coming up a crop-per
coming up a crop-per

September 22, 2010

Dear friends,

    It has been said by, some person or other, that all roads lead to Rome. It must also be said that, as far as St Cliff’s is concerned, all roads would appear in fact to lead to that equally familiar alternative destination of Ruin.

    Whilst I confess to not being inclined to superstition, recent events having taken their inevitable toll, it is all I can do to resist the temptation to keep my fingers perpetually crossed.
The much maligned eczema rash which haunts the index and middle fingers of both hands has proved my saving grace in that such friction caused by the action of their crossing (in the shameful service of superstition) would result in a discomfort that far outweighed any hoped for protection that the supposed forces of fate could afford me.

    Had I but realised what lay before us when I gave Colonel Braithwaite full command of the Harvest Festival Preparations Committee then the ensuing disaster would have been well and truly prevented. Hindsight not being on the menu that particular day, things remained in primed-for-disaster mode.

    St Cliff’s, being in a rural location, is well endowed when it comes to members of the farming
community and it has been our happy task (until now), to appoint a representative from these
veritable tillers of the soil to oversee our harvest proceedings.

    Colonel Braithwaite, whilst having only farmed for two years, produced a crop of wheat sporting ears that would have kept Goliath in Weetabix for life. I can only presume that my willingness to be impressed got the better of me and while I was more than prepared to accept the good Colonel’s explanation of ‘beginner’s luck’, an air of suspicion hung heavily over the rest of the village.

    Their worst fears had to wait until the unfortunate day of St Cliff’s Harvest Festival to receive official confirmation.

    Never in living memory had such gargantuan crops adorned the sanctuary of St Cliff’s and one’s imagination needed little assistance in picturing what the Garden of Eden must have looked like in all its pre-fall splendour.

    On this particular day the opportunity to linger upon such wistful thoughts was rudely interrupted not only by a duff first chord from Mrs Higginbottom as she attempted to kick-start the
congregation into ‘We plough the fields and scatter’, but also by the half dozen men from the Ministry of Agriculture who, dressed to the nines in chemical warfare-style apparel, marched to the front of the church and proceeded to dismantle Colonel Braithwaite’s super-sized offerings and bag them for analysis.

    The undisguised smirks that adorned the ruddy faces of his farming competitors was all that was required to establish precisely who it was gave the tip-off that genetically modified crops were being illegally grown in the parish.

    It now falls upon me to break the news to St Cliff’s Harvest Supper Committee that ‘Whopper Jacket Potatoes’ are most definitely off the menu tonight.

    Onward and upward.