A TEA TOWEL FOR CHRISTMAS: My daughter always buys me tea towels for a Christmas stocking present, because she knows I have a thing about tea towels. It may sound mundane, but they are very useful aren’t they? From the very first day tea cloths begin to create their own history (I love them). To begin with, they are almost too pristine, so I leave them in a drawer for a few months, afraid to use them. Then of course, comes a day when I throw all kinds of caution to the wind and I begin to break them in. Slowly, I familiarise myself with them, enamoured of their bright, unspoiled newness. I place them at the top of the drawer, so that anyone peeking in can see that I’m a woman of some standards (heaven preserve us if they saw some of my old relics). I use my best ones to cover sandwiches in the village hall. In fact the village hall tea towels, and my old tea towels don’t actually mix (there is a bit of the upstairs, downstairs hierarchy about them) and yet my old tea towels have had time to worm their way into my affection over the years. The more faded and jaded they become, the more threadbare and pathetic, the more I value them. Oh it takes a very long time before they are banished to the garage to clean the car, or used as a floor cloth. Their patterns become so faded that I can barely remember their original Christmas day perfection. Were they initially floral, or Italian-looking, sporting jars of olive oil and lemons? (Without my glasses, I can’t tell). But the reason for my regard is simple, they have been my companions in the kitchen, day after day, buffing up the kettle, drying a pan, getting something hot out of the oven. Dare I say that we have become friends, me, and these over-washed, over-bleached, over boiled rectangles. Most certainly they have. They have witnessed my culinary triumphs and disasters, selflessly mopping up all those kitchen spills and in the process have lost their own bloom of youth, so getting a new tea towel or two at Christmas doesn’t mean that I discard the old ones. I mean, come on, fair’s fair

THANK YOU LANDGATE WI: Last week, Landgate WI celebrated their 30 year birthday and they invited members from surrounding villages to join in their celebrations. It was a jolly party, lovely food, and a very nice cake. Visitors from surrounding WI’s were made very welcome. A gentleman entertained us playing guitar and harmonica, and sang amusing songs that we could all relate too. We all enjoyed ourselves. Thank you Landgate.

TRAVELLING CRIB: This Sunday is Advent Sunday, the beginning of a period of preparation for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Between now and Christmas a travelling crib will journey round our village to symbolise a journey that Mary and Joseph undertook from Nazareth to Bethlehem, via Iden. They need to find suitable lodgings on their way. Would you like to offer them somewhere to stay on one or two nights? When the crib with the figures of Mary and Joseph are brought to you there is a short ceremony of greeting and lighting a candle at the place where the figures will stay while they are with you; prayers may be said using the prayer sheet provided. The new hosts might like to offer some seasonal refreshment.

There is a list in the shop for you to sign up for the night or nights you are able to offer Mary and Joseph on their journey. When the list is complete you will be able to see who is bringing the crib to you and to whom you have to take the crib on the next stage of Mary and Joseph’s journey. You can arrange to do this at a mutually agreed time. This little ceremony is a good way of reminding ourselves of the Christmas story and being a part of it

TONIGHT IN THE VILLAGE HALL: There will be a lecture tonight, at the Iden and District Natural Society meeting, at 7.30pm. The lecture, entitled Ferns, will be given by Paul Ripley. Anyone who wishes to attend will be most welcome. Visitors pay £3.

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: There will be a service of Holy Communion at Iden Parish Church, at 9.30am, this Sunday (29 November).

THE POP-IN: The next Pop-In will be on Monday 7 December, at 11am, in Iden village hall. Do come along, and enjoy as many cups of coffee/tea as you want, buy some bric-a-brac and have a good old pre- Christmas chat.

BINGO: The next Bingo session will be on Thursday 10 November in Iden village hall. Doors open at 2pm, Eyes down at 2.30pm. Anyone from the Rye area and surrounding villages is welcome. It’s a fun afternoon. A light tea is served, and there is a raffle, a jackpot, a flier and as many Bingo books as you can manage. Do come along and join us.

YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL: It’s nearly time for the pantomime auditions (Oh no it isn’t - Oh yes it is). Bob Hammond is holding pantomime auditions on December 6, at 2.30pm, in Iden village hall .Come along all you thespians, they need people for parts in Cinderella. It’s good fun, and great camaraderie.

SLIM PICKINGS: I have Christmas pretty well sewn up. The cards are written, the decorations are up, the tree is ready for switch on, the presents are wrapped, and the food shopping is done, minus perishables, but here I fall down (badly). What we need is Nigella to pop in and do a bit of cooking (a tray or two hors d’oeuvres would be lovely) either that or maybe I should contact the council for Meals on Wheels (or what about going on-line to Diet chef), because I am so busy being knee-deep in wrapping paper that the meals in this house a week or two before Christmas are nothing to write home about. We only just narrowly avoid scurvy and beri beri, (there is not much nourishment in a chip butty). No problem with the Christmas fare itself, I’ve been planning that for weeks (I’ve even got fifty rashers of bacon for everyone’s Boxing Day breakfast), but the trouble is I am no super woman. I should have labelled Tupperware in the freezer for the build-up to Christmas, but I don’t. (Thank goodness for eggs and baked beans), because like everyone else we are hither and thither at Christmas time, umpteen carol services, present exchanges, shopping (presents alone have to be exactly right don’t they?) ‘Just get them anything’, my husband says, but I can’t. ‘Pete doesn’t like licorice allsorts’ I’ll say, and he’ll say ‘who’s Pete?’ I can’t blame him, the poor man’s brains are probably addled. What he needs is a three course meal, something really substantial (but I’m hiding behind the Christmas tree).

CONTACT ME: If anyone has anything to add to the Village Voice, please contact Gill Griffin (telephone 01797 280311).

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