At this time of year I look forward to picking French beans, which have developed beans inside the pods. They are like the beans, haricots for example, which you buy dried and have to soak for a few hours before cooking, but because they are fresh, you can remove them from the withering pod and cook them right away. They only need sauteeing for a couple of minutes in olive oil with a sliver of garlic or chopped shallot, to be ready to eat, soft and full of flavour.
We were away for only eight days. When we left it was still summer. Now there is no question that Autumn has arrived. Autumn or Fall? I prefer the American term, which is briefer and more evocative. Dry brown leaves are already beginning to drift on to paths, unmistakable signs of Autumm, but the yellow leaves of silver birch, scattered on the grass, from a distance resemble small crocuses or the petals of other spring flowers.
Outside Caffe Nero on the corner of Calverley Precinct, three Italians are talking voluably. One wears a black Caffe Nero t-shirt. Are they there to add authenticity to this Italian style coffee house chain? I doubt it. But this is Tunbridge Wells.