I am not the kind of person to scoff at other people's misfortune. Just look at my response to the current financial crisis. As I watch the major banks having to beg for financial support, I take no pleasure. As I see city bankers, once flush with cash, unable to look interviewers in the eye as they occasionally accept that mistakes might have been made over recent years, I do not have a knowing smile on my face. As I see fat cats attempt to trade in their over-sized SUV's in exchange for a tin of soup, I do not mutter "I told you so". Nevertheless, I could not control a slight frisson of spiteful joy when I received an e-mail from my friend Mark the other day.
If you recall, Mark was the person who introduced me to the potato tub. Indeed it was Mark who bought me my starter tubs and seed potatoes with the promise that I would have - as Dr Johnson once nearly said - potatoes beyond the dreams of avarice. You may also recall that I was a little disappointed with my eventual crop, providing as it did, enough potato to make a small bag of crisps. When I spoke to Mark about this he had no explanation for my lack of prowess, he, he pointed out, normally left his potatoes in the ground a little longer and experienced a magnificent result. It is therefore with just a little bit of pleasure that I read the e-mail which stated:
I left them in the ground too long and now they emit quite a pong A deadly threat I cannot fight that wretched plague potato blight!
My pleasure was short-lived however. My good lady-wife visited the said horticulturalist this weekend and returned with a carrier bag full of his potatoes. They certainly don't pong. I cooked a couple last night and they were delicious. And as for their size! I enclose a photograph of three of his with one of mine. I offer no prizes for telling them apart. So my response to Mark is simple:
Too long they sat but even so
Their size reveals that they did grow
Mine are shrivelled and way too small
A plague on horticulturalists all.