Mange Tout




Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm (with yellow filter), Ilford FP4 plus, (pushed to ISO 400 in Ilfosol 3)

My better half has created the wonderful beginnings of a vegetable plot in a small area of the garden by the back door.  There are potatoes, cabbages, raspberries, strawberries, lettuces, radishes, a few other things that I’m not sure of and one of our favourites, Mange Tout.  (Since the above photo was taken they have grown quite a bit and are now supported by a clever arrangement of canes and string.)

When I was at school there was a strange sort of limbo time after all our A-level exams and before the end of term.  The boarding school was in the middle of nowhere in the Suffolk countryside and there was not a whole lot to do.  Someone had the bright idea that we could go and earn some money on a local farm, so off we went  cycling five miles or so to a farm that needed people to pick the crop of Mange Tout.  It was back-breaking work, it was baking hot but all quite good fun.  I’ll never forget the first day, we were surrounded by all sorts of interesting people from many different places who had very little English but could pick Mange Tout so fast their hands were just a blur.  I was quite proud of my several basketfuls and was convinced that my hard labour would earn me a small fortune.  As the day was coming to an end we were paid – I got seven pounds!  On the cycle back to school we stopped off at a pub, bought a meal and a drink and had about twenty pence left over.  But what happy times they were. 

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