29. Village survival, last week’s Harvest Festival.

blackberries

It was the school Harvest Festival last week in the village so I thought you might like to take my ‘Vest Fest Test!  

When Harvest Festival is mentioned at the school gates or the letter comes home in the book bag do you start humming/singing? :-

  1. We plough the fields and scatter
    The good seed on the land,
    But it is fed and watered
    By God’s almighty hand.

2. Cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green, strawberries sweeter than I’ve ever seen etc

3. Cabbages and greens, broccoli and beans, cauliflower and roasted potatoes taste so        good to me……it’s another Harvest festival etc

4. Big red combine harvester, big red combine harvester….

Answer mostly 1. You’re a child of the 70s and early 80s.  You say that you still listen to Radio One. You struggle with *all the new fangled* Harvest songs!

Answer mostly 2. You also love the line “Broad beans are sleeping in their blankety bed…yeeeah”. And yeeeah you’re gunna sing it loudly in the church while your kids pray for adoption!

Answer mostly 3. You’re totes into this sic ‘Vest *tune*. Admit it, you want to throw some shapes too (and I don’t mean Kellogs Multigrain).

Answer mostly 4. You are probably the proud owner of a four or five year old and will be singing this tune on loop until Aldi spins out its Christmas bird in a bird in a bird in a bird 30 bird roast advert! (is there a sparrow in the middle?). You’re so down with the kids you can see all the cheerios squished into the carpet.

How did you get on with the test? Answers in comments if you would.

T’was that time of year again when we all crammed into All Saints Church to watch our little darlings perform in the School Harvest Festival Celebration Service. Anna (local best friend) and I went together on account of our husbands being at work (and Anna’s husband being a philandering errant *twit with an a* anyway). It was the only occasion of the year when every village heathen was super keen to pack into the church to watch their offspring pick their noses in the front row, warble about leafy green vegetables and hold up dodgy hand drawn pictures of corn on the cob. Even the trusty Christmas Carol Service didn’t draw the same kind of numbers as the blessed Harvest Festival.

It followed the same format each year; parents queued and jostled for the best positions inside the church. They elbow jabbed their way to the best pews where the line of vision wasn’t obscured by giant marrows or oversized bags of pasta. The church smelt like that delightful first burst of odour you receive upon opening the waste food bin to scrape in erroneous vegetable matter.

Every year we were asked to bring in some garden produce for the PFA to sell afterwards. I brought a punnet of blackberries that I had picked the weekend before. Also this year we were all encouraged to bring a box of cereal for a local charity but I’m not sure the headmaster Mr Bygraves had thought it through because there was an ominous tower of them on the font and a great wall of them stacked way too close to where the Reception kids were sitting…. the pile was getting higher and we could barely see the little blighters!

I spotted Toby (my 9 year old) who gave me a stiff look as if to say ‘I see you but don’t acknowledge me under any circumstances’. Lottie (my 7 year old) on the other hand was straining out of her pew to wave at me and giggle. Mr Bygraves stood up and introduced the service, the whole church went quiet apart from tittering from the Reception children and then they all broke into a cheerful food inspired song and the parents were instantly  enthralled. This year the village’s Vicar Dennis was away on a cruise (Eastern Mediterranean Delights aboard the Princess Star Aurora Spirit Dream Adventurer) and so a supply Vicar was drafted in. Vicar Dennis knows from years of experience that the parents children can’t cope with a long sermon type thing and so he keeps it short and sweet – along the lines of “come to church more you bunch of ungrateful atheists!” and other motivational words to that effect.

Anyway young new supply Vicar Mark obviously hadn’t been briefed by Mr Bygraves on keeping it brief and began droning on about sharing the world’s resources and breaking down global barriers. Certainly a worthy conversation but the Reception kids were by now full on fidgeting, moaning, flicking their bogeys and trying to scale the Anglo Saxon church pillars. The Teachers and TA’s for those classes grew restless. Irate. Then suicidal. I can neither confirm or deny that they were all mantra-ing Pinot Grigio this evening over and over in their heads. Vicar Mark finally sensing unrest in the crowd closed his sermon with a flourish about how we should break down international frontiers and be more globally aware. As if on cue the wall of cereal boxes came crashing down as a bunch of Reception children, frustrated that they couldn’t see their Mums or Dads, knocked them over revealing the rest of the class – all in some stage of nose excavation, happy slapping each other and desecrating the pews. Young Vicar Mark styled it out with aplomb! “Err hmm, thank you to Acorn Class for demonstrating quite literally how to break down barriers, and now let us bow our heads in prayer.” About 96.3% of parents took this as their cue to slide out their phones and upload photos of their little darlings holding up a vegetable/singing/ear-picking (then flicking) onto their favoured social media.

marrow.pngThe last effing marrow.

After the Harvest Festival Service the PFA sold off the produce that the parents had brought in – back to the parents! All proceeds to local charities and towards a new roof for the Church Vestry.

“What are you going to buy?” asked Anna pulling her coat around her, it was cold in the Vestry (probably due to the holy holey) roof. The PFA had set up ‘stall’ and were trying to sell off a glum array of seasonal fruit and vegetables. I always ended up buying the last marrow which I never made into chutney or stew or whatever you’re meant to do with a freakin’ marrow. I have not and never intend to – fill one with savoury mince and bake it – so do one Delia!

“I think I’ll go for the blackberries I brought,” I harrumphed, scanning the miserable looking choice.

“Ahh Hillie, there’s a large marrow left, I know how much you like them,” trilled Clare brightly (vice Chair of the PFA).

“I’ll buy the blackberries thanks,” I said smiling and offering Clare a couple of pounds for the blackberries that I myself had singlehandedly picked for an hour (braving thorns and stinging nettles) then soaked, washed and punetted (probably not a word)…but I won’t go on about it!

“Oh. I think Vicar Mark has his eye on those,” she said taking them off the table proprietorially and putting them underneath. “I’ll pop that marrow in a bag for you shall I?”

Anna and I were just leaving via the church gate and wondering whether 11:30 am was too early for a cheeky drink in the pub when Clare caught up with us after tactlessly trotting over numerous gravestones in a bid to reach us before we scarpered off.

“Hillie, you are daft! You forgot your marrow! Oh, ladies while I remember – can I put you both down for running the sweet stall at the disco?” she asked expectantly – a sickly *I dare you to say no* smile about her lips. And so it was that we moved seamlessly onto the next event in the village calendar ….. that popular paganistic PARTAY – the good old Halloween Disco. Bloody Marvellous I thought as I shoved the marrow under my arm.

As you were!

Is revenge a dish that tastes best served cold?  It depends I guess if you’re having a bowl of rice pudding revenge or a cheese sandwich of retribution? Coming soon, what does Anna do about her husband’s philandering ways?

PS. I *may* have had the last laugh because I made a totes delish marrow & pecan cake*.

*all opinions are my own. The kids weren’t having a bar of it – small wins #yum.

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36 thoughts on “29. Village survival, last week’s Harvest Festival.

      1. I was trying to come up with a word for the combo of fact and fiction this morning.
        Faction means something else ..fictactional?

        Personally I have always struggled to separate the two anyway. I like a little hyperbole too.

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      2. Well, I freely admit to being on another planet most of the time. My blog is mostly fact, so I have to change names to protect the innocent & try to avoid insulting anybody; but really it’s about our endless project and somewhere to vent the contents of my head when I need to.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. 1) for me too, although I do have to confess to involuntary arm movements when I hear the words ‘big, red combine harvester’!
    Loving Hillie’s adventures, I would definitely buy a book of them.

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  2. Haha! I had completely forgotten about the broad beans in their blankety bed!

    Ah harvest festivals! Never heard of telling everyone to bring cereal before! At ours as a kid we were all always dressed as Wurzel and Sally Ann!

    Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a number 2! Not a poo. Proper eighties child. I would like, please, the recipe for the marrow and pecan cake because I simply don’t believe you. No one appreciates a marrow, no one. Thanks for linking with the #chucklemums again!

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  4. Ooh, marrow and pecan cake sounds good! I was given a marrow by a friend this summer and ended up making some rather delicious (even if I do say so myself) cheesy marrow rings with it – so there’s hope for the huge humble vegetable. As for the songs, I’m a ‘plough the fields and scatter girl’… no wait, actually in my school it was “We plough the fields with tractors, with drills we sow the land” – some kind of 80’s take over of the conventional lyrics! Ah, the memories! Thanks for linking to #WhatImwriting xx

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  5. Sorry, but I can’t say I remember any of those songs. I must be going to harvester hell! I have just spent the past few weeks whizzing my kid out of nursery where they had helpfully set up their collection right by the exit. Every day my 2yo would lunge towards a packet of digestive biscuits and a tantrum would then ensue! Sodding harvest! #chucklemums

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  6. 1) for me too, although Big Red Combine harvester is making a come back via my 3 year old. You can’t keep a good song down, ahey? Loving the idea of marrow and pecan cake. There’s hope for marrows yet.

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