Kent Lane: The whole problem should be over by the time you read this column — so this just counts as a whinge really — but Kent Lane has been a dangerous nightmare for the last two weeks. Because of the closure of Darwell Hill on the Heathfield Road, drivers have been poking around on their satnavs to try and find alternative routes through the lanes. (If you don’t know what a satnav is, it’s a type of oriental takeway — utterly delicious!). The problem has not been the volume of traffic but the fact that a good fifty percent of the drivers simply don’t know how to drive on narrow, blind country lanes. They continue to drive as though it’s an A road and don’t slow down for dog walkers, cyclists, kids (the schools have broken up), deer, stock, walkers, etc. And if you move over to let them through, they just sweep past with little or no acknowledgement. There is one obvious implication in all this: there are some people who live in towns, and only take the main routes, and never drive regularly on the local lanes. Which is depressing as lanes are the soul of Sussex. Well we have learnt one new technique: you may not know this but, if you blast your horn before a bend, you can drive round it without needing to slow down. It’s true, honest.
Highways Steward: While we are on the subject of traffic, we should like to publicly commend the sterling efforts of John Copp, our highways steward. He made an immediate difference as soon as he took over and we’ve all seen the results of his efforts. Most notably, when the flood rains gouged a huge and dangerous pothole in the A2100 opposite the end of Solomon’s Lane back in January, he appreciated how serious it was and simply parked over it for half a day until he could get a gang there to fix it.
New Councillor: We now have a new district councillor: Cllr. Eleanor Kirby-Green (Conservative) to whom we offer our congratulations. The UKIP candidate came second, pushing Andrew Wedmore, formerly of this parish, into third place (he came second last time). We have Kathryn Field to fight for us at county level but have desperately needed someone effective to speak for us at district level where most local business takes place, particularly planning enforcement.
Mine tour: Here’s one of a series of reports commissioned from one of our cub reporters, Chris Holden (Brickyard Cottages — where Kevin used to live). “It’s been life in the fast lane in Mountfield this week. On Wednesday, my husband Nick, Sue and John Snuggs and I had the good fortune to go for a tour of the Brightling mine and the British Gypsum factory. We had won our trip in a silent auction at the ‘Bit of a Do’ in the Village Hall back in June. Paul Last did a fantastic job of organising an action-packed day for us. At the mine, we were duly briefed, instructed, kitted out with all the safety gear and ready to go when one of us bottled out. Yes, it was me that couldn’t face the mine face or even the mine entrance come to that. None the less I had a great day and learned a lot from our guides, many thanks to them all. Congratulations to the lucky winners but our collective thanks should go to British Gypsum for offering this fantastic prize and helping to raise extra money for village funds. In November (well, actually, October 31st), when the bonfire is finally lit and the firework go up, at least some of it will be Nick, Chris, Sue and John’s money going up in smoke!
Fast traffic: Here is further late-breaking news from Chris; “All week we’ve been dodging traffic in Mountfield Lane (Kent Lane) whilst resurfacing work elsewhere has caused us to be a satnav alternative. What a lot of people in a hurry! Our dog is not at all impressed with life in this fast lane. However Friday evening we took to the road ourselves. We entered two cars into the Mountfield Club Car Treasure Hunt which was a hoot (sorry about the terrible humour). Of course it was not a race but Sue O’Sullivan and I had taken on Nick and Barry (a.k.a. Older and Wiser) in a girls versus boys. We set off around the lanes with Sue at the wheel of her vintage red sports car. We nailed clue after clue and even with a slight mechanical handicap which I think I heard Sue refer to as “no brakes” we thought that we were well en route to beating those boys who didn’t pass the finish line until we were half way through our first drinks. Imagine our surprise when they came third out of 13 teams and us only seventh. Oh well, there’s always next year. Congratulations chaps and many thanks to the Club for such a good evening. Today I was back at the village hall at the very well-attended Horticultural Society Show. The wheel of good fortune turned in my favour as my cucumber and my tomatoes were judged second in classes that both had more than two entries, and I won a pineapple on the raffle. The sun shone when the forecast said rain, people enjoyed tea and cake, games on the grass and lots of wonderful exhibits proved that Mountfield is full of very talented folk. I picked up some gardening tips and tomorrow I’ll be back in my veg patch putting my new knowledge to good use. So excusez moi if I greet you en Francais but this week I’m having trouble knowing whether I’ve moved to the backwater of Mountfield or the fast lane of Monte Carlo. Au revoir, Chris Holden.”
Rally award: There is a distinct traffic theme to the Voice this week so we should add that Sue O’Sullivan who has won another trophy (to go with the First Car to Finish Without Brakes Trophy mentioned above). The latest award was apparently the 750 Ladies Award for the most rallies and trials in the 750 Championship. This must mean something to someone. We asked her husband, Muttley, but answer came there none — which was Dastardly.
Hospice help: A quick update on Barbara Valentine who, as you will know if you have been paying proper attention to this column, is a hard-working and staunch supporter of St Michael’s Hospice. We reported back in June that she had raised £120 for St Michael’s at ‘A Bit of a Do’ in the Village Hall. She followed this up with another £130 at the centenary celebrations at Dallington School a few weeks later. Tomorrow afternoon (August 9th) she will be at Crowhurst Summer Fayre doing quick portraits for the same cause. Interestingly, she tells us that at Crowhurst she often has the same punters every year each and so records in paint those children growing up. As Barbara says “so much more personal than a photograph. Barbara will be out and about doing portraits at Normanhurst, Catsfield on the 16th and 17th August, and then at the Hospice Summer Fair on the 6th September, and their ‘Fabulously Vintage Fair’ on the 20th September. More details on these next week. As most of you will know Barbara and her daughter Juliette hold art classes at Mountfield Village Hall. The new term starts on September 16th and details can be seen in a display in the foyer of Battle Library for the next month or so. More information also in Village Voice nearer the time.
Waterworks: We have learnt a few interesting details about Southern Water’s plans. It’s subject to change but they are hoping to start the sewerage works — i.e. the laying of the sewerage pipes plus the individual household connection points — in October. They hope to achieve most of this using a robotic moling device rather than open trenching. Then work on the actual sewage treatment plant is slated for March 2015.
Welcome: We should like to bid welcome to Nigel and Jane More, plus three and a half year old Felicity, who have moved into Riverside Cottage on Soloman’s Lane. They have moved from Frant so will need to learn the language.
Cut query: Finally, a history question from Pete. When was New Cut cut? For anyone bemused by the question, Hoath Hill used to continue north across the end of Church Lane up to John’s Cross (past Ingleside) and was called Almshouse Lane. New Cut was then widened after the War. When and why?
Contact us: If you have any news or views for us, we are on 880614 (evenings) or via email@example.com.
Peter and Valerie Miles