Saturday 23rd. August, 2014 – The Harvest is all around us 

A picture of Mount Pleasant taken during Mix and my walk this morning. I’m taking pictures through the year to see how things change. Everything is still very green around our farm steading. Now that the harvest has all but been gathered in I expect that it will not be long before we start to get the autumn colours

Slept in, well it is Saturday and I enjoy a lie-in on a Saturday and, with no weddings to perform and no building work to do at the weekend, I can sleep as long as I like. In fact I was out with Mix soon after ten and walking up the Swinton Road. The combine harvester was in full swing and I took some pictures which are included with this entry. In the morning the combine was in the field opposite Mount Pleasant, in the afternoon it moved into the field around us. It makes a colossal noise and travels in a huge cloud of dust and gets through an enormous amount of grain – how different things must have been in the old days, I expect that we would be looking out on fields filled with people doing everything by hand. Fields of hay carts and men with sickles and women tying the stalks together, and singing and picnic lunches and children running everywhere. Everywhere around here there are farm cottages which in the old days would have been filled with farm workers, now-a-days they have been sold off and many quite near here are now used as holiday homes. Changed days.

I worked in the summer house sorting out some of the licences for Rachel’s boat and dealing with some more emails. It was an easy day, lots of chats in the farm house with Cathy who was reupholstering chairs and Olive who was doing some financial work for one of her Churches or other charities. Mix and I went for an afternoon walk and then, once Rachel had returned from Barnoldswick, we all had an evening meal in the farmhouse before going our separate ways.

Mum and Cathy went into Gavinton to attend a charity concert in the Village Hall. Olive and Digger stayed at home and Rachel and I went off to Berwick to attend the final concert of the Berwick Opera Festival. Held in the Guildhall it was a concert version of part of Die Walkure and the Siegfreid Idyll both by Richard Wagner.

The evening began with some excellent words from Matthew Rooke, the artistic director of the Maltings Theatre. He explained how important he believed it was that opera and music should be available not just in London and other big cities. Everyone needed to have the opportunity of experiencing music live. It gave him huge pleasure to have brought so much real talent to this festival. There is no denying that this evening we listened to some very special people. The music was provided by the Hebrides Ensemble and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland – a group of students who are at the stage of being ready to turn professional. They were all excellent and I loved the Siegfeid Idyll and thought how good a venue the Guildhall makes for such a musical event.

Die Walkure was also exceptional. Three wonderful voices: Gweneth-Ann Jeffers, Stuart Pendred and Ronald Samm. But they were more than voices because, in the best traditions of a concert performance, they brought their parts to life – helped by the fact that we were each given a full copy of the libretto in English when we came in. The evening was conducted by Peter Selwyn who, in addition to having a very illustrious curriculum vitae as a conductor, is also a Professor at the Royal College of Music.

It was a splendid evening – and hats off to Matthew Rooke for having the vision and the drive to make it all happen.

Back home, Rachel was tired after her long drive. We got things organised, walked the dogs and went to bed. Another fine day.

Before the evening began I took this picture of the inside of the Guildhall. It was just right for tonight

I took this picture this morning of the huge monster of a combine harvester coming towards me across the field

Now the harvester has turned and is moving away from me. Still it looks enormous and you can see the cloud of grain dust billowing out behind it

Now it is this afternoon and I am taking this picture over the garden fence looking across Digger's allotment to the field beyond

A final picture of the harvester hard at work. The fields around here are extremely large and there is a great amount of grain still to be cut but the harvester will have it done in no time at all


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