So much is happening down at the allotments that I hardly know where to begin.

The last we saw of head-scarved Harry, he was ashen-faced and coke-addled following his botched gender reassignment. The Lady of Shallot was disembodied in the shed, dreaming of a handsome hobby-horse person 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. And now they have.

Harry gave birth to a daughter. At least, I assume that’s what happened, as a mini Harry has appeared next to the big one. And there is no sign of the father. 

Delightful as it is to hear the patter of tiny scarecrow feet (or whatever passes for them) I feel sorry for the Lady. The loss of her entire body over a year ago has affected her own chances of getting pregnant. Also, what son-of-a-broomstick fathered Harry’s daughter?

There are suspects. First on my list is Ranking Roy, with his Rasta hat and black plastic dreads. His relaxed demeanour is very attractive, I admit. Second is Stan from South Park. Stan isn’t exactly a looker, being wider than he is tall, but perhaps he laughed Harry into (raised) bed.

To try to get to the bottom of things, I amble over to Harry’s plot. Harry looks dowdy today, in rubber gloves and a tired, tiered hippy skirt. Single parenthood must be taking its toll. Mini Harry on the other hand looks smart in an orange pinafore dress, green bow tie and bright blue hat with sunflower.

I wonder if this outfit offers a clue. But it isn’t Ranking Roy’s style at all and I don’t think South Park Stan would take any interest in dressing a child. It was probably Harry who chose the clothes, or let Mini Harry pick them out herself. Reluctantly I decide that clothing may not be the most reliable determinant of paternity.

Just before I turn to go, something strikes me anew about Mini Harry’s expression. That spooky cool, that smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes – where have I seen them before? The answer is suddenly obvious. In hobby-horse person, the Lady’s new love.

It is a betrayal of some magnitude. I feel terrible on the Lady’s behalf. But then, what could I have done to prevent it? No human gardener can prevent scarecrow shenanigans. In our presence they loiter and loaf, but when we go home at night, they are together in the dark for hours with just the moon for company. Nothing interrupts them bar the odd flood, shed break-in or the lads who steal everyone’s pears and plums.

I walk slowly back to my own plot. I am deeply affected, not least because I must now delay my plan to re-embody the Lady. She must be kept in the dark about this latest development, for the time being at least.

I’m not without hope though. With all the twists and turns of this tatterdemalion love affair, it can’t be long before fate turns in the Lady’s favour. 

Drawings by Janis Goodman