Peter and Valerie Miles,

It was nice to see and hear recently from Ruby, our Village Voice for over twenty years. She updated us on the latest meeting of Mountfield Lunch Club. As so often at this time of year, numbers were depleted by holidays so only seven diners met at Leeford Place for an excellent and companionable lunch. Special mention went to their waitress, Jessie. The next lunch should be Monday, September 2 — confirmed details nearer the time.

Here is Pete’s report on last Sunday’s Foot Scurry:

“It was a colourful scene at the start and the weather was, by recent standards, not too hot. The field quickly stretched out from the frontrunners back to the game and cheerful stragglers. Kent Lane was looking glorious in its summer finery but everyone quickly discovered that the route is almost entirely uphill from the foot of the drive opposite the church for all five miles to Brightling Park. I must admit that I brought up the rear most of the way and only overtook the tail-enders in the final mile or so. I was a little breathless when I got to Brightling but I put that down to the change in altitude and had no difficulty parking. At the finish line, the runners were greeted with tea, BBQ and sudden lashings of rain. Congratulations are due to Hannah Taylor for the considerable and immaculate organisation which, it has to be said, deserved much better support on the day.”

The Mountfield Club has been chosen as the venue to host the Hurst Green & District Snooker Summer league final. The match will be Battle v Cramp which should be a very entertaining match between two of Division One’s finest teams and players.

With the new Winter League season just over a month away, the Mountfield Club is always on the look out for new snooker players. If you fancy playing, please get in touch with Steve Smith at the Club. The recent darts & BBQ evening event was well attended and successful. Forthcoming events include a Charity Darts Evening and a Family Quiz Night on 28th September.

Out and about on our travels the other week, we ran into Richard Ely who was offloading from his pick-up one of the most attractive garden benches we have seen. In the course of the conversation, we learned that Mountfield has an extremely talented green woodworker. Richard designs and makes garden products – gates, benches, chairs, pergolas, arches, you name it – from sweet chestnut cut from coppiced woodland at the Normanhurst Estate in Catsfield. He also works out of Powdermill Wood, Battle, where he cuts sweet chestnut and mixed hardwoods for fencing and firewood. In addition, he makes charcoal and produces very fine indoor furniture from oak, ash and elm.

After completing a biology degree, Richard started working in organic horticulture in Somerset but after a few years decided that coppicing offered more seasonal variation as well as much greater creative scope. He trained and worked with Mike Abbott in Herefordshire, where he picked up his furniture-making skills using traditional hand tools, and also with Ben Law in West Sussex, learning other coppice crafts — in both cases, living in the woods for months at a time. Richard moved to this area in 2006 and has been building up his business since then.

His website,, gives full details of everything he makes and sells. You can buy directly from him – and he will also make to your own designs if you wish. You can see examples of his outdoor furniture for sale at Great Park Farm shop, Catsfield, and Powdermill Wood and Hope Cottage Farm shop, Hooe. Firewood (for both wood burners and open fires) can be bought direct, as can the charcoal though that is also available from a number of local farm shops, including our very own Poppinghole Farm Shop.

Richard also teaches courses in greenwood work and gives pole-lathe and greenwood working demonstrations at country shows, the next one being The Weald Woodfair at Bentley Wildfowl Museum near Lewes from 20 to 22 September. You can reach Richard on 07890 375 282 or via website. Take a look – it’s very impressive.

You know where we are: or 880614 (evenings).