IT is now the time for my favourite church service of the year which of course for any country lad is harvest festival.

It is different now for understandable reasons but strong childhood memories remain.

The churches of my early years at Sheepscombe, Filkins and Rodmarton were filled with autumn bounty from field, orchard and garden.

The colours of the season formed the background and the fruits were everywhere.

The churches were full, as so many were involved in ploughing the field and sowing the seed.

The singing reflected this being lusty and loud.

God was certainly thanked with “hearts and soul and voices”.

The message was there for all to see and hear.

Hard work had been done, weather overcome and the harvest brought in.

It had been hard work, but overtime meant fuller pay packets.

There was much to be thankful for.

Today we still sing the same hymns but few have been involved. Giant combine harvesters hoover up large fields with unbelievable speed. The harvest is soon over.

Yes, there are goodies in church with bowls of Michaelmas daises, dahlias and chrysanths the produce being abundant, but different.

Gifts are brought but they are tins and toiletries, packets and provisions.

All are much needed for the food banks that are so important today.

The church may not seem so attractive but the realities of today’s world are being properly met, and that is exactly what the point of this seasonal service is.

In Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee’s younger brother Tony looks at the wonder of Slad Church at Harvest Festival and asks with childhood innocence “Will there be drums”?

Of course there were none but let us band our metaphorical drum and make our own festival worthwhile.