16 OCTOBER 1953, Page 13

Harvest Festival

The road turns through the crowding walls of the village and then, after a sharp bend, goes downhill for more than a mile, and it is possible to look over the valley and see the lights of farms and villages that lie below. I was at the beginning of the descent when I overtook a man dresked in his best clothes and clattering along as though he intended catching a train, and so I offered him a lift. As we went down he remarked that his haste was not to go to the station but to get to chapel, for it was their harvest festival. He was late, he said, and glad of the lift, for it was not the thing to come late to, thanksgiving. It had been a good harvest and there was much to be thankful for. We came to the chapel, a lonely little building on the side of the hill. Its windows were lit by the glow of oil lamps within. I could hear the singing as my passenger got down and bade me a hurried good evening. The voice of the choir welled out as he passed through the door, and I switched off the engine of the car and sat listening to the hymns for a while before continuing on my way home. It seemed a most fitting time and place to thank God for the harvest with shorn stubble all round and sheep lying out there in the darkness.