AFTER a hefty downward press of his boot, Merton swung back the fork and lifted an abundant root of potatoes, shook them vigorously to the soil, then cast the useless tops aside for Brian to load on the small red barrow.
Brian didn't yet know how hard he worked, was enjoying himself, having been in the garden since breakfast, unplugging weeds and nettles and gathering broad beans for one o'clock dinner. He pronged up potato-tops in Merton's wake with his own quick- working fork, piled them high on the barrow, then fixed himself into the shafts--like a pit pony, as Merton said. He ran a sleeve across his forehead, brought it down mucky with sweat and a couple of squashed thunder-flies. The hot days had lasted a long time, making his face red, then brown, below his close-cropped thre- p'nny haircut whose front scrag-ends dipped over, turning his normally high Seaton brow into a lower Merton one and falling almost to his angled blue eyes.
With dug-in heels the barrow was heaved from a self-made rut,