It was – almost needless to say – Thomas Hardy who commented on the paganism that resides unheeded in the quiet corners of our sceptered aisle of plenty. And in this he was of course, like a good Victorian, mostly planting his own, metropolitarian views on the people from whom he came. For one man’s dance is another woman’s folk relic of a pagan ritual. And the gathering in of the crop is a universal human activity and so, by definition, links us back to our foremothers and fathers of deepest prehistoric time.
And so the humble working-folk of Great Tremlett – stockbrokers, nuclear physicists, accountants, supermarket assistant managers and reiki relaxation technicians – gathered to celebrate the gathering in of the Harvest.
Obviously in such a rural environment one would expect people at this kind of event to be singing the old songs of country matters – “The Tailor’s Britches”,”Cupid’s Garden”, “The Foggy Dew”. So Martin the verger belting out ” I Will Survive” during the karaoke was a bit of a surprise. Though maybe not that much of one.
These are only two farms in Tremlett; and the few people that work those farms were still working last night, but we raised a toast in organic Argentinian red and New Zealand white to them as we ate our Welsh lamb and Ugandan air-freighted sugar-snap peas.
It was the red wine, I presume, that excited my senses to the point where I unwisely bid for the biggest pumpkin in the auction. Somewhere over a hundred pounds in weight, it needed two burly blokes to carry it back to my kitchen. But in our post-modern rural idyll, sadly the village smith – arms rippling with quite unnecessarily exciting muscles – no longer seems to exist. Instead I needed three computer programmers and a marketing director to move the thing. Nothing like so interesting.