The church looked lovely having been decorated for this special festival so beautifully by Sheila Lay and her team of flower ladies.
To be fair the service was targeted to appeal to the younger members of the congregation - I think. There were lots of instructions and hand signals followed by the Vicar explaining that Harvest Festival was not so much about celebrating the traditional harvest in the countryside, farms and gardens but more about celebrating the harvesting of righteousness of mankind.
We were there apparently to celebrate the harvest of love, joy, kindness, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Special qualities which people should embrace. Sadly not many of these qualities apply to me as I have failed over the years to perfect many virtues, and I certainly felt few of the above by the end of the service.
As for my intension of putting in a request for the coming winter season which would allow our livestock to stay out in the fields for as long as possible, and to enable farmers to conserve scarce winter bedding and fodder; I was so totally confused and thrown off guard by the service that I quite failed in my mission! Oh well, we shall all have to rely upon our own resources and ingenuity and forget heavenly intervention!
Sunday brought a further sense of despondency when on returning from church I was confronted by my 25 year old son who spread the weekend papers before me and asked, “Why would anyone want to live in the UK after reading these depressing and farcical headlines and stories?”
He then picked out stories which individually caused concern but lumped together led one to consider one’s own sanity and question what kind of people are running the country.
The front page headlines were mostly about the election of Ed Milliband becoming leader of the labour party. Surely party political leaders should be role models and set a good example. They should gain their position through a lifetime of work and experience gained by achievement.
We now have three party leaders, including the Prime Minister, who are in their early forties and between them not one has ever had a ‘proper’ job or achieved anything of note. Sadly they are all career politicians with no experience of business, caring for their immediate community or work force - I worry for our country’s future.
He then questioned why at a time when top of many peoples’ concerns is the matter of anti-social behaviour including bullying, obscene shouting and window-smashing, amongst other disgusting behaviour; mostly by feral youngsters, who cause untold misery for so many people, is the government planning to reduce the number of police by 25%?
Then turning the page he pointed to the story of the NHS quango NICE promoting the idea of antenatal clinics being located in secondary schools to enable pregnant pupils to attend in an environment where they are not made to feel uncomfortable about their condition at such a tender age. Surely school girl pregnancy is neither right nor normal and if they are made to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable this cannot be a bad thing.
The NHS is also proposing to pay fat people to exercise and reluctant children to eat healthy food. Clearly, at a time when financial resources are scarce, valuable funding should be directed to help genuinely sick people not this questionable use.
We then turned to the piece about councils asking traffic wardens to issue illegal parking tickets to motorists. Apparently some councils are so short of money they are now encouraging dishonesty amongst their employees.
On the subject of crazy council interventions, the London Borough of Barnet has banned mother-in-law jokes as they are apparently ‘offensively sexist and disrespectful to family elders’. One despairs at the absurdity of such interference by local councils. Surely they have better things to do than spend limited resources on printing leaflets with such rubbish.
As we were restricting our gloom to stories relating to the UK I will not include international stories which left us appalled, but I will end with the story about the Tory MP who is calling for firearms officers to be identified when in the course of their duty they are involved in a fatal shooting. I do not believe that individual police officers should be identified. Yes, the police authority should be called to account and investigated, but police officers like our armed services in war zones around the world should not be hauled before the courts when someone is killed, when they work as a team, follow orders and are doing their duty. If such a change becomes the norm God help our brave troops and police officers.
I was left deeply sadden and troubled by my son’s profound questioning about these and many other stories and his opinion regarding the state of our country, its standards, our leaders and officials, as we debated these issues for some while. As I tried to reassure him that we are fortunate that very few of these issues directly affect us in Sussex, we could not fail to feel compassion for those who face difficulties, stress and genuine hardship caused by some of these troubling issues.
Carola Godman Law