At times it seems, even nature can use a little help. With a dreadful winter spreading into an even worse spring, the bees, already under attack from disease, are slow to emerge and much of the blossom could now use a little human assistance.

So on a perfect late May bank holiday Sunday, we were dispatched from our hammocks in the scent filled garden into the apple orchard, armed to the teeth with paint brushes:  two legged worker bees aged  from 6 to 82 to help our winged friends pollinate our small crop of Worcester and Cox apple  trees.

Perhaps it didn’t help much, but it felt that at least we were trying and we convinced our 6 year old that he was actually making apples.

It’s not exactly hard work, ambling between the low branches of blossom laden trees, but it made us consider the rhythm of nature and that if it’s stalled, the ramifications can be severe.

In our case, a very minor problem of a lack of fresh, stewed apple in late September. However, multiply this a thousand times across the apple orchards of Kent and Sussex and the position is not so.

So we kept on brushing and in the meantime hoping that our bees would soon appear to continue the job they’ve been at since time immemorial and doing it a thousand times better than us.

Still, if the apples do appear, they really will be ours.