Testing times

The weather continues to be very sunny and too hot for me. The mercury rose to 30 degrees today and, not for the first time, I was very thankful for the terrace and Clive’s Corner. Even with the devastating haircut, the tree still provides sufficient shade now it’s covered in leaves.

The walk into Farnham was warm, the natives generally friendly, the market a delight. In fact there were a few new stalls this month (mind you, the Charmer seems to have left for pastures greener).

There was an incredible fermented veg company called Bodkin’s. It was created by a woman in order to help her son’s gut recover from his excessive antibiotic requirements.

Super yummy

I tasted their kimchi and was very keen but I went for the cabbage and carrot to compare with mine. It was delicious. It’s also available at the new wholefoods shop in Downing Street so I can always buy a jar regardless of the market.

Another new one was a sort of very small scale brewery. They make binary botanical, purporting to be a ‘beer for wine lovers’. As I approached, intrigued by such a claim, the South African woman selling it asked if I was a wine lover. Naturally I told her I was both a wine and a beer lover. She gave me a taste of her beer.

Super refreshing

She explained that they use only the hop leaves rather than the hops themselves which reduces the hoppy taste and makes it slightly sweeter. It also makes it very refreshing. I bought half a dozen. By the time I had the barbi going later in the day, I’d opened a cold one and was suitably refreshed.

Mirinda had a sip and said it still tasted like beer but also of wine and something refreshingly spritz’y.

Of course the Pickle Bear was there. The woman smiled when she saw me and reached under the counter. In her hand was a jar which she said was especially for me.

Super pickled

It was the last asparagus of last season and meant to tide me over before the first of this season becomes available next month. I was very mean at lunchtime allowing only one spear each. It does have to last, after all.

Finally, I bought the usual goats cheese (this time wrapped in a vine leaf) from the Knowles Farm stall and had a bit of a laugh with another chap with a walking stick who, it seems, does the same thing as I do every month. Mind you, he doesn’t have a wicker trolley which I think is a sad reflection on his sense of style. His trolley is one of those ordinary ones. The cloth isn’t even patterned.

Back at home, Mirinda was Skyping so I made myself busy. I decanted the bone broth which had been bubbling away for the previous 24 hours before marinating the pork for the kebabs I’d planned for tonight’s barbi. (I also did a little bit of research into a soldier who returned from the war which I’ll write about tomorrow…probably.)

The afternoon (after a mercy dash to the garden centre for some charcoal) was spent fixing up Mirinda’s thesis for the final publication requirements. It was during this fevered, intellectual time that the third test reached it’s extraordinary climax.

The morning had started badly for England and Australia was slowly whittling down the batsmen until all that was needed was one more. Ben Stokes, however, didn’t agree and he batted like a hero. He managed to keep the dream alive as he smashed the ball around, leaving his final batting partner, Jack Leach, to score a single run while holding up the non-strikers end.

It was an amazing finish as Australia desperately tried to win. Aggers was almost apoplectic in the TMS commentary box as England edged slowly closer to a win of their own. Then the score was tied and Australia couldn’t win. Then Stokes smashed the ball for four and it was all over.

Like the Men’s Cricket World Cup, Mirinda’s excitement grew with each ball bowled. We stopped all editing work as the inevitable happened and England won the third men’s Ashes test.

Obviously I’d rather that Australia had won but, to be completely honest, the fact that the series now stands at one win apiece, a draw and two more to go means the series is well and truly alive. I’m hopeful that it will make for some more fantastic cricket.

It’s clear why cricket is my favourite sport.

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