I ventured down the allotment yesterday for the first time since I fell ill; so that must be 2 months or so. I was dreading it. Not just because of the likelihood it had all gone to rack and ruin, but also in case I met any of the Site Stasi down there, because being ill for the longest period in my life was likely to be viewed as a poor excuse for letting things slip.

There was one small glimmer amongst this prospect – the thought of trying out a recent gift of a pair of 160S Felcos.

Having put it off for most of the morning on the pretext that it might start raining again, there was no delaying it any further, so I set about gathering my stuff together.

“I want to come” announced Little Boots, who had been in all morning and had cabin fever. My heart sank. When tiny, LB had loved the allotment, once announcing it to be “The best place in the world” and was content to sit and dig for worms in the mud. More recent visits have been less sedate and involved tearing around the site like a demented spaniel.

The combination of an allotment looking a mess, with a lot of work to do, a small bored child, and the village nazis clucking did not appeal one tiny bit. But, taking a deep breath I said “OK”.

But I really needn’t have worried. Of course nothing grows much in September and October, so there wasn’t as much to do as I feared. And the dull drizzly weather meant we were the only ones on site. But the best bit was Little Boots, keen to be given jobs to do. True none of these jobs engaged the mite very much, but then the Felcos appeared. Seeing that I had 2 pairs of secateurs, the munchkin did that thing that small children do and immediately assumed that was one was theirs.

The S in 160S is for Small, but it just as well could stand for Sport as they have rather whizzy black and red handles and made “ordinary” Felcos look just that. Consequently they appealed no-end, as did Little Boots until I relented and allowed some closely supervised cutting.

It ended up with LB, now an expert in pruning, being allowed to look after the Sports Secateurs, provided they weren’t removed from my full size holster. I looped it, bandolier-style, on a piece of string across the munchkin’s chest and there followed a period of instruction from the small person – marching around the site and pointing out what things the adult should cut down next.

We eventually scuttled off home with some lettuce, wild rocket, and the last few courgettes that had survived. Oh and a gherkin the size of a hand-grenade.

And, (how could I forget?) masses of Runner and French bean pods. The idea was that we would both shell them when we got in. A fun job I thought. Unfortunately I didn’t account for The Wizard of Oz being on telly, and was left alone with the beans and a pile of muddy clothes.