Jill Jarrett, Henley Down Cottage

Last Sunday there was a village tea party to celebrate the special ‘big’ birthday of Patricia Speedy, who returned to the village from Exmouth with Peter for a few days to share this event with her old friends in Catsfield. The hall was filled with well-wishers and the central table was laden with piles of delicious sandwiches and cakes, a huge birthday cake and champagne (and unlimited cups of tea) for everyone.

Beryl paid tribute to all Patricia’s hard work in many different local organisations and thanked her for contributing so much to village life throughout the years. Patricia said in her reply to the speeches made by Beryl and her son, that although she and Peter are wonderfully happy in their new home, it was lovely to come back to visit Catsfield, see old friends and it felt almost as if they’d never left. Everyone agreed that it was very good to see them both too and have the excuse for another village get together!

A reminder that its only two weeks to Easter and this Sunday is Palm Sunday, when the Communion service at the parish church of St Laurence will be held at 8.30am. The sung Eucharist and Procession with Palms will be in Crowhurst (meet in Forewood Rise for a 10am start.) Easter Cards with the details of all the Holy week services and an Easter message from Father Michael have been distributed throughout the village.

Fifteen members of Catsfield Football Club, together with Martin, Jackie, Mike and your sports correspondent travelled to Ghent for the first ever continental football match against Celtic Towers. Friday night was apparently spent in the bar, Saturday morning the team explored Ghent, heads ringing to the sound of far too many church bells in the town until the time came to go to a giant sports complex.

The pitch was an artificial surface and the opposition consisted of two seven a side, very fit teams who normally play indoors. We were four down at half time, however, the bar owner arrived with a case of Jupiler and a bag full of Irish hats providing the inspiration we needed. With rolling substitutions and a lot of good humour, we finished with a five all draw. Secretary Colin White scored two goals, Tony Luke got 2 and the opposition provided an own goal. Obviously Catsfield can travel!

Saturday night was extremely long, noisy and sociable in the Celtic Towers bar watching giant TV screens showing English rugby and football matches. The wags and husbands had tactfully withdrawn to enjoy a more sedate evening. Apparently it was rather difficult to get the team back together Sunday morning to travel home, but thanks to organiser Nigel Champion, it had been a great experience. Disappointingly your correspondent was not invited to report on Match of the Day, but she sends this exclusive to Catsfield Village Voice.

On St Patrick’s Day 17th March, as we left the Village Hall following Patricia’s party in yet more heavy rain, Father Michael pointed out that it was also the anniversary of Noah setting sail in the ark. If this part of the world gets much wetter, one wonders if there may soon be a flotilla of similar vessels seen in vicinity!