CHARLES PELVIN b. 27 Feb 1892 the eldest of twins born to Charles and Jessie Pelvin; d. 13 Aug 1975, Loburn, Rangiora. CHARLES enrolled at the Tawai School on 28 Oct 1897; home address Waitaki. He left after Std 3 for home doing farm work. He was a great dance band pianist before and after World War 1 and a very clever man with machinery, especially motor engines, bikes and cars.
His military call-up came in 1917, place Glenavy; Occ; Farmer. He never married and in 1936 joined his brother William on “Sunkist Orchard” at Loburn .
(Report by Vicky Duncan for a ChCh paper)
When a North Island couple bought a
Lowburn orchard, they found they had also acquired an old identity of the
district, Charlie Pelvin, 82.
In the 1930's, there was not much local
demand for apples, and most of those grown at Lowburn were exported.
Becase of the high quality required of export apples, there was a lot of
waste fruit which was just right for making into cider. There was no
secret in making good cider, according to Mr Pelvin. But he said his
"snake juice" had to be 18% alcohol or it would not keep. The apple juice
was squeezed out of bags and put into barrels, then 4 lb of sugar was
added to a gallon of juice. The amount had to be precise or the cider
turned into vinegar. "Once we did not have enough sugar in a batch and had
to tip it out. We poured it out along a long line of weeping willows and
they died with the potency of the stuff." From the tree stump he was
sitting on, Mr Pelvin waved his hand across the road where the trees had
been, and pointed to the one weeping willow that survived.
Maturing time for the cider was nine
months and by all accounts it was a refreshing drink. A writer in 1932
described it as "a satisfactory substitute for Olympian nectar on a hot
day with a dusty road behind and another ahead."
Mrs A Watson, of a nearby orchard, says Mr Pelvin always keeps up with what the young folk are doing, and does not miss a thing. He has his little quirkes but these only endear him to his Lowburn friends. "Sometimes he will just lie down in the orchard or by the roadside and go to sleep. They say he slept in a chair for a year until someone gave him a bed," said Mrs Watson. When he is not talking to friends, or keeping up with the young ones, Mr Pelvin still finds time to help out in the orchard, but cider these days is out of the question. "Apples and sugar are too dear now" he says.