Yes we have no bananas, tomatoes, marrows, loaves of bread or anything else you can eat apparently at the harvest service, gifts of cash for a very deserving charity working in Africa are much preferred. Now of course I don't mind this at all but it felt like something was missing, which it was. No wheat sheaf shaped loaves, no pumpkins and marrows lining the window sills, no shoe boxes brimming with runner beans, giant cooking apples or jars of jam. Someone said that too many out-of-date tins and packets of broken biscuits were being sent in and it was too risky to hand them onto anyone these days. Living in a rural community I can't help feeling it's a shame we no longer physically celebrate having a link with the land.
B trooped in though with a beaming smile and his basket of the half dozen cherry tomatoes I managed to rescue before the blight really took hold, some much beefier toms donated from a friend's allotment, along with prickly cucumbers, courgettes and peppers and a bunch of the traditional Michaelmas daises from our garden. I had a mixture of pride and embarrassment seeing him walk into church as the only child in school with produce to offer (btw he did tell me he'd been told it was fine to take some "Can I take some fruit and vegetables to church next week mummy?" Do you think I'm reading too much Country Living and it's wearing off on him?!)
His basket is sitting proudly on the altar now so I don't suppose it was a big problem but I'm a bit sad that it's the only one.
So as the year turns I'm thinking of making lists of things to make, places to find a smashing little something for someone and building up the anticipation to my most favourite time of the year. Look what I found, a treasure for Christmas by Susan Hill who's rapidly become one of my favourite writers. Just these opening lines are enough to make me want to get out the decorations!
Snow always fell on Christmas Eve,
fat and soft as goose feathers, like a quilt on the ground for weeks of the winter.
I'm fighting the urge to devour it though and I'm going to save this special little book for the weekend before Christmas when I'll light the fire, snuggle up with a steaming mug of something and enjoy. Can't wait.