IDEN VILLAGE ASSEMBLY: The Iden Village Assembly, on Thursday, 14th April, was extremely well attended, in fact, the hall was packed to the rafters. Chairman of Iden Parish Council Michael Miller, and Parish Clerk Mary Philo were in attendance, and the whole atmosphere was one unified concern, for Iden. Michael Miller left no stone unturned, in thanking a great many people who have given up their time to keep our village safe, entertained and aesthetically pleasing . He thanked the Footpath Team, the ‘Here To Help Team’, ICE [Iden Community Emergency Forum], Speed Watch, Ray Griffin’s Pop-In, , Bob and Debbie Hammond and the Iden Players for our annual Pantomime, The Shop Association, The Church cleaners and Church flower committee, and those that pick up litter in Iden. Michael put in a plug for Sue White’s jumble sale, in aid of BACE, the Gambian charity, which Sue so staunchly supports [which, did in fact make over £800].He praised the members of Iden Parish council for their support. He thanked Richard Jones and Chris Wood, who have recently resigned from the council, and Welcomed John Hazelden, and Jim Woods, as new members. Michael particularly praised Mary Philo, who as our Parish Clerk, has given her all to help keep Iden’s wheels turning, in a variety of ways. He made a special point of remembering all those people, no longer with us, who have donated land, in which to create and erect many of Iden’s areas of beauty and recreation. He mentioned that Paula Riley, a council member is looking into ways of improving the children’s play area, in Iden playing field. Michael spoke of Christopher Strangeway’s monitary and practical contribution to Iden Stores. Christopher, created the Stores as a community asset. Michael expressed his sadness at the demise of The Iden and Playden Garden Society, and thanked Morris and Yvonne Melcalf, and their committee for years of hard work for the society. Questions during the open forum included the future of ‘The Bell’ public house, the need for an improved Phone signal in Iden, the need for a more considered bus timetable, to allow easier connections between village and coastal bus services, the management of Ash tree disease in Iden, and ways to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in June. Jim Woods and Bill Coleman spoke about the ‘Message in A Bottle’ scheme in Iden, which encourages quick and easy access to questions about a patient’s medication regime etc, for paramedics, in the event of an emergency. [The content of the Village Assembly can be read in full, on our website, or on the village notice board.] Following question-time, residents were treated to a very sumptuous buffet [all prepared by Mary Philo]

AND NOW TO MICHAEL MILLER!: Michael Miller is to stand down as Chairman of the Parish Council in May. He has served his three years, and I’m sure that everyone would agree that his will be very hard shoes to fill. There is no one who cares more about the village of Iden, and I know this, because Michael has never failed to make all aspects of his chairmanship personal. He will always begin meetings by expressing whatever sad, or joyful events have occurred. Michael is always sad, if a villager dies, and will always offer a short eulogy. He knows who is sick, and will always mention those who are particularly unwell. He expresses joy at anything which deserves celebrating, and frustration some times, because where this village is concerned Michael is a perfectionist. He is never short on praise. He had a long and distinguished career in banking, , and at the Assembly, he spoke to us of a time when banking was a lot to do with charitable works. He helped run the Prince’s Trust , in areas in which he worked, so by the time he retired to Iden, he was already steeped in the importance of community spirit, and ready to actively support it .Almost any function in Iden will be attended by Michael, either in a very smart suit, or one of his bright trendy jumpers. He doesn’t just walk in, he ‘breezes’ in with enthusiasm! Michael is very involved in Iden Parish Church, and in the Rye Art Gallery. He will continue as a parish councillor. Michael’s wife Susannah was at the Assembly to see to it that he did actually step down from Chairmanship .Susannah more than anyone knows that before any of us have switched off the alarm, Michael will be sending and receiving e-mails intended for the good of us all. Thank you very much Michael!

MARY PHILO: My first question to Mary Philo, our Parish Clerk, is ‘Mary, can we all come round your house to live’, because she produced a wonderful buffet for the Assembly. [I was sorry that I had spaghetti beforehand.] It was lovely. I don’t suppose Mary wants to look at another daffodil bulb as long as she lives, but every year we will be reminded of her hard work [and that of her team of helpers] because she was responsible for the planting of 2000 bulbs [talk about daffodil-gate!] The village looked wonderful this year because of those golden blooms. The work carried out by the Parish Council, and it’s cost are not always appreciated, because much of it is mundane, [a new bin here, a new gate there etc], but the small, on -going improvements are as important as larger undertakings. A Parish Clerk nowadays is required to attend meetings and seminars, as the council is under so much jurisdiction Mary, as Michael Miller said, has proved to be a great asset to the village.

A TREAT FOR IDEN WI!: On Tuesday 12th April, Iden WI welcomed Madeline Hazelden as our guest speaker, and what a treat it was. Madeline demonstrated the art of felting. She brought along a wonderful array of things she had made, including a jacket, a bag, scarves, and a beautiful collection of pictures, which so exactly portrayed our area of East Sussex. She captured perfectly local landscapes we can see every day, creating them in 3D effect, with a palette of animal wool. Madeline and her husband John keep alpacas, and Madeline creates her masterpieces from their prolific fleece. We were all agog, lining up in hopes of replicating her artistry, but quite honestly, it is not for the faint hearted .It requires stamina and dedication, but if, like Madeline you are blessed with both, the results are a craftsmanship in it’s purest form. Nothing is artificial. Madeline even dyes her work with the likes of onion skins, and other natural stains. She has a great sense of colour, and an appreciation of the work of other artists who produce felt-work. Madeline once owned a gallery of beautiful artefacts, and for many years taught textiles. Even before her talk began, we realised we were in for something special, because she laid out the tools of her trade with such flair and commitment that we knew this was not going to be just any old talk. The whole demonstration was an absolute gem!

A SPECIAL CARD FOR THE QUEEN: Min Bailey from Iden WI painted a beautiful card for the Queen’s birthday. The front portrayed ‘ the Queen Elizabeth rose’. Min is a clever artist, and if I was the queen I would want that card framed and on a wall in the palace, because it is exquisite, and a very personal acknowledgement, for a lady who has ruled us with such dignity.

THE POP-IN: The next Pop-In will be on Monday 2nd May, in Iden village hall, at 11am. Do come along and join us for coffee/tea/biscuits, and a good old Iden get –together.

BINGO: The next Bingo session will be on Thursday 28th April, in Iden village hall. Doors open at 2pm, eyes down at 2.30pm. Everyone from Rye, and all surrounding villages is welcome, for a flier, a jackpot, a raffle and a light tea at half time

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

PHEW! THE BLUEBELLS HAVE REMEMBERED: Thank goodness, the bluebells have remembered to come out in Iden. I picked a few in the garden this morning, along with some pink and white bluebells [surely a contradiction in terms]

I just love bluebells. They vary so much in strength don’t they? Some have strong sturdy stems, and yet others are a little delicate, and look as though they should be left alone to grow stronger [the convalescent bluebell]. Some of the more sturdy cultivated ones seem almost ‘wannabe’ hyacinths. There is nothing quite like being alone with our thoughts in a bluebell wood. That sea of blue, overshadowed by trees, has a hallowed, cloistered ambiance, and we shuffle, to stay upright on slippery bluebell leaves. There is something exciting, almost furtive about being the only human being in that dank dark space .The bluebell’s best friends, the wood anemones, seem to bow towards the earth. They remind me of nuns praying. There is also a tendency for prolific moss, in a bluebell wood, or so it seems to me, covering the woodland floor and fallen trees with what appears to be green velvet. There are always beech leaves too, breaking out into bright green leafage.------ I’d better go this is beginning to sound a bit like ‘ Cider With Rosie’!

CONTACT ME: If you have anything you would like me to add to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [telephone 01-797 280311]

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