I should not go on about the garden – apologies – but I just have to let you see the latest courgette, writes Fiona Armstrong.
It is not the norm, I know. Then this round variety is an Italian offering.
It is a ‘Di Nizza’, and it probably should have been picked rather earlier than it was.
Yes, I think I have let this one grow into a mini monster. Which may mean it is a tough old thing.
No matter. I tell myself that once it is peeled, halved and stuffed with something savoury it will be OK.
The vegetable garden is going great guns this year. There has been a lot of sun – and a lot of watering, too.
But my productive patch is not a patch on those I see this week.
We are filming at an allotment: eighty-two fruitful plots in what was once a scrubby field.
The gardeners that tend these sites are awesome. They either come with a wealth of knowledge, or a sackful of enthusiasm.
Whatever it is, they are growing all manner of delicacies: from melons to mangetout, broccoli to broad beans.
Allotments were popular in lockdown
Yes, freezers will be bursting with fresh grown produce. Yet during lockdown these places did not just provide food for the table.
Over the last eighteen months the allotment became somewhere to escape the house and exercise. It was to prove a tonic for mind and body.
Growers could potter about in their own space. Generally two metres away from the next person – and well out in the open air.
So, let us hear it for the humble allotment. Because the seeds of change are in the air.
Allotments took off in the Victorian age when poor people were offered the use of small pieces of land on which to grow their food.
Later, during the shortages of two world wars, folk were encouraged to use these plots to produce vegetables and fruit for themselves and their neighbours.
Digging for Victory
They were Digging for Victory – and they were doing it in towns up and down the country.
Allotments sprung up by railway lines and on waste ground. Poor soil was manured, cultivated and lovingly planted.
Then as the century progressed, the allotment fell out of favour.
It is now enjoying a comeback and there are more than ten thousand of them in communities right around Scotland – many with a waiting list.
But back to my own prize courgette. Having been much admired by the chief I take it out on the lawn to show the MacNaughties.
Benny the Norfolk puppy thinks it a ball and rolls it round the grass. He needs his hair cutting round his eyes, by the way.
Then the Chow Chow joins the game and sinks her teeth into the flesh.
The thing will still get washed, cooked, and eaten. And I hope to report it delicious.
And if if you are wondering how to get a puppy to pose with a funny-shaped vegetable – the trick is to place a small biscuit just on the top…