Harvest Festival

Al and his family have gone on holiday, leaving me to run the shop. This is a heady responsibility and I am tremendously excited. I finished in something of a rush today, as I was playing the organ at a neighbouring church at 6 o’clock and usually we don’t start to pack up until 5.30. I started, instead, at 4.55 and still didn’t leave until nearly 20 to 6.

The organ playing went well enough, although it would have been easier if I had been able to see the music. The church is in the middle of a field and has no electricity. There is a gas lamp by the organ, but it doesn’t cast all that much light. Still, I didn’t mind, all part of the experience. It wasn’t, of course, dark at six, but I played again at 7.45.

Yesterday, I went to put stuff in my village church for Harvest Festival tomorrow. I’d had an email to say that four people had done most of the decorations (including the windowsill I said I’d do…), and it just needed my baskets of fruit and veg. I was somewhat horrified when I saw the ‘decorations’ On three windowsills, they had covered an array of different size boxes with gaudily shiny gold material, arranging the odd cabbage and cucumber on each surface, where you can hardly see them because the gold cloth reflects the light so much. Except for one windowsill, which is advertising Fairtrade produce. The fourth windowsill had a few flowers stuck in oasis with a line of tomatoes and apples in front, which would have been quite sweet if done by children. There were also a few vases filled with random bunches of flowers. I’ve a feeling someone thought it was artistic. I know there are some who do not approve entirely of my fruit and veg, as they think it would be more useful to bring tins and packets (the stuff is distributed to pensioners in the village by the village schoolchildren). I don’t object to the tins, although I do hope that when I’m old I will still choose to eat vegetables rather than open a can, but they really don’t add beauty to the display. And a jar of coffee or a tin of baked beans has little to do with the English harvest.

If anyone ever says again to me that tins are useful because they can be given to the poor or old, I might be tempted to quote the Bible. When Jesus was having his feet anointed with oil and Judas said sniffily that the oil was valuable and could have been sold and the money given to the poor, Jesus put him in his place.

Al gives the produce (he says it’s his insurance that ensures he never has to set foot in church), which fills six big open baskets and I give the flowers. I did two arrangements with big dahlias. Artistic, no. Celebratory, hell yes.

13 comments on “Harvest Festival

  1. Z

    Dandelion, you looked it up! In the middle of the night too, how splendid.

    I know it makes me look all factional and reactionary, but I’m not. It’s when people come over as self-righteous in their practicality that I think they’re missing the point.

    I didn’t watch all the clip as I lost patience as soon as Jennifer Saunders came on, but most of the C of E vicars I know would be in favour of the tins and not the messy raw stuff.

    Mike, it’s usually buried far beneath. It’s fine to laugh at me.

  2. Honey

    when I was in Wimbourne over the summer, the local flower shop on our street had sunflowers in the window.. ok not so bad, but with plastic googly eyes and a felt mouth stuck on the brown seed bit in the center? On LIVE sunflowers? Made me shudder every time. I should have taken photos, have you any of the displays?

  3. Z

    Sometimes it can be so bad it’s funny, sometimes it’s just bad! No, I didn’t take any photos either, and it was all being taken down this afternoon, except the flower arrangements.

  4. Dandelion

    Well, I didn’t actually look it up. It was in my memory banks, I have to confess.

    Personally, I think the “old people” demographic is changing, and consequently their tastes. I think there was a time when old people really liked things like corned beef and spam and tinned things. And I hate to say it, but things in tins still do come from god’s grace and the bounty of the land – they must have been fresh once, it stands to reason…doesn’t it?

  5. Z

    I’m not arguing against tins. I know there are some who do not approve entirely of my fruit and veg, as they think it would be more useful to bring tins and packets … I don’t object to the tins … but they really don’t add beauty to the display.

    Although usefulness has its own sort of beauty and I see nothing wrong with both, but there are people who would prefer to do away with the fresh stuff altogether.

  6. The Boy

    Descrimination has many faces, and that “oh, the old dears prefer tins” is a particularly insiduous one. My old dear of a mum wouldn’t be insulted to get tins, she’d love having the company stop by, but they’d either be put at the back of a shelf or quietly handed on…


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