A FEW years ago we cleared our coal stage bank of vegetation.

At the end of the coal stage was an apple tree that we had grown to love, so we took some cuttings and two of the little trees are now growing in the allotment at Didcot Railway Centre.

At this summer’s volunteering event at Cornerstone, I met colleagues from Sustainable Didcot and, remembering the huge number of apples we have on one of our long-established apple trees by the main demonstration line, suggested that we work together to have some kind of harvesting event in the autumn.

Our initial discussions went well and we arranged to meet at Didcot in July to plan an apple pressing day.

Then we had a disaster.

The day before the meeting, our most abundant apple tree was blown over by high winds, leaving hundreds of unripe apples on the ground.

We decided to go ahead with the meeting but found that our other apple trees had not had a good year and we didn’t have many apples.

We found pears and damsons but they are not very good for pressing: not a good start for an apple day but we don’t let minor details like that get in the way of a good idea!

Sustainable Didcot has use of an apple press so we agreed to go ahead with an apple day on Sunday, September 30.

We also have a lovely crop of blackberries and wondered whether an apple and blackberry day was on the agenda – though of course we have to be careful not to pick blackberries after a particular date as that is when the devil spits on them.

I thought the date was September 1, but my friend Google suggests a couple of other dates – Michaelmas (September 29) or October 11. The legend is that the devil was kicked out of heaven and landed on a blackberry bush and this made him so mad that he spat on the bush and cursed its fruit. We’re not taking any risks!

Although we don’t have many of our own apples this year, we hope visitors will bring their own apples and join us for apple pressing and activities. Visitors can also explore Didcot Railway Centre at their leisure and see the history of railways from Brunel's broad gauge to the modern trains that run past the centre. The Engine Shed, carriage display, First World War exhibition, air raid shelter, loco works and our new Signalling Centre will all be open.

It is the end of our season so we won’t have any trains running that day but we are offering free entry for children. Come along and bring your apples, we look forward to seeing you.