THESE are nervous times in the village. One false move now could result in disaster and humiliation again this summer.
Despite the current cold weather, things are hotting up in our neck of the woods as the annual cut-throat race to grow the best vegetables gets underway.
The fact that people have chosen to leave the hustle-bustle of the town or city and live in a peaceful rural village does not stop them from being fiercely competitive – especially when it comes to the garden.
Wealthy East Anglian landowners sitting on thousands of acres of prime arable farmland could not have devoted any more time than us to choose what to plant.
March weekends have been spent pouring over horticultural catalogues and the Sunday supplements to decide whether to grow the versatile Tromboncino courgettes or the British-bred Defenders with their resistance to cucumber mosaic virus, in our tiny windswept vegetable plot. Our main, nay only, criterion is: Will they beat Sally’s?
We manage to hold our own in the cottage garden stakes with a respectable showing of colourful blooms, but when it comes to legumes, neighbour Sally is the undisputed Queen of the Vegetables.
Not content with being a financial hotshot for an American bank, she gets up at 5am every day to feed and muck out her horse.
At weekends, when she is not fixing the dry stone walls or walking the dog, she is to be found traipsing the country lanes around Bolster Moor picking up litter.