A couple of weeks I ago I was travelling through south Essex, delivering the latest Wine Maestro wine club case, when I noticed that there was an open day at All Saints Church, Rettendon. I managed to find a parking space and went in.
And what a magnificent sight! This fine Essex church was thronged with people drinking tea, eating sandwiches, buying jam, books and toys – generally enjoying the occasion and raising money for the upkeep of this medieval building.
What particularly appealed to me were the splendid harvest festival flower and vegetable arrangements on show throughout the church.
As I looked around I thought of our winemaker friends in northern Europe embarking on their harvests after such an unusual season – cold, wet spring, devastating hail in so many places, hot summer months then damp September, all making for a later harvest than usual.
All farmers work with nature, and, of course, a vigneron is a farmer as well. They celebrate this season of mellow fruitfulness in spite of the trials and tribulations involved to reap their harvests.
There was music too.
Not hymns or psalms but cheerful renditions of old standards. The pianist told me that when on leave during his war service in the Navy he always sought pubs where he could play the piano. Of course, the landlord was so delighted with the entertainment that our pianist and his shipmates never went without a drink!
The next Open Day at All Saints is the Christmas Bazaar on Saturday 1st December 2013 – I may well be delivering the Wine Maestro club case then and will pop in…