Trevor J. lived next door but one to my grandmother and four houses away from our house, behind all our houses was woodland and rough scrubland some of which had formerly been a market garden. By the time of this tale, the early 1960s, the market garden had long been abandoned and left a small meadow where as kids we played, surrounded by an impenetrable forest of blackberry and raspberry plants formerly harvested but which had grown impossibly wild. The woodland behind our house belonging to the tennis club gradually gave way to the rough and overgrown field behind Trevor J’s and my grandmother’s house. Trevor tolerated us playing in the field behind his house, we weren’t trouble-makers but were noisy at times. The field was usually too overgrown for us to play in the summer but by the autumn the grass had sunk down and it was where we always held our annual 5th November bonfire.
One autumn day, when I was about fourteen, my brother came in from the woods and stated he’d found wild potatoes growing down the field, lots of them. “Leave them alone” my mother advised but it was too late, he’d already had them out of the ground. Well, we couldn’t replant them so it was decided we’d have new potatoes for Sunday lunch. My grandmother always came to us for Sunday dinner and we always went to her for Sunday tea. The joint was ceremoniously carved, as always, by my father and the mint sauce chopped, we always had mint whatever the joint, and the meal was plated up. Halfway through as my grandmother was tucking into the potatoes she announced “Guess what Trevor J. told me yesterday, someone’s dug up all the potatoes he planted in the field behind his house and stolen them”. My grandmother never found out she’d just been eating the very same potatoes!