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WI: When Catsfield WI held its Christmas party last week the hall was full of visitors and regular members and there was a cheery Christmas atmosphere throughout. The business matters were kept to a minimum on this occasion, although a vote was held to decide on our new charity for 2015 and by a large majority, the winner was the Sussex Air Ambulance. We look forward to hearing more soon about the work they do and hope to raise money to help this charitable organisation whose vital work is almost entirely funded by donations. The speaker was Mr Peter Wilson who entertained us with a talk entitled ‘Classical Gas’. He first clicked on the screen against the name of a composer who was famous for writing a familiar piece of classical music and played a recording of a short extract. He then clicked on a recent U-Tube entry and we listened to the modern version that had been taken from it. It was very interesting and it was surprising that some of us could remember all the words of the songs written mainly in the 60’s! He played the piano and members joined in singing several traditional carols. A delicious tea was prepared and served by the committee, which included a magnificent Christmas cake made and decorated by our treasurer Ann Clegg. The competition for a ‘Seasonal Napkin Ring’ was won by Victoria. The raffle was drawn and everyone had a dip in the bran tub for a Christmas gift before heading home after a lovely afternoon.

Sinbad and the Big Eruption: You could be forgiven for wondering what you had paid for if you went to the Village Hall last week; for the show started in darkness, with two shadowy figures that might have been Vanessa Francis and Aaron Vitler apologising for the lack of power and advising the audience to return home. However, all was suddenly bathed in light and the opening number started with much colour and enthusiasm and the familiar tune had subtly altered lyrics to suit the romp that was Sinbad and the Big Eruption. An entertaining tale then unfolded that included more elegantly tailored songs, excellent sets, colourful costumes and even more colourful characters. It was necessary though to make frequent reference to the programme to check exactly what gender each of the usual suspects was supposed to be, such was the role reversal this year. Annabelle Sparks and Sallie Relf were the sumptuous guardian djinns trying to keep everything on track. Jessie Francis was the spirited, quick witted eponymous hero Sinbad, hindered by his ‘brother’ Inkpad Tinbad, played with uncharacteristic dim wittedness by Jane Overall. Their Mum was energetically played by the wonderful Vanessa Francis, (who else could make an art form out of forgetting their lines and then getting the best laughs of the night?) Every panto must have a baddie and this year it was Keith Robertson as the obnoxious Ali Tosis, who expertly manipulated the audience with his ‘sneeringly superior’ performance, aided and abetted by his Uriah Heap like sidekick, Ali Oops alias George Brunger. The principal girls were boys, Princess Jasmine was a very convincing Dave Stevens and his/her handmaid George Baker playing a buxom Lotus with great aplomb, a welcome return this year. The goodies chased the baddies across the Indian Ocean on the good ship ‘The Great Sinker’ ably(?) captained by the be-whiskered Rachel Putland, a great cameo role with much nautical natter. Perhaps the most colourful and ingenious scene then ensued with the goodies bobbing around in a life raft on a sea of sea creatures that looked like fugitives from ‘Finding Nemo’ but were in fact members of the cast with cardboard cut outs on their heads. After the interval and raffle they washed up on Volcano Island (see title for clue) and were then at the mercy of a fierce tribe of Goolies led by their eccentric Chief played with great enthusiasm by John Search, with his two trusty Goolies Baz Jenkins and Amy O’Sullivan who had also been multi-tasking in other roles throughout the show. Apart from the odd appearance as a variety of people not much had been seen of Aaron Vitler until now. He burst onto the scene as the Goolies’ Witchdoctor with some great songs and exuberant acting. There followed much hilarity with Mrs Tinbad being prepared for barbecuing to appease the god of the volcano, Princess Jasmine being unsuccessfully seduced by Ali Tosis and Sinbad and Lotus experiencing ‘mild peril’. In the end of course, good prevailed as it should and the baddies received their just desserts. That left one final song and huge rounds of applause from the capacity audience who had had a wonderful evening’s entertainment on their doorstep, due to a talented team led by directors Vanessa & Aaron. The applause went to the cast on stage, but the very necessary backroom boys and girls without whose hard work the show could not go on also deserve a massive vote of thanks.

Sports News: Oh dear, oh dear. All that winter training must have tired out the lads, they lost 1 - 8 to third in the table Tackleway last Saturday. The fixture was switched and although a bit stodgy our ground was ready for action, but all the action seemed to come from the opposition. Perhaps it would be best if they stopped all the press-ups and running round a Spanish resort and concentrated on drinking lager and laying round the pool! Tony Luke scored our only goal. Tomorrow we face second in the table Eastbourne Rangers again at home, come on boys, we wags are depending on you.

Jill Jarrett

Broadview, Bexhill