So much has happened down at the allotment since I last posted that I hardly know where to begin.

The last we saw of head-scarved Harry, he was ashen-faced and coke-addled following his bodged gender reassignment. The Lady of Shallot was disembodied in the shed, dreaming of a handsome hobby-horse-boy she’d glimpsed on another plot.

Harry and Shally’s romance was beginning to look as unpromising as some of my own youthful encounters. I wondered if things could get worse between them. Then they did.

Harry gave birth. At least, I assume that’s what went on, as a mini Harry appeared on the neighbour’s plot. 

Yorkshire allotment humour

Harry and mini-Harry

Delightful though it was to anticipate the patter of tiny whatever passed for scarecrow feet, I felt sorry for the Lady. The loss of her entire body over a year ago had affected her chances of getting pregnant. Also, what son-of-a-broomstick had fathered Harry’s child?

There were suspects. First was Ranking Roy, with his rasta hat and black plastic dreads. Second was Stan from South Park, as wide as he is tall but no doubt a good laugh. But somehow, neither of these two latter-day tatterdemalions seemed likely. From behind the neighbour’s shed, I gave mini-Harry the once-over. The vacant gaze, the smile that didn’t quite reach the eyes. The spooky cool. Where had I seen that before? The answer was clear. In hobby-horse-boy, the Lady’s new love.

Yorkshire allotment humour

The Lady’s new love

It was a betrayal of some magnitude. But what could I have done to prevent it? Nothing. A human gardener simply can’t prevent scarecrow shenanigans. In your presence they loiter and loaf but when your back is turned, it all happens. Trying to stop it is as impossible as making rain fall in a drought, or buying just enough seeds and no more.

So we are learning to live with the consequences. I’m getting used to our new allotment family. It may take the Lady a little longer.