By Norma Hood

Editor’s note. Norma lives in Gamlingay, although for many years she and Tommy Hood, her late husband, lived in Holbeins Farm – the story of how they met was told in the eulogy given at his funeral in April 2021. Here, though, Norma tells of a little adventure to the Harvest Festival service at Hatley St George church on 2nd October 2022.

Just another Sunday? No! My good friend, who is also my sommelier and chauffeur, arrived and got me to the church on time. It is a pretty little church hiding modestly among trees on a bend in the road at Hatley St George. I showed my friend where members of my family are buried there before attending the service of thanksgiving for this year’s harvest. My friend
remained outside.

Although an atheist, he behaves like a Christian. He chose to wander for a while in open country and commune with nature. He returned to find the church now empty except for one other lady, me and Hilary, our Rector. She was about to give me Holy Communion and invited my friend to join in. He declined but remained.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a relaxed conversation with Hilary during which, to my friend’s surprise, he learned that Hilary had been a scientist. I think and hope that the godly and ungodly are now good friends.

We then drove the short distance to Hatley village hall where the splendid new toilets are worthy of a grand hotel. The hall was filled with happy young families enjoying the delights of bring and buy. We didn’t bring (shame) but we did buy and were treated to many of the tasty delights.

On the way home we slowed down to admire a tiny 1930s Austin Seven parked outside The Wheatsheaf. “Stop. Let’s go inside and meet the owner,” I suggested. The result was a most enjoyable half hour with the proud owner, an elderly man accompanied by three friends.

Then came an invitation we could not refuse, a ride in his ancient vehicle. It was a revelation, a flimsy structure where I had to bend low to ease myself into the back seat, hardly big enough for a carrycot.

Starting the car involved dealing with knobs, switches and pedals. When the engine finally burst into life, the vehicle shook, shuddered and vibrated. We were not expecting to be massaged as well. Then we were driven on a brief tour of Gamlingay, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang style, and almost reached 30 mph. Other drivers were very polite and gave way to us.

That evening I prepared well-buttered baked potatoes and a tuna mash for our evening meal, followed by ripe figs from my son’s garden and when you get to our age, nearly 200 years between us, only the finest wine is a must.

Quite a day.

First published in St Mary’s newsletter, (page four) 7th October 2022.

See also these contributions from Tommy Hood…

Psge created 10th October 2022.