Silver Travel Book Club - September 2020

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Silver Travel Book Club

Each month, we'll find out what Andrew is reading about a different destination, and two lucky Silver Travel Book Club readers can win a free copy of the month's book.

HF HolidaysThis month the Silver Travel Book Club – proudly sponsored by
HF Holidays – is reading Harvest by Jim Crace.

As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders two men and a dangerously magnetic woman arrive at the woodland borders triggering a series of events that will see Walter Thirsk's village unmade in just seven days: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, cruel punishment meted out to the innocent, and allegations of witchcraft.

But something even darker is at the heart of Walter's story, and he will be the only man left to tell it ...

As normal life edges closer, our sponsor HF Holidays has opened up more of its country houses in the most beautiful parts of the UK and has restarted its much-loved guided walking holidays. Why not head to the Isle of Wight this autumn and enjoy the harvest-time in a tranquil idyll?

Freshwater, Isle of Wight

HF Holidays – Guided Walking Holidays in the UK

The Isle of Wight is a world away from the bustle of the mainland. On HF Holidays' Guided Walking holidays you'll discover the best of the island’s glorious 85-mile coastline of unspoilt sandy beaches and dramatic white cliffs, as well as panoramic walks over the flower-rich chalk downland. There are savings to be made on this holiday – up to £125 per person.

With 3 levels of walk to choose from each day, you’ll be able to stretch your legs at a pace that suits you perfectly. Staying in a friendly country house hotel, meals are enjoyed in a sociable fashion, sharing experiences with other walkers and getting the details for the next day’s walks each evening over a drink.

More details

HF Holidays - Freshwater, Isle of Wight
HF Holidays - Freshwater coastal walk, Isle of Wight
HF Holidays - Freshwater Bay Hotel, Isle of Wight

Harvest by Jim CroceHow to win a copy of 'Harvest' by Jim Crace

As the end of summer approaches and autumn beckons, tell us what the harvest season means to you. Childhood memories from school, working holidays, gathering your own fruit and vegetables, cooking heaven, we'd love you to harvest your own thoughts.

Simply add a comment at the end of this page to tell us about your harvest memories. The two best entries will win a copy of this book.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Book Club books.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 36 Comment(s)

  • Johnboytheholidaykid
    12 months ago
    I remember the harvest festival at school, where the table was so loaded with food bought in by us kids that it collapsed!
  • Woofles
    12 months ago
    I was born in London so harvests passed me by for many years until I moved out to the Wiltshire countryside. Now I love seeing all the work down in the fields bringing in all the crops that have grown during the year. It must be so satisfying to farmers to see the efforts of the labours.
  • Helenao
    12 months ago
    Helped out at the harvest when I was a child and fell asleep in a haystack
  • janetm
    12 months ago
    I loved harvest festival, we would have a service at school then go
    Out and distribute parcels to the elderly.
  • biddy
    12 months ago
    We always had a harvest festival assembly at school . Everyone took something to contribute. Ivan remember taking a bunch of Michaelmas Daisies one year and a tin of peaches another year.
    The food and produce was parcelled up and taken to old people I remember. I used to think that you must be very poor when you were old so always made sure I took something even when my mum was short of money.
  • Sararose
    12 months ago
    Harvest Festival was always something to look forward to at our Methodist chapel along with the Sunday School Anniversary. My dad had a large allotment so donated vegetables galore which we helped to arrange on the Saturday before the festival. An old lady (probably only about 50 years old) baked a huge loaf shaped as a sheaf of corn and the chapel looked beautiful with an abundance of Michaelmas daisies on display. After the service the produce was distributed to the elderly or sick .Happy memories.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    12 months ago
    Thanks everyone for the wonderful harvest-related comments on this month's Silver Travel Book Club page. As the leaves fall outside our kitchen window and we collect mildly bruised apples from the garden, this month's book and your lovely reminiscences about this golden time of year seem in natural harmony.

    And how heartwarming to see comments from so many new participants this month.

    @Maznan - what a beautiful personal memory of your harvest festival at school.

    @thecatwhisper - thanks for sharing your philosophical view of harvest. Glad that you've rediscovered the beauty of nature and this time of year, in particular, in later life.

    @ak152 - how charming that the harvest festival at the church enhanced your wedding and memories, rather than detracted from it. I can imagine that plenty of people might have complained that it wasn't the perfect image they had in mind for their wedding day!

    Please gather in even more memories and comments to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this month's book 'Harvest' by Jim Crace.
  • Maznan
    12 months ago
    I remember as a child that it was harvest festival at school. I came from a family of 7 children living in a council house, money was very tight .We were asked to bring in a can or packet of food to donate or some fresh garden produce ,where also told in no uncertain terms we would not be looked upon kindly if we didn't I watched each day that werk as children from more prosperous families arrived with lovely items that were well out of my reach .I asked my mum but she said we could afford to give food away to" people better off than us " I asked my dad about some of his runner beans but got a similar answer.It was the day before the harvest festival, I walked miserably onto the school playing field after lunchtime break.One of the bigger girls approached me and I can remember wondering if she was going to hurt menor be mean, she handed me a lovely huge bunch of flowers and said " can you give these in to me , I dont have the time " I agreed very quickly and presented them to my horrible teacher ,she didnt ask who's garden they came from so I didnt actually lie and my teacher kept smiling at me for the rest of the afternoon it didnt last but it was good for a while .I saw the girl recently, Tracey, I told her this story and how clearly I remembered it , she laughed as she didnt remember it at all .
  • thecatwhisper
    12 months ago
    I remember collecting products to hand into school and take to church. My parents didn't grow their own veg, so I would end up taking a tin of peas and a tin of soup and giving those to my local church. I found it quite embarrassing as my mother didn't want to take part and felt it to be forced. I do remember the giant bonfire that would take place on the village green, which is common land. Two of my friends lived on the green and their fathers and other male head of households (that's how it was back then), would gather wood all year to burn on a huge bonfire on Bonfire night. By harvest time that bonfire would be around 10 feet tall and still growing. Then one year the council got involved and said it as a health and safety risk and ordered it be taken apart and it never happened again. These are memories from when I was at Junior school. By the time I got to senior school there was no more harvest collections, no bonfire wood collecting, no harvest festival special assemblies. It seemed to disappear from the collective conscious of everyone around me. I, however, do grow veg and I've been harvesting runner beans, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, raddist, carrots, cauliflowers, potatoes and strawberrys and I've become much more aware of the seasons and harvest time as a result. It me now it is the last of the flowers, veg and fruit crops and a time to prepare for next spring with bulb planting, apple tree cutting and rose bush trimming. The leaves turn brown and start to drop and there begins another phase in the endless circle of life.
  • philatel
    about 1 year ago
    I grow my own fruit and vegetables and harvesting them at this time of year gives me a lot of pleasure - blackberries for jam and crumble, pears stewed with ice-cream or custard, beans, tomatoes, courgettes, spinach, carrots, beetroot, cucumbers, etc. I get a lot of satisfaction doing this. When I ran a Brownie Pack many years ago, we used to go the Harvest Festival service at our local church. Afterwards, the Brownies helped put all the goods into baskets and we would then distribute them to the local Old People's home and also to any elderly people in the parish. I think the elderly people enjoyed meeting the Brownies and the Brownies certainly enjoyed meeting and chatting to them.
  • Alli
    about 1 year ago
    Hello, My earliest memories are of Sunday school and Church bringing something as an offering which mum had given to me and watch it all be taken up to the front of the Church, singing Harvest hymns such as ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ and ‘ Come ye thankful people come’. Then as I got a few years older I joined a brass band and began learning the trombone, then baritone and finally the cornet. Some of us formed a little band of our own and the local vicar joined in on the drums and his daughter on clarinet which was fine as we were all in the pitch of Bb . We played at a Harvest supper at the Metropole Hotel, Padstow followed by the auctioning off of the goods. I remember being amazed at the speed the auctioneer talked and was very careful not to move my head or arms! As the years went by our brass band joined in many Church Harvest suppers and the funniest one was down at Truro Cattle market. The band played in the ring where they normally parade the animals for auction, well it was quite smelly and cold in there. You didn’t need to be too fat to squeeze between the railings into the ring, it couldn’t be too wide or the animals might escape! All the farm folk gradually filled the upper stands where you would normally view the animals. Well it was a joy to play in there with a brass band and the hymns sounded lovely. By this time I was on Euphonium and had lovely obligatory parts like descents above the tune. Well the musical director was well chuffed with my playing and I felt good. We then had the sermon which always had a funny twist in it and last time it was based upon ‘Come the thankful people come’ and the vicar had a joke about the blade, the ear and the corn. There were a few Ministers there taking part all representing their different churches. Afterwards we went through into the dining room and were served a Cornish pasty and Cornish saffron cake with a nice hot cup of tea. Boy did we need that hot cuppa! After we’d eaten we had the auction led by the Cornish auctioneer with his broad Cornish accent. Well I’ve never in my life seen such enormous cabbages! We won one and it lasted us weeks, we enjoyed it in so many different ways even cabbage soup. The homegrown veg and homemade preserves were exceptional. There was even honey, flowers and wine and a tremendous Harvest loaf complete with mouse. A truly wonderful evening and all for good causes. Precious memories. Thank you.
  • Leah50
    about 1 year ago
    As a child our small council house garden was home to so much food, Nan grew berries, currants, apples & pears, herbs & salads. All our other fresh fruit & veg came from a commercial allotment/smallholding a few streets away. Dad, was disabled so limped slowly to woods where we foraged for nuts, mushrooms & anything else edible. Nan's Sloe Gin was our Christmas treat & I still make it every year to her traditional recipe. Our vicar used to receive a small bottle for Harvest Festival, pretty sure he kept it for himself!
  • ESW
    about 1 year ago
    When the grandchildren started school I was invited to their harvest festival assembly. Instead of the piles of home grown produce, the stage was filled with tins and packets from the supermarket. It didn't seem right, although I suppose the recipients may have appreciated them them more ...
  • obag
    about 1 year ago
    Love the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.
  • ak152
    about 1 year ago
    We were lucky enough to get married in September 1974. The small parish church had been beautifully decorated and instead of flowers we were surrounded at the altar by bowls of tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflowers, leeks and every fruit and vegetable grown in the village you could think of. The stained glass windows and window ledges were also decorated with harvest produce. After 46 years of being happily married we still think back how lucky we were to get married during the Harvest festival.
  • DonnaB
    about 1 year ago
    Harvest festival at school, got everyone involved - fun & educational
  • Ozdevon
    about 1 year ago
    Having grown up in Australia I loved Christmas. Fond memories of picking mangoes from my grandparents' trees & loving the fresh taste. I was a messy eater as a kid so we ate them under the trees.
  • Giggles04
    about 1 year ago
    Collecting conkers, and running through crisp, fallen Autumn leaves.
  • travelhappy
    about 1 year ago
    Harvest is a great opportunity to share all the extra food with those that, perhaps, don't have as much.
  • doublet
    about 1 year ago
    As a child I used to enjoy sitting in the tractor trailer while the combine harvester poured the grains into it from the pipe.
  • Kelpie
    about 1 year ago
    I can remember taking my great grandmothers, beautiful ,Victoria plums to the church, for the Harvest festival.The church always looked so lovely.People really enjoyed going.
  • you
    about 1 year ago
    'Harvest' always started in January and ended in December , there was always something growing in the garden.
  • Christinawad
    about 1 year ago
    I remember Harvest as a child going to church with the school and singing harvest songs after collecting tins of food and other things to provide for the less fortunate at harvest-time
  • Woofles
    about 1 year ago
    Harvest for me is remembering my childhood, climbing up into the tree at my great aunt’s and picking all the fruit before the birds and other animals got to it. Then watching her use the fruit in a cake, a crumble or some other delicious way!
  • DianaS
    about 1 year ago
    Love the corn dolly story.

    2 years ago I made a Harvest Sheaf of salt-bread for display in our Church, it may not have been like the professional ones but I was pleased with my efforts together with my lovely Harvest flower arrangements - it made our church look stunning for the Bishop's visit. I was complemented.