’s more in the shape you intended. And that, come to think of it, is perfect advice for a writer.

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  1. Yes, excellent advice. I continue to prune.

    When the fruit is ready to eat, would you please cut one open and post a photo? Maybe describe its flavor, too. How do you eat it? Washed and unpeeled? Would they be good in pies or tarts?

    • I should think they’d make excellent pies though there’s not a lot of fruit in it. I was going to make a crumble but we’re away for a week now so had to pick them all before leaving and turn them into jam/chutney. So I’ll let you know how that tastes. Very sweet is my first impression.

  2. Hi Curtis – prune … most things need pruning! But I’d love to know how you prepare said fruits … they are very ancient and were well loved and now by you are well loved too – cheers Hilary

    • They seem to respond to pruning better than most – our fig tree didn’t like it at all. We turned them all into jam as we were going away and didn’t want to let the magpies have them!

      • I guess there are a few varieties, a least one of which grows on our west coast within 1,000 miles of where I live. Google has photos of both the fresh and rotten ones. :s

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