One of the great joys of holding an allotment is asparagus season. Although it is short – typically from St George’s day for a maximum of six weeks – it is worth setting aside a bed and tending it year-round for the pleasure of eating asparagus within minutes of cutting. I have three varieties in my bed: Gijnlim [early]; Backlim [mid-season]; Stewart’s Purple [late].

Stewart’s Purple is my favourite – for its colour and consistent quality.

On my way home from the allotment one day this year, with a good harvest of asparagus in my wheelbarrow [including Stewart’s Purple], I passed a man and [I assume] his son. He paused and said “Wow! Asparagus, did you grow that?” and then [I think for the benefit of his son] “Most people do not realise how good asparagus can taste, freshly cut and cooked.” I confirmed that I did grow it and that shop-bought asparagus could not match the fresh-to-pan flavour. We both went on our way pleased with the encounter.

Only when it was too late to go back, did I think “I could easily have shared some of that asparagus. His son would be able to experience what his father was saying and the father could have enjoyed the experience himself.” I could have blessed them and I did not.

It is not that I do not share my produce – my neighbours will testify to that – and I frequently pass on produce to other folks I know when encountered on my way home. What a wasted opportunity!

In our Frontline series at SPBC, the next day’s ‘40 Faces, 40 Places’ story was linked to 1 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” I have understood this to be passive – when asked: be ready to respond. But the reflection on the 40/40 story woke me to the realisation that this should be active – not passive – i.e. “more than a hesitant willingness … being ready and standing by”. I should have held in the front of my mind the need to seek opportunities to bless others – even strangers – with an act of random kindness.

I hope that I do not forget this lesson learned.