Hello. Welcome one, welcome all. First of all, an apology. I forgot I was going on holiday last week and would be unable to blog. Sorry. I mean, it’s not as if we went very far. East Devon – Sidmouth, Seaton and Beer – that sort of thing. It was very nice – thanks for asking. Absolutely no Internet or phone signal though so if the Four Horsemen had come riding over the hill to signal the Apocalypse, the only warning we would have had was the whinnying. I am not saying this was a bad thing. We did four days with no phone calls and then, as we drove into Sidmouth, my mobile burst into life. Guess who?
“I’m just ringing to say ‘Have a lovely time and I’ve got no money.”
“Mum, we brought your money before we went. How have you spent it all?”
“No idea. I’ve played a lot of Bingo. A LOT. And I’ve won you lots of Maltesers.”
Before you get the idea that my Mum is the Doc Halliday of Maltester based gambling games, we went up this weekend and found that the money has gone because she has been hitting the charity table hard. (It’s not a price – it’s a donation!) A particularly striking lime green lace blouse which was three sizes too big has appeared. I’ve been told not to worry though because she intends to wear it as a nightie. That will be nice for the male carers – I said it was too big overall. I didn’t say it was very long.
Anyway – digressing. We stayed in an Airbnb. It was our first time. The place itself – a converted barn – was absolutely beautiful. It was beautifully appointed as they say, spotless and with better tableware etc. than we have at home. A bit heavy on the mosquitoes and other wildlife for my personal taste but nothing making HOH patrol with a flailing tea-towel couldn’t sort. It is the countryside I suppose and a few frankly terrifying members of God’s creation are to be expected. Could be worse. It could be Australia. HOH’s uncle emigrated to Australia on the £10 packages. Obviously, they have been there many years now and it is their home. I, however, struggle with the fact that, once a month, they have to get a specialist gardener in to spray the garden to keep the insects from coming into the house. This is because they are (a) very large and (b) sometimes LETHAL and therefore HOH lunging at them with a tea towel is not going to cut it. How lovely.
As I was saying, the Airbnb was a treat although I do find the process a bit high pressured. After the event, we had to do a review on the cottage and they had to do a review on us and how tidy we had left it and we weren’t allowed to see their review until we had done our review. Exhausting. Everyone seems to need a review these days. You order one thing and you get all these emails saying -“How was it?” “How did we do?” Sometimes it is quite difficult to wax lyrical when all you have bought online is that little plastic screen that you stick on the front of your mobile phone. I had to just leave the comment “It was fine” which is a bit underwhelming I know. I think they should comfort themselves with the thought that if I wasn’t happy, I would soon let them know.
Today in church was Harvest Festival time, which was great. I have been in churches where the Harvest Festival was considered a bit Roman or something so it would just get a mention as a sort of cough behind the Pastor’s hand before we moved onto something less idolatrous. So it was nice to be in a meeting that gave God a bit of credit for abundance (and there is abundance – we just can’t get it to the shops). However, we did not sing “We Plough the Fields and Scatter” which I think makes the whole Harvest service null and void. That is a disgrace. Top song. Did I ever tell you, I went to a wedding once for some workmates from the bank. They were not Christians but wanted a church wedding and were a bit thrown when the vicar informed them that songs from Carousel were not going to cut it. (The song was If I Loved You – which is very beautiful and I wouldn’t mind it at a wedding) Anyway- digressing. The only hymn they knew was We Plough the Fields and Scatter so we had that and it went down a storm.
Harvest Festivals have come on a bit since I was little. There’s none of this wrapping a cardboard box in foil while your mum searches through the cupboards for food to put in it and you keep finding her with her glasses on staring uncertainly at the date on the bottom of a tin of cling peaches. “Run down to Mrs Walker’s shop and get some big fruit to fill the box. I don’t know! BIG FRUIT!” Nowadays, it’s not going to pensioners who smile benignly and then chuck it all in the bin. It’s going to the Food Bank so it’s a serious business, unfortunately. Cash donations are accepted. Just to say again – we do have the abundance. We just don’t seem to be able to get it to the shelves in the kitchen cupboards of the poor. I think one of this government’s many problems is that they seem unable to zoom in on the individual life of the poor. So, all they see when they look at clawing back Universal Credit’s £20 uplift is the billions it will put back into the Treasury. They simply cannot recognise the difference that £20 makes to a family who is struggling when, to them, it is just the equivalent of a bottle of Merlot. A government has to make big decisions but they need to be able to know exactly what effect those big expansive decisions will have on the individuals. If you can’t do that, you are not governing.
The other thing the Harvest Festival is about these days is Climate Change. If we are going to use this land to feed us, we will need to look after it. I read this week that when World Leaders get together about Climate Change that many of them are making good decisions, then the advisors, the lobby groups and the mandarins start to whisper advice from outside interests and the whole thing falls apart. I guess the only way to take that sort of thing on is to make sure that your representative knows how you feel about this, then maybe they will be sure that you will be in touch again if they don’t listen and certainly making your feelings known through the ballot box. As I said before, everyone is after a review these days. Make sure your elected representatives know that you will be happy to provide one for them.
My heart was in my mouth watching protestors run into the road last week and I am not really sure that playing chicken is going to get people who are trying to get to work to listen to you. Be a nuisance though by all means. I read that people don’t get in touch with their MPs and Councillors enough. Email, write, establish contact. The way you voted is not enough to tell them what you think about Climate Change. It is everyone’s responsibility. We need to give that nice Greta a week off. She looks to me like she could do with a rest and a couple of pies. Have a good week.