Burns Night: The traditional three course Burn's Night dinner will be held on Saturday 26th January 2019 in the Village Hall at 7pm. Tickets will go on sale from 1st January, available only from Sandra on 01424 774708 and will cost £12 each to include dinner and a wee dram. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 9:01 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:17 pm

Christmas in Catsfield: What a special village Catsfield is, especially at the magical time of Christmas. There was so much going on, right from the end of November with the hugely successful St Laurence Christmas Market, followed a couple of weeks later by the CADS wonderful pantomime ‘Treasure Island’, reports of both have already appeared in this column. The Primary School and the Pre-School both had their own special seasonal events which were well attended by the village as well as parents and friends of the children.

St Laurence Church: celebrated Advent throughout December and the early evening candlelit Carol Service on 9th December was a real family occasion with readings, carols and poems and afterwards mince pies and drinks were enjoyed at the Rectory. The ever-popular ‘Carols for Christmas’ evening in the Village Hall was packed out. After a joyful evening of singing, fuelled by more mince pies and mulled wine, a collection for St Michael’s Hospice raised a wonderful £233. The church was beautifully decorated in white and red flowers with candles, holly and ivy everywhere, a large Christmas tree standing in the corner and the crib by the pulpit. At 3pm on Christmas Eve the Crib Service was as magical as ever with the children re-enacting the nativity and the midnight service this year was at St George’s Church Crowhurst. On Christmas morning the congregation paused in their celebrations at home to come and welcome the birth of Christ in a family service at St Laurence Church and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Bluegrass Concert: On 2nd February in Catsfield Village Hall, the Bluegrass Plus Club will be holding a superb winter concert at 7.30pm. ‘Special Consensus USA’ will be performing with ‘Alive and Picking’ as support and bar and refreshments will be available. Tickets are limited, so telephone 01424 893390 or email [email protected] to book now. Tickets cost £15 each.

Sport – and more (thank you Ann): The groundsman will soon be back at the Playing Field after a long lay-off with no football fixtures. Tomorrow we play St Leonards Social at home and we hope our players have been keeping fit, while the groundsman has been fairly active in case he might be called upon to shuffle along the line with the flag.

What to do with him in these dank winter days with no football? A solution was to do some pleasant industrial research along the river at the bottom of the farm. This river, which starts at Normanhurst and runs orangey-brown with iron when it reaches Trout Stream, has long been a focal point of historical workings. After Trout Stream it runs under the road at The Stream through fields into Potmans where it was used for some heavy iron workings, then under Potmans Lane across the fields at New Barn Farm, Henley Down where bricks were made up until the early 1900s. Photographs show long lines of bricks and a big hole in the ground by The Watermill. Fairly substantial brick structures still exist here and further along towards Crowhurst showing how the river was held back into pools with sluices controlling the flow when it was necessary to run the hammer and watermills. There were also iron works at Buckholt and apparently the products were shipped along the river to Potmans to be hammered. Today the river is small, managed by the drainage authorities and is home to many small birds like the siskin and stonechat. It is also possible to watch the herons fly from pond to pond and then wait in the alders for the trout which can sometimes be seen.

Of course, the groundsman was more interested in what was growing in the fields, or being eaten by hundreds of pigeons. Meanwhile, a grain boat is due in Shoreham in February and farmers are hoping to get a good price for the grain so that the barns can be emptied ready for it all to start again. Grain is a commodity to be sold by brokers and merchants and it is always a gamble when and where to sell.