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)

  • LH
    3 months ago
    When I lived in Devon as a teenager I used to ask the local farmer who had a field of corn used for thatching, with the longer stems, if I could have some to make corn dollies. When making a corn dolly you soak the long stems in water, (I used the bath), and then wrap them in an old tea towel, and start plaiting round and round to make a teardrop or an actual corn dolly with a large skirt, body, head and arms holding a small sheaf of corn across her body. I still have many of those corn dollies in the house made from that harvest in Devon over 40 years ago. Years ago new corn dollies were made annually for a good harvest next year from the gleanings, and the old ones destroyed, and the small ones were often given as love tokens.
  • Rowsie
    3 months ago
    When I was young we weren't churchgoers but when I was about 13 I became friendly with a family across the road and I started attending their church with them. The first time I went with them they were celebrating Harvest Festival and I was absolutely amazed by all the food they had collected and presumed they did this each week. As we left after the service I even took an apple off the pile thinking it was free for everyone! The next time I went was a great disappointment!
  • woodshade6h
    3 months ago
    Used to help on uncles farm when I could only just reach pedals on the tractor. Meant they had another able bodied person to load the sheves of corn. Was hard work but was exciting when you got the harvest in before the rain.
  • Tuppton
    3 months ago
    I remember when I was 15 I was brought up in a coal monning village surrounded by farms and every October the farmers would come round knocking on the doors asking if you wanted a potato picking job that was really hard back breaking work but it sure was fun I remember the tractor would pile us all on and bring us home and we could take some potatoes in our aprons that were made from potato sacks all the nighbous in the street used to wait for us getting dropped off the tractor for some potatoes yes it sure wax a lovely harvest memory..
  • GypsyWanderer
    3 months ago
    Blackberries growing in the hedgerows ripe for picking and adding to apples from our orchard for blackberry and apple pie, of jam of course. Harvest more apples than we could eat so giving them to friends and taking them to be pressed. The freezer used to be full of our own apple juice for the children to help themselves to.
    And now, spending October on my small olive farm in Italy, harvesting the best olives in Italy and having them pressed into the most delicious oil.
    A time of thanksgiving, of thinking of others, of sharing and rejoycing, of working and coming together, harvest time.
  • ESW
    3 months ago
    I did enjoy reading Hardyplant’s story of hop picking. Growing up in Kent, we knew all about the hop pickers and it was great to read an eye-witness account of a long lost time. There are hardly any hop fields left now and oast houses have been converted into very expensive houses or restaurants...
  • Hardyplant
    3 months ago
    Living in rural Kent in the 1950's our mother always did some form of agricultural work each year to earn extra money for our school uniform. Where we lived the cherry pickers were all local women and they climbed the long ladders with their baskets high into the trees; the heavy ladders were moved for them by men specially employed for the job. Pickers were paid piece rate so the more you picked the more you earned. One year Mum and a friend decided to go hop-picking for a change: there's a misconception that all hopping was done by Londoners who came down to Kent for a working holiday - staying in hop-pickers huts for the duration - but in our area of North Kent much of it was done by people who travelled to the hop garden from home each day. So early one misty morning Mum loaded up her bike with primus stove, kettle and mugs for tea making, food and an old tin bath and buckets to pick into, and we set off to walk the couple of miles to meet up with the other family, who had all their gear in a pram. I think Mum had a romanticised idea of hopping (she even took her Kodak Box Brownie camera and I still have the photos she took) but it was smelly, dirty work; my hands and old dress soon became stained by the oils from the hop flowers and although I helped Mum as much as I could the lure of the other children running off to play was sometimes too much to resist. When the tally-men came round to empty our hop bins and measure what we'd picked, which was never as much as the regulars, they loaded them onto a horse-drawn cart to take to the nearby oast. Mum didn't earn very much that year and she never did it again. When my sister and I were old enough to do a holiday job on our own we harvested runner beans instead and I bought myself a green suedette jacket from C&A with the proceeds.
  • Sologirl
    3 months ago
    In the early 1980s I volunteered to help build houses in a remote Chipewyan community on the Great Slave Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. I was there from when the lake became ice-free in June until November when the solid ice was the runway for my plane south.
    Because of permafrost, very little grew, but in late summer we saw tiny flashes of red in amongst the undergrowth where we were working. It was wild strawberries, absolutely tiny, and with not a lot of flavour. But when we finished we picked as many as we could find. After weeks of eating tinned or dried fruit, just to eat something freshly harvested was marvellous.
  • ESW
    3 months ago
    Just after the war, my aunt lived in Jersey and I remember some marvellous holidays with her. I would feed the hens and collect the eggs. I also locked aunty in the hen house one day with 'Vicious Violet. We cleaned out the duck pond and I fell in. She lived next to a farmer and I was allowed through the gap in the hedge to help milk the cows - jersies of course who produced rich golden milk. I would carefully carry back a mug of warm milk for my tea. I would take the cows back to the fields and also take the big farm horses to the beach on warm days. They loved to go for a swim. I remember Dad riding on one and being thrown off into the sea.

    Harvest time was great fun as well as hard work. There was always a large flaggon of home made scrumpy at lunchtime. I helped myself to a drink one day and was eventually found fast asleep and rather drunk under an apple tree...
  • DRSask
    3 months ago
    Summer harvest memories for me meant helping my parents gather the vegetables from the allotment. One year I remember my mother putting all the carrots in the washing machine to clean them. It was quite noisy! It also meant a day trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario to see the fall colours as the trees turned into a riot of colours.
  • Rodent
    3 months ago
    Summer harvests as a schoolboy paid 2 and six pence an hour to stack up the bales in the corrner of the field. Sat down to eat our sarneys when somebody said look out as the bales toppled down around us in a cloud of dust !!