Gill Griffin, Belfield, Main Street

One of the nicest things about writing the Village Voice, is that I am learning about what goes on behind the scenes in Iden. For instance, last week, there was a knock on my door, and it was Mary Philo, our Parish clerk. Now, it’s always nice to see Mary, because she really cares about our village. The Parish clerk of today requires a definitive training, because there are issues regarding the law, and health and safety to be adhered to. Mary is very well- versed in these issues. We are lucky to have her. She pops up in Iden like a cork, calling on councillors, delivering minutes, replenishing notice boards, and generally noticing anything untoward. She came to indoctrinate me on the advantages and opportunities offered in our Iden website [], which was compiled by John Bridge. It’s an interesting website for Iden dwellers. I was aware of it, but like many people, I had not taken advantage of it. I have to say that I will now, because it allows all of us who own a computer to visit it and glean information about Iden and it’s whereabouts. There is something there to suit each of our individual needs. There is provision for us to question it’s content, to add our own thoughts and ideas, and to take from it what we please. It allows us to be in the hub of Iden on a daily basis, so that we can keep abreast of what concerns us.

Visiting our website, and attending Parish Council meetings is one way of hearing first hand how our council tax is being distributed, what is happening about local crime, what is being done about potholes in the road , refuse disposal etc. In a nutshell, we need to make sure that we are looking out for Iden, and what‘s more to the point, that Iden is looking out for us. We get a chance to ask questions, to put our own oar in , and so it should be, because Iden belongs to all of us, and sometimes in these vulnerable times, it‘s a case of together we stand and divided we fall .Michael Miller gives a very comprehensive report in the Village Voice after each council meeting, but actually attending the meeting makes it much more personal. Michael chairs the Parish Council, which meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm, in the village hall. It would be nice to increase the attendance. Sometimes it can get heated, and sometimes it’s amusing, but I for one wouldn’t miss it , because it gives me a sense of community .Whatever people may think about a Parish Council, let me just say, it’s worse where there’s none.

Yesterday, I did two sure-fire things for a cold day, hugged the fire, and made soup. All those vegetables made me think of last week, when I attended the Iden and Playden Garden Society’s annual party. I stand corrected, because I called them the Iden Horticultural and Garden Society -BIG MISTAKE--HUGE! I was invited, even though I’ve never grown so much as a carrot. I joined however, and was given a copy of their ‘Members Year Book’. I must say, I was very impressed with it’s content. Morris Metcalf is the society chairman, and the committee, including Morris’s wife Yvonne, and Gwynneth Parsons[ our lovely Gwynneth], are all chosen for their considerable gardening know-how. They work very hard to cater for every type of gardener, be it for those with acreage, or those with a window box The society is well attended, but new members are welcome. Gardening, as I learned from the year book, has a language all of it‘s own, and that was obvious from Morris’s quiz, which was garden- orientated. The winner by the way, was Michael Miller, yet again [Michael is a bright fellow].”Oh yes you are Michael, now come out from behind that clump of hydrangeas!

It is always heartening to be amongst people who share a passion for gardening. It’s a skill, and a noble art, and it is not for the faint- hearted. The society holds three shows a year, .in Spring, Summer and Autumn .Exhibits include, fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower arrangement, cookery and preserves, a hotchpotch of natures bounties, and a chance for everyone to shine. Each entry has to adhere to particular specifications [don’t just turn up with a cabbage and hope for the best] For instance, under ‘Best Tray Competition Rules’, it specifies, ‘onion tops may be tied or whipped using raffia or string’ [how are we placed, us mere mortals who have never whipped an onion top] Well, whatever, I shall be at the next show. I’ve even bought a packet of mixed radishes, so watch this space!

The next Bingo in the village hall, will be on 20th February. Doors open at 2pm, eyes down at 2.30pm. We are trying to raise money to improve our village hall, so do come. You may win a cash prize, and there will be fun and good company. Refreshments are served at half time. Never mind ‘legs eleven, ’ bingo is the BEES KNEES! We have a brand new bingo machine, and Ray Griffin is set to man it.

[thank you Tom Hugget for your donation towards our bingo machine, you’re a star]

The Parish Communion is on Sunday 9th February at 9.30am.

The next Pop -In will be on 17th February, at 11am in the village hall. Everyone is welcome for a good old village chat and tea/coffee and biscuits. Bric-a-brac and books are on sale .Come in and get warm and have some laughs. We can guarantee a welcome .Proceeds go to the village hall.

Some very good news has just reached me regarding our village shop. The Environmental Health Organisation at Rother District Council, has just bestowed a five star award on Iden Village Stores. That is lovely news and well deserved. Well done Geoff and Elizabeth., and all your staff. More about this honour next week. Very pleased for you, because you work so hard.

Spring is much too gentle to push ebullient winter out of the way, but she is capable of using her feminine wiles, so already there are buds on the daffodils in the churchyard. My mother used to say, “lets pick some buds and watch them come out” Those were the days when life was simple, and so were our expectations.

I’m getting maudlin--------See you next week.

Anyone wishing to add to the village voice, I’ll be glad to hear from you. Please ring Gill Griffin 01797 280311