At our last Creative Writing Group I gave as homework the following scenario for them to write a story around. 

“A man goes into an allotment and finds a woman on the ground by the runner beans”

This is my story!

Charlie had got up just as it was getting light, and after a quick cup of tea he pulled on a black hoodie and went out to his battered blue van.    He drove quietly to the allotments, turning out his headlights well before he approached the gates.     Parking his van under a large oak tree, he approached the gates, making sure he was alone.    He unlocked the padlock which fastened the gates, and slipped in like a shadow.

He decided to dig up Alf Wright’s potatoes, first, as he knew they were just on ready.   A good batch of really fresh new potatoes would sell, well like hot potatoes!   He left his own allotment alone this time, as it was well away over in the corner.   Occasionally he would dig up some stuff from his own plot, just to look like he’d been relieved of some vegetables too.

Having filled half the sack he had brought with him we went on to Mike Burnett’s – he didn’t like Mike, poncey chap, thinking he was living off the land, or something.     Tried to tell all the others (which strangely, included Charlie) what they were doing wrong.    His potatoes put a biggish load into Charlie’s sack.   Charlie missed out Mike’s neighbour, Ralph (pronounced Rafe, dear boy!) as he was growing those fancy Pink Fir potatoes, which didn’t sell at all well.

Charlie went on quickly to Ron’s plot, when he heard a faint cry.    He looked around, and saw a woman lying in Ron’s runner beans.   He looked more closely.

“For the love of God, Marge, what are you doing there?”

“Oh, its you Charlie, thank goodness for that.    I came to get some beans off Ron’s plants, when I slipped, and I’ve dropped me glasses, and it was so dark I couldn’t find them, and I’m scared of moving in case I lie on them”

“God, Marge, some mothers do ‘ave ‘em!.   ‘Ere, I’ve got a little torch, careful now, it’s getting very light.   We don’t want any early birds coming ‘ere for their worms, do we?”

Charlie shone his torch carefully round Marge’s not insubstantial body, and caught a gleam of glass by her elbow.

“Keep still, Marge, I’ve got ‘em ‘ere”

“Oh bless you, Charlie”, and Marge heaved her body up and tried to knock some of the mud off her coat.    She grabbed her bag, which she had filled with beans, and stood by Charlie.

“Suns’ coming up, better be off.  ‘Ow’jer get ‘ere?   Give you a lift if you like”

“Ta, Charlie, came on me bike, its behind the fence.   Will it go in your van?”

“No trouble”, replied Charlie, and they walked quickly towards the gates.

With the bike, two carrier bags of beans and a sack of potatoes, Charlie and Marge set off towards the town.

“You still doing the markets?” asked Charlie

“Nah, not with my legs.   These beans are for that fancy greengrocer – ‘e gives me a good price, marks them ‘local grown’, or sometimes ‘organic’ and they sell very quick.   You still there?”

“No, getting too old for that every day.   Les taken over now, got lots of new ideas.   These are for the Farmers’ Market, call meself  East Low Potato Farm, still got a few maincrop looking OK, sell this lot by mid-morning, get back by time Pubs’ open!”

“Why not take them up to that greengrocer I was telling you.   Come with me, he’d love spuds like that, ‘Local grown’ an’ all” she winked.

“Yeah, brilliant!   Let’s go girl!”

© Gillian Peall

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