A DAMPNESS IN THE AIR: Autumn is wrapping itself around us like a blanket that needs a good ‘airing’. There is that slight dampness in the air, and a chill that nudges summer out of the way, almost as though it’s whispering, “It’s autumn’s turn now, you’ve had your go” We order logs and begin to hunker down in the evenings.. Memories of school assemblies always come flooding back to me during autumn., more than at any other time, probably because it seemed a betwixt and between time. It was post summer, and yet not quite winter, a time to sing ‘We Plough The Fields And Scatter’ and ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful. Everyone was pressed together in the school hall, hymn books raised. Our shoes would still be wet with the morning’s dew, and the boy’s pockets bulged with conkers.

There is so much to cram into a school’s agenda at the best of times, and teachers have their work cut out to instil tradition, so that children develop a life-long appreciation of, Harvest Festival, Halloween, Guy Fawkes, and Christmas. Murals of autumn leaves, ghouls, fireworks and snowmen follow each other in staggered succession, ready to line classroom walls. That art work is so significant. Winter is long and arduous, but it’s broken up by these totally different celebrations, and children’s minds are steeped in them like a preserving syrup, so that everyone grows up taking these festivities on board. Each celebration whips us all into a crescendo of activity .They soften the harshness of impending winter and winter itself. We cannot just sail merrily along without being tripped up by the intricacies of all these end of year celebrations, and thank heaven’s for them, because otherwise, wouldn’t life be dull?

ANGELA: This week, on Tuesday, 29th September, the funeral took place of Angela Swaine. A family service at Hastings crematorium, was followed by a memorial service at Iden Parish Church. The church was packed. Angela was loved and highly regarded by so many people..

Angela was born in Iden, the daughter of Kathy and Charlie Bull, and although she married Mick, moved to Camber, and had her beloved family, Angela was at heart an Iden girl, and constantly wore a pathway between Camber and Iden, visiting her many friends. Many people will remember Angela working as a receptionist at Rye Medical Centre. They will remember her from Iden WI, her art group, and Iden Book Club, always smiling, always full of fun, and always enamoured by whatever was happening around her. Angela died after a short, harrowing illness, and. I thought about something fitting that I could say, to those that loved her, and my only consolation is, to look rather than at her past few months, at the life she’d lived, and the person she was.

I had only known Angela for a few short years, but I knew her well enough to say that she exuded happiness and zest for life, and there is no greater epitaph.. There are few people that I can think of that seemed to wring so much enjoyment out of life. Mention a book, and Angela would probably have read it, a film, and she would probably have seen it, a person she met only once or twice, and she would have some kind of empathy for them. She had a palpable intelligence, and she was a very gifted artist. She painted beautifully, and she sewed beautifully, but her greatest gift was how she interacted with people. She charmed everyone with her ever-present smile. .Only a deeply happy person can find some kind of joy in every nook and cranny, and that was Angela, and for family and friends, who are trying make sense of her recent illness, I hope that your thoughts will be interrupted by a vision of Angela laughing with you, and because of you. She will be smiling still, because Angela had faith, and I feel sure that she has found a very significant peace.

Our love, and thoughts go to Angela’s husband Michael [Mick], her daughter Helena, her son Mark, and her grandchildren-, Poppy, Evie, Arthur, Louie and Noah.

A HARVEST CELEBRATION: Tomorrow [3rd October], and Sunday [4th October], there will be an ‘Arts And Crafts Fair, in the Old Hall, by Iden Parish Church. [Saturday 12 midday-5pm, and Sunday [11am-4pm] After which we can drift along to the Church to see the Autumn flowers. The arts and crafts will be on sale [proceeds go towards church repairs]

THE HARVEST SUPPER: Tomorrow evening [3rd October], the Harvest supper is being held in Iden village hall at 7.30pm. [tickets may still be available in Iden Stores] This is always a happy occasion. The food is simple, warming and plentiful, as befits harvest Dan Tyrell, will entertain us with his very intriguing conjuring.

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: Our Harvest Holy Communion service in Iden Parish Church, will be on Sunday 4th October, at 9.30am. There will be coffee and biscuits in the ‘Old Hall’ after the service.

A BIG THANK YOU: Our thanks go to quizmaster John Harrison, Chancellor of the misdemeanour’s bucket Paul Parsons, score-master Ray Griffin, Mick and Jane, who helped generally, ticket-tout, Pat Buckland, and raffle administrator Mandy Parsons, for all their help, in making the recent village quiz such fun, and such a success! A big thank you also to Dean, our fish and chip man, who always comes up trumps!

IDEN AND PLAYDEN GARDEN SOCIETY: There will be a talk in Iden village hall on Monday 16th November, entitled’ The Plant Hunters’. This illustrated talk given by Stephen Harmer starts at 7.30pm. All are welcome. Members pay £1 and non-members £2

IDEN AND DISTRICT NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY: Next Friday [October 9th] will be the first of the winter programmes, held in Iden village hall at 7.30pm.The first lecture will be Teilhard de Chardin [part 1], and Local geology update[ part2] ,given by Ken Brooks. Membership is a minimum of £14 [subscription fee], and visitors pay £3 per lecture. Refreshments are available. Everyone is welcome. The standard of lectures is very high.

THE POP-IN: Monday mornings are best spent in the company of friends, so do come along to the Pop-In, in Iden village hall, on Monday 12th October at 11am. There is coffee/tea, biscuits, books and bric-a –brac. It’s very lively, and nice to catch up on all the Iden news!

BINGO: The next Bingo session is on Thursday 15th October in Iden village hall. Doors open at 2pm, eyes down at 2,30pm. It’s a lot of fun, open to anyone in the Rye area, and there is a flier, a jackpot, a raffle, and as many Bingo books as you can manage. Tea, sandwiches and cakes are served at half time!

WORRIED ABOUT THE BABY: Well, not a baby at all really, but it might as well be. What I’m talking about is my home-made bread. Bread-making has never been my forte, and making it makes me over-protective, like caring for a baby. ‘Am I killing the yeast,’ I wonder, by having the dough too hot or too cold. I keep feeling it to see if it’s warm enough [just like I did as a young Mum!] I turn the central heating up [this little loaf is costing us an arm and a leg] I peek at it to see if it’s ‘proving’, but unlike myself, it seems to be having trouble doubling it’s size! I don’t put the salt next to the yeast [apparently they don’t get on], I worry constantly about this dough-ball. ‘Is this all worth it’, I think, after all a loaf is only about a pound, and I’m thinking about my sanity! However, I now have a mixer with a dough-hook [it looks like something out of ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’], and lo and behold, I think I’ve finally cracked it. I’ve found it a little warming drawer away from draughts, and I made a loaf that actually resembles bread. My husband likes it. We both have another slice. I do believe my whole life has changed because of some dried yeast and a dough-hook! Maybe I’m not such a failure, I’ve nurtured a white, seeded, cottage loaf and it’s sleeping through the night!

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

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