SLING YOUR HOOK IVY!: Ivy, [the plant] has the cheek of the devil doesn’t it? This week, travelling along the country lanes from Iden to Dymchurch, I noticed by how many twiggy, wintery trees [devoid of leaves] have been taken over almost completely by ivy, so that the poor tree can’t even enjoy the freedom of being leaf-less for a while. Imagine if that happened to us, someone moving in on us without a by-your leave, taking over our home, our spouse, the kids, [and, God forbid, the dog and the three -piece suite]. We’d be incensed wouldn’t we, but the poor old tree can’t even contact the papers, or consult a lawyer, or phone a friend. It stands there, helpless, invaded bythis tyrannical, overbearing ivy. Occasionally, while house hunting, I have fallen for an ivy-clad house. “Gill get your coat” my husband would always say [oh, he can be masterful when he chooses!], but he’s right, because ivy can harm the brickwork. I wonder if there is some psychological reason [in plant terms] why the ivy leads such a ‘borrowed’ life. There must be a something child-like about it’s dependence on others, yet aside from it’s grasping nature, it is undeniably beautiful, has many saving graces, and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it.. The thing about living here in the country, where stillness, and silence prevail, is that we really get to stop and stare at nature, and consider in some depth it’s occasional unfairness. Ivy takes over telegraph poles, gravestones, hedges and whole stretches of woodland floor. Wouldn’t it be nice if it found some level of independence, got it’s own little starter home in the woods somewhere, became less parasitic, and began to stand on it’s own two feet .Of course, it would need the plant equivalent of a support worker to look in now and again while making this transition .It would be heinously difficult for it, when it’s soul purpose in life has been to totally engulf it’s host without any apparent shred of remorse!

TEA FOR THE THESPIANS: Last week, [in Ian’s absence], I made tea for the thespians rehearsing for the Pantomime ‘Ali Baba’. Being amongst them [waiting for the urn to boil] I felt unable to compete [they are so feisty] I scuttled away to the village hall kitchen and ran cold water over my wrists [it’s hard being in the company of these highly-charged folk]. Would mere tea be enough for them I pondered [or perhaps a drop of the hard stuff] Anything to calm them down, because they lurch [as thespians tend to do] from one drama to another .Oh they would have to make do with tea I decided [start pandering to them, and there is no end to their demands] If you come to see their performances on 20th and 21st March though, you will see the reason why they are a little over the top. .They are tinged with brilliance [and that’s very hard to live with!] Tickets will be on sale in Iden Stores at the end of February.

THE SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: The service of holy communion will be on Sunday 8th February, at 9.30am, in Iden Parish Church. February 18th, is the start of Lent. There will be Lent lunches in the Old Hall on Tuesdays at 12.30, on Feb.25th, and March 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th . Donations to the ‘Children’s Society’.

THE POP-IN: The next Pop-In, will be on Monday16th February, at 11am, in the village hall. It’s always nice to see people arrive, and hear that swell of conversation. It’s definitely a way of appreciating people, seeing them gathered around chatting and laughing, holding a ginger nut and a piece of bric-a brac. The village hall is always so accommodating!

BINGO: The next Bingo is in Thursday 19th February in the village hall. It is so nice to have people from Rye and Peasmarsh joining us .Doors open at 2pm, eyes down at 2.30pm. The prizes are well worth having. There is a flier, and a jackpot, as well as the ordinary books. At half time we have tea [sandwiches and cake, all in for £1] So, all in all it’s not a bad afternoon .Jan and Carol do the raffle and bring much of the tea [angels!] and it’s friendly and fun!

KEEP A LOOK OUT: Melvin Smith, the chairman of the Iden And District Natural History Society, has written an article which appears in February’s ‘Countryman Magazine’. It’s worth buying a copy, because the article is about Ted Catt, an Iden man, who was a founder member of the Iden Natural History Society, way back in 1919. Ted Catt compiled a progressive journal about Iden, which only concluded at his death in 1951. By all accounts [as you will see if you keep a look out for a copy of February’s ‘Countryman’], his writings, and paintings [for he was also an artist], chronicled Iden in days past, often in minute detail. The journal itself has never actually been published , and is kept by Ted Catt’s family. Like most particularly enterprising men, Ted was multi-faceted .He was also an accomplished taxidermist, and during his lifetime, set out to paint all of Britain’s species of bird [this alone took him seven years]. This is just a taster, and Melvin Smith’s article will give in much more detail, the story of this man, who loved nature, and chronicled a bygone age.

NEXT ON THE AGENDA: The Iden And District Natural History Society meets again on February 13th in Iden village hall at 7.30 pm. The lecture will be on ‘Swifts’, and will be given by Edward Mayer. Non-members pay £3 for the evening.

THE IDEN BOOK CLUB: There is more than one book group in Iden, but I can only write. first-hand about my particular book group, which meets monthly in the ‘Old Hall’. I really enjoy the group, and there is a great deal of laughter during the meeting .It’s a funny old thing, a book group though, because one man’s meat is another man’s poison when it comes to books isn’t it?. However, the object of a book group is to read different kinds of books, and to be less of a stick-in- the mud about choice of literature. Discussing a book en masse, leads to all kinds of discussion, and most of us seem to enjoy sharing this common- ground. To analyse why we all favour particular types of book, is to dismantle ourselves, and look into our individual life experiences, as far back as childhood. Children seem to be discerning about literature from a very young age don’t they?. As members of a book group, we may well read a book which is out of our comfort zone, but in between whiles, we will probably always sidle back to the type of book which’ floats our particular boat. We are all such creatures of circumstance, and as such, we all have vastly different expectations of literature, but whether we read a book for escapism, to advance our knowledge, provide humour, or whether a particular author just strikes a cord with us on an emotional level, it makes no odds .I think it’s true to say that no one can question our favourite choice of literature until they have walked a mile in our shoes!

HOW WAS THE MURDER MYSTERY EVENING?: The ‘Murder Mystery evening’, in the village hall on Friday 30th January was a great success. The actors were provided by the ‘Rye Players, who were all excellent. The plot was woven skilfully, [the play was actually written by Del Smith from Rye Players, who played the police inspector]. Everyone enjoyed a fish and chip supper .Only one table guessed who the murderer was, so very well done to them, because it wasn’t easy. Many thanks to the organisers, because, a good time was had by all!

THE MOBILE LIBRARY: This is to be in the village hall car park on Wednesday every three weeks, as follows-;11th February, 4th March, 25th March, 6th May, 27th May and 17th June, between 10.30am, and11.10 am.

WHERE DO ALL THE LOGS COME FROM?: It puzzles me how many log baskets and wood piles there are in Iden, and yet there seem to be just as many trees about. So how do all these logs materialise? Do they just sidle up in the middle of the night, camouflaged in moss like a soldier in combat, or am I just missing whole patches of bald forest .This week we ordered a load of logs, and I was struck by how very different logs are. Some are big, bold lumps, and others are thin and puny and not much more than kindling. Some are shaped like [‘V’ for victory] where the branches joined ,and some are mossy [and deeply creased] The silver birch of course, are glossy and slightly glam. Oh!, there is nothing ‘same old, same old’ about a pile of logs, and they are a constant source of surprise . [I’m going to have to stop observing nature, because it’s sending me round the bend!].

CONTACT ME: If there is anything anyone wishes to add to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [telephone 01-797 280311] and I will gladly include it!

Gill Griffin

Belfield, Main Street