Our vegetables turn heads, you see. Shopkeepers sneak a break from their rows of chocolate and crisps and cigarettes. Couples look up from their lunches and hurry outside, clutching half-eaten sandwiches. Fluorescent-jacketed workmen rest on their spades and rub dusty fingers across their eyes.
There is envy, of course:
‘My artichoke took two years to flower, and just look at that one.’
‘How come they get to sit in the dry and we’re all out here in the rain?’
The driver raises his fist amongst the spring onions and pea plants, and whoops. Two women rest their backs against a metal bar and walk wooden circles across tarmac; past lines of static gardens – poppies the size of dinner plates, cropped lavender borders. Mobile phone conversations degenerate: ‘I’m just on Wharf Road and there’s like a giant vegetable patch with a wheel on the back and these guys wearing long-johns….’
There is love and laughter too:
‘You’ve made my day.’
‘That’s brilliant, that is, brilliant.’
There’s enough chard for a salad. There’s enough rain for a flood. Whistles and hooters, cymbals and shouts. There are ways of getting through tight spaces, and the cars are happy enough to wait. Green shoots on grey streets. Picnics in the rain. Our vegetables turn heads, you see, leave magic in your mind.
Inspired by the launch of Frances Thorburn’s Mobile Picnic Pavilion, 29th May 2010