At the allotment Little Boots is no longer such a liability, and seems to actually enjoy working with me down there, rather than constantly demanding to be occupied and entertained.

Certainly my back is grateful, when digging spuds, for a short assistant to pick them up.

The munchkin can also be employed in picking beans, although this is not without problems.

This year I grew my climbing French beans on string cordons much as grapes are grown.

The idea was that they could then be picked from both sides which would be more effective than if they were grown up wigwams.

What I did not spot was that there was a fundamental design flaw in this plan.

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