Catsfield Village Voice

At the WI meeting on Thursday 4th October after singing ‘Jerusalem’, the President welcomed everyone and congratulated Amanda Watson (830648) on starting a new Women’s Institute at Crowhurst on the second Wednesday evenings in the month starting at 7.30pm – 9.30pm.

Catsfield members are welcome to join, but hopefully they will still remain as members in Catsfield too! Bookings will be taken at next month’s meeting for the pantomime at the White Rock and the Christmas lunch at the White Hart, Netherfield. Barbara arranged the first get-together of the new WI choir who will entertain members at the Christmas party in December and altogether there was a general feeling that the festive season approaches – although still more than two months away!

Members then settled back to see and hear a most entertaining demonstration of a Victorian Magic Lantern Show given by Thelma and John Burgess. We heard that the first magic lanterns appeared in the 1600’s and they became more widely used around 1895 – 1905 when they were originally lit by smelly candles. Next they used limelight – a gas kept in two bags and pumped by small boys jumping on them but they sometimes exploded! Later came paraffin, which started many fires and in the mid 1800’s the lanterns were converted to electricity.

In the 19th century travelling shows moved around the country entertaining people with the glass slides, many of which had moving pictures giving ghostly performances amongst other things. The slides measure about three inches and were beautifully hand-painted, sometimes using a brush with just one hair to perfect the finer details. These slides are then projected on to a six foot screen, showing the amazing fine details and that the colours have remained vibrant after all those years. The projector itself is a large, heavy wood and brass contraption, in itself a work of art!

We were shown slides of wild animals in Canada, children playing moving games such as Battledore & Shuttlecock and skipping and a magnificent colourful kaleidoscope. There was the story of ‘Old Mother Hubbard’ made in 1805 and a beautiful series of Japanese photographs taken in 1910, hand-tinted and accompanied by a recording of appropriately gentle piano music. There were many more varied slides and it all gave us an interesting and entertaining afternoon, ending with a question and answer session before enjoying the usual delicious WI tea. The next meeting in November will be at the winter starting time of 2pm, as by then we will have put the clocks back!

Ted Farrington is standing down as Lay Reader to the parishes of Catsfield and Crowhurst and there will be a tea party held for him in the Village Hall on Sunday 14th October from 4pm – 6pm to express our thanks to him for all his good work over so many years.

Gwen’s coffee morning, held to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support a couple of weeks ago, raised an amazing £260 and Gwen thanks everyone for their support.

The East Sussex Mobile Library will be in its usual place outside the Village Hall tomorrow, Saturday 13th from 4.15 – 4.45pm.

Sadly, last week the football team were unable to find enough players free from work commitments and injury to field a team against Hollington and the match was cancelled. We hope Saturday’s fixture away against Mountfield will take place.

The Village Hall Committee are very pleased with the refurbishments undertaken in Hermon Cottage with the removal of the brick fireplace, the last remaining feature of its original use as a home for the Hall caretaker. The re-decoration was completed with a new carpet fitted by Matt Cox and the kitchen will soon be offering a fridge to go with its microwave and other amenities. Hermon Cottage is used by Helen Mesure, the visiting Osteopath, CADS rehearsals, Play Group, Parish Council and many other Committee meetings. Bookings can be made through Jim and Sarah Campbell at the village shop, telephone 893498.

Just a reminder now the winter is approaching, that the snooker room is available for hire through Carol Hodgson on 892831.

Thanks to Mike Cooper for this lovely account of the Harvest Evensong.

Three dozen people gathered at 2pm in the Village Hall last Sunday to start practising the West Gallery music for the Harvest Evensong later in the day. Approximately a third of these were from Sussex Harmony but the rest were from Catsfield and around, who wanted to sing and play this spirited music. Most of the tunes were taken from The Singing Seat, the book published by Edwin Macadam and Tony Singleton of manuscripts from St. Laurence’s found in the Macdermott collection of church music kept in the library of The Sussex Archaeological Society in Lewes.

These tunes were then applied to words fitting for the season of harvest.

This light-hearted rehearsal was kept going at a goodly pace by Rachel Jordan, leader of Sussex Harmony. The singers were backed by clarinets, fiddles, an oboe, a bass trombone and a curtal, a 17th century forerunner of the bassoon and eight pieces were learnt or revisited. Sussex Harmony like to dress in the period from which the music comes and they had brought along dresses for the ladies and St. Laurence’s had brought out and ironed its collection of linen funeral smocks for the men, which it is believed date from the 19th Century (the smocks not the men!)

The lovely autumn weather encouraged the suitably attired singers to walk to church, giving rise to a few surprised looks from passers by.

The church still resplendent in its harvest adornments welcomed over 60 quire and congregation that evening. The lusty singing filled the church and the music, brought back to it’s roots, bounced round the ancient walls as it must have done all those years ago. The singing was excellent and mostly accurate. Fortunately Father Michael elected not to preach a sermon, for to be in keeping with the period it would have lasted for an hour or more!

This gave everyone a chance to enjoy a splendid Harvest Supper, washed down with a selection of beverages including old ale. While they ate and drank (marvelling at the spread) everyone agreed it had been a wonderful occasion, not only keeping the old music alive but celebrating Harvest Festival as perhaps our forbears had done. Many thanks to all involved.