Peter and Valerie Miles,

At the time of writing this, the forecast shows a few days clear of rain so perhaps the Rother will begin to calm down. Friday last week, we saw the channels under Robertsbridge bypass rise a foot in little more than an hour, which shows the state of the ground. Anyway, here we are back in the swim and we start with a report from Jackie:

“After the wind and the rain it was a joy to travel to Netherfield Church for the United Service on Christmas Morning in bright sunshine! The singing was lusty and we were treated to an excellent homily by our newly licenced Priest-in-Charge, Reverend Anne-Marie Crosse, who had already conducted the Midnight Mass at Brightling Church.

“Having been the wife of a clergyman, and also being the organist of his two churches in those days, I can attest to the fine timing needed to juggle the services and putting a festive meal on the table for visiting relatives. I recall one Christmas when already having done the service at Netherfield we managed a quick visit home to check that the turkey was on track, then to Mountfield Church for another service. Just as my husband climbed into the pulpit I remembered I had not put The Pudding on to cook… PANIC!… and no mobile phones in those days to contact house guests. So… off the organ stool, down the organ loft stairs, climb over the lawn-mower, out of the west door, record-breaking sprint across the churchyard (I was much younger then), leapt through the hole in the hedge, hurtled past astonished late breakfasters, pudding into saucepan, orders to breakfasters to keep pudding simmering, returning sprint back to organ loft and leaping, panting, and heart hammering onto the organ stool just as the sermon finished… phew… disaster averted!”

Last Sunday, David Chaplin conducted the Family Service for Epiphany (the coming of the wise men) in Mountfield Church. David, who was head of Vinehall School for many years, was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours for his work among the destitute and underprivileged in western Rwanda. There was a long piece about him in last week’s Battle Observer (January 3, page 4). If you missed it and have the right connections, you can find it at

Here is Vicky Staley’s report of the Christmas party:

“A great time was had by over 30 Mountfield children at this year’s Christmas Tree Party. Entertainment was provided by Uncle Bumble who started off with face painting followed by dancing and games. There was a craft table full of activities and plenty of balloons to bounce around plus Uncle Bumble made balloon animals for each child to take home. After a party tea, before which our new vicar very kindly said grace, the sound of sleigh bells heralded a very special visitor: Father Christmas!

“The excited children each received a gift and some chocolate from Father Christmas and after some final games and dancing we all braved the weather home. A huge thanks to all the parents who brought along their children on a very wet and windy afternoon and particularly those who abandoned cars and made their way on foot to avoid the tree that had fallen across the road. Special thanks to Sarah and Amy for setting up, making sarnies and blowing up huge amounts of balloons. Thanks also to Caroline and the Village Hall Committee for decorating the hall and tree so festively.”

Sgt. Paul Masterson has been in touch to say that plans have not been finalised for Chris Dewitt’s successor as our PCSO so, in the meantime, PCSO Ruth Seal will be looking after Mountfield and the suburb of Brightling. She can be contacted on 07901 715967 or (Talking of Brightling, we should say that it has moved up in the world a bit as they now get to look after our new vicar for us.)

One date for your diaries: next Tuesday, January 14, MPC meets at the Village Hall at 7.30 pm. As ever, everyone is welcome and the meeting will start the usual adjournment during which any member of the public may raise questions or matters of concern. Items on the agenda include the proposed new sewerage scheme/plant for parts of the village, new village noticeboard, various planning and enforcement issues and the apparently eternal question of the parlous state of the lanes in our village. The full agenda is on the village website and the noticeboard outside the village hall.

You know where we are: 880614 (evenings) or