It's not hard to imagine how the story started. Beans are really quite magical. Fast to germinate, natural climbers and prolific too. It just takes a small leap of a childlike imagination to think that your climbing french beans could go on upwards forever if you didn't pinch out the tops.
And when the flowers actually turn into beans, it is nothing short of miraculous, never mind finding a giant. I swear that the slithers of pods I checked and left behind yesterday because they were too small to pick have swollen overnight into fully fledged green beans that could quite proudly hold their own in an EU-regulated supermarket veg line-up. Some people think homegrown equals misshapen but tasty - but my French beans are quite gorgeous.
Last night I cooked the ones that were just the right size according to a newly acquired (although I probably knew it all along) principle: anything grown above the ground should be cooked in cold water brought to the boil; and anything grown below the ground should be dropped into boiling water. This apparently preserves the flavour. Well, it wasn't a controlled, scientific test, but my beans really did taste a whole lot better than those packets of slimline, ready topped and tailed green tubes that get flown in from Kenya.