Tom has a magic pumpkin forest. He plants them with care then lets them race riotous across the plot and over the allotment wall, hauling them back in from the Garsiwn. They swell secretly under the leaf canopy and he doesn’t know what’s happening in there till he goes in for the harvest at the first whisper of frost. This year there’s only half the usual quantity due to the bad summer – eighteen fat Marina di Choggias.

 My plants sulked through the summer and didn’t get lusty till September when it was all far too late. We had a few the size of apples, and a dozen small enough to stir fry whole. Mark thinks we’re on to something – he says we should market them to the modern man in a rush. But we also had two to be proud of, a pair big enough for Jack O’Lanterns.

Yoyo came for a Halloween sleepover. We strung up chocolate apples, ate witches’ fingers, hunted ghostly treasure in the rain, and applauded Rob bob-snorkelling. It was Yoyo’s idea to save the lantern faces to bake on the pumpkin pie.

Thursday night we chopped up the pumpkin heads and tossed them in a pot with raisins, ginger and old shelf bananas making five jars of bubbling sticky chutney. We’re calling it ‘Pump and Circumstance’.

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