The journey running the corn trailers from Randolphs Farm to Ote Hall have been at their best interesting and at worst exceedingly bumpy and tiresome. The road north of Hurstpierpoint has now been renamed Boneshaker Alley, I wonder if the council could be persuaded to resurface this stretch before next year’s harvest?
At the harvest festival service we sang lustily that all was safely gathered in. As we filed out I did tell our vicar that he was a bit premature as I and a several other farmers still had uncut crops in the fields. He said that if I had been listening carefully to his sermon I would have picked up that it is not just the physical harvesting of crops from the fields we are giving thanks for but also for the contribution of help and support which is given so freely within our community to the elderly, children, young mothers and to some who are suffering, in all kinds of ways by members of our community out of kindness and generosity of spirit.
He had indeed made a point of identifying certain individuals in the congregation who are the stalwarts of our village, including those who run luncheon clubs for the elderly and the ladies who twice weekly invite young mothers to get together over tea and biscuits, giving them the opportunity to discuss their problems and concerns. There are also those who regularly go into the primary school and entertain the children with stories from the Bible and play games, and those who visit the house bound and relieve their loneliness and offer friendship.
There was a previous vicar who one day walked past a man who was tending his garden which had become excessively overgrown and was in a dreadful mess. The vicar stopped to chat and during the conversation said, “With God’s help you will soon get your garden looking splendid once again”. The man replied, “I have been away for several months during that time God didn’t do much without my help”!
As we attend Harvest Festival Services and sing praises for the sunshine and rain which help to make the crops grow, the congregation I believe have visions of golden sheaves of corn blowing in the gentle wind under a clear blue sky which has ripened the corn. Few will have been aware of the challenges so many farmers have had to cope with across the country during the past year with rain, cold, the deep snow drifts, the late spring and then rain when the crops were due to be harvested. We should not forget the sheep farmers who lost hundreds of lambs which were buried in the snow drifts. That was their harvest, the financial loss to their businesses was in many cases crippling.
Perhaps someone with a direct line could send a message asking God to try a bit harder next year with some weather which is more appropriate at the right time of year. Some dry weather now so we can sow the winter crops, a nice cold winter, warm damp spring and early summer to encourage growth, and dry sunny weather at harvest. This would help to make the lives of both arable and livestock farmers a little easier.
I have always had the notion that there are some mischievous angels with too little to do who play around with the ‘weather’ up above the clouds. It probably amuses them watching us down on earth coping with the chaos when the seasons don’t conform and the extreme weather gets out of hand.
I doubt my simplistic views about who is in charge of the weather would be approved of by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but given the contradictions on the subject of Climate Change and Global Warming, perhaps my theory is a good as theirs!
The week ahead looks unsettled but let us hope that the weekend holds fine for the Hurstpierpoint and District Ploughing Match on Saturday and the South of England Autumn Show.
Carola Godman Irvine