Peter and Valerie Miles,

A bad start to last week up at British Gypsum. When they went to turn on the conveyor, they found they had no power as 100 metres of copper cable had been nicked, probably on Saturday 10th. How do a couple of likely lads rustle five grands’ worth of cable out to a vehicle somewhere on Kent Lane without being seen? If you have any information, contact PCSO Emma Philips on 07795 301898.

It has taken a quiet week — the summer is winding down to the start of the new school term — to make us realise that this column has not reported the events of June 26. That was the day that over 500 guests were invited to The Banks here in Mountfield and made their way along the lane for a Grand Garden Party. You may — just —have missed the occasion as it took place in 1875 so it’s a bit like the 60s: if you can remember it, you weren’t there.

The guests were invited by Sir John Bennett, then resident at The Banks. Those from London were conveyed on a special train “of eleven first-class carriages and five splendid saloons drawn by two powerful engines”. So much like South East Trains today.

When all the guests had detrained, the procession of guests that set off from Battle was reported to be a mile long. The Mayor and Sheriffs of London and the Mayor and Corporation of Hastings were accompanied by, among others, the Band of the Coldstream Guards, the State Trumpeters of the City of London, bands from two local volunteer regiments, mounted Metropolitan policemen, local police, an escort of the Battle Rifle Volunteers, plus the usual everyday mace bearers, standard bearers and state coaches. Sir John was determined his guests should enjoy the rustic charms of the surrounding countryside so the guests were subjected to a scenic route which, as one guest observed, “would have been charming could we have moved at any rate more lively than the pace of a meditative tortoise”. The weather was cold and damp, the guests became weary and hungry, and “there were moments when one felt that life was too short for such things”.

When they finally arrived at The Banks, the slap up meal was followed by speeches, “rambles in the shrubbery” and “dancing on the lawn”. We are confident that the logistics of feeding so many guests (and servants, bandsmen, macebearers, etc), the transport arrangements, the watering of so many horses, not to mention the parking arrangements, and so on would not be beyond the talents of Mark and Katie Wyatt (who now live at The Banks) should they decide on a re-enactment for the 140th anniversary.

There was a similar occasion more recently, though without the Coldstream Guards, when the final of the Hurst Green & District Snooker Summer League took place at the Club. In an epic match, Cramp took the final frame to beat Battle 3-2. With the new snooker season only a few weeks away, Mountfield Club has arranged some home friendlies against Benenden (Monday, August 19), Etchingham (Tuesday, September 3), and Battle (Monday, September 9). The Club is also running a new open snooker tournament which is open to both members and non-members. The tournament will be based on a scoring handicap system, giving lesser players a chance to progress. All matches will be the best of 1 frame. There will be a £1.50 entry fee to all players and all entries need to be in by 12th September. There will be trophies and medals awarded for the finalist. If you are interested in taking part, please either email the club at or call Steve Smith on 07720 298971.

Finally, a quick round up of dates for your diaries. This Sunday (August 25), the Cricket Club has a derby match against Netherfield, 1.30, KGV Field. The next Brightling Market will be from 10.00-12.00 on Saturday, August 31. And the next Mountfield Lunch Club date is Monday, September 2 — usual time and place so call Ruby to confirm if you can make it.

As ever, we are at, or on 880614 — and we have a letterbox.