Battle Brewery, Netherfield Hill: Being a man of few words, as you can tell from column, when I received the call to visit the brewery once again to taste the new “Porter” ale that was finally out of the vats, how could I refuse? My wife and I parked the car and ambled the short distance along the “walkway to heaven” to be greeted like old friends in the place where this “eau de vie” is brewed. They used to talk about your “amber nectar” and your “black gold” from Dublin but one was too sweet and the other was too sour for my particular palate so it was a revelation to find something I really enjoyed. Porter is supposed to derive from the term river porter, who used to drink these dark beers in the 18th Century, not that you have to offload boats any more to be able to drink this ambrosia.
After the welcoming meet and greet and the reminisces about our previous encounter we explained that we had come to enjoy the new brew. With trepidation I lifted the offered tasting receptacle to my nose and take in the smell of this first foray into their “brown-malted” ambrosia. It rested gently on the senses in my nose, allowing my head to receive the first knowledge of the complexities of this new brew. I shut my eyes as it infused my head with pictures of country, hops and cleanliness.
I then moved the tasting vessel to my mouth and sipped this dark, dense concoction, allowing it to rest on my tongue for a few seconds to allow the complexities to permeate my taste buds. Chocolate and dates were the first things that came through the liquid, and oh so smooth. Emptying my mouth of this deliciously bitter experience, I was greatly impressed by the long finish, which stayed in my mouth, for what appeared to me to be about five minutes. So I purchased a supply and can drink it at my leisure. Try some.
Battle Neighbourhood Plan: Residents of Netherfield the details of the free bus transport to and from the Memorial Hall are as follows: Friday morning 28th April Depart 10.00am from outside Netherfield Village Shop. Arrive Battle Memorial Hall 10.20 am. - Return Battle Memorial Hall 11.20. Arrive Netherfield 11.40am. Friday Afternoon 28th April Depart 14.00 from outside Netherfield Village Shop. Arrive Battle Memorial Hall 14.20. - Return Battle Memorial Hall 15.20. Arrive Netherfield 15.40.
Reflections on a garden: At this time of year clumps of iris and montbretia need to be attended to. The iris expand and eventually leave an unproductive centre. So they need to be raised, chopped and replanted in smaller parcels in the same plot. Mind you that is easier said than done, as these flowers seem to have a wish to reside in the specific position that you moved them to last time this task was performed. However, after being extracted and chopped and placed in their allotted space, well watered and given a compost boost, they seem to be thriving.
The montbretia on the other hand spread in clumps of individual bulbs which are like strings of pearls when they are lifted. A garden thug it is true, but they do present a colourful interlude in late summer which makes the extra effort worthwhile.
It is also the time I check the cold composting (ex builders) bags that have a three to four year cycle to turn into black gold. Leaves, grass and trimmings from our plants are emptied into one of these home-made composting units, and when full, are stacked one on top of the other, so the weight compresses the contents over time. The two year ones are full of worms and other insects, including slugs and for those of a nervous disposition the sight can be off-putting. However, the outputs compensate for this once a year look into the abyss.
So, reversing the stacks each year as I do means that every bag gets a chance to go from top to bottom. When they are ready, as two were this week, you are left with a loam-like consistency which when you rub through your gloved fingers, crumbles to show it is ready to cover the beds with a natural boost which is organic and holistic. Dragging the bags from there resting place over the last few years to a space where I can empty the contents into a wheelbarrow is challenging as the change in the contents seems to have added extra weight. Or maybe it is because I am getting older.
Anyway, I shovelled and my dear lady wife distributed. Bliss
More next week........
Claverham Badminton Club: Thirteen players crossed the entrance to the centre and made their way to the hall. The evening was intense and the matches were well fought. Many times I heard defeated protagonists bemoaning their loss to the opponents. That is how it works, one minute you are up, you change partners and you don’t get the right shot to win the match. It was another good week though.
Mobile Library Service: Well it could be happening, we could be losing our mobile library service. Only 1700 people use the facility and 46% of those visit their nearest static library too. So there could be no more more visits to Netherfield. As they said: use it or lose it. Mind you, we have a high percentage of young people leaving school who have not been introduced to the wonders of books. Computers and tablets do not have the same cachet as turning a page and feeling the book. Having tried the tablet form of books I was definitely not impressed. So my kindle gathers dust on the shelf. You can’t pick up a 100 year old book through a tablet and go wow.
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