FAMILY BONFIRE: This was a roaring success which made up for the disappointment last year. Unlike then, the weather this year couldn’t have been more perfect and, indeed, coincided with the warmest Halloween on record. There were over three hundred people through the gate and takings of over a thousand pounds which certainly repays all the efforts of the VHC members. There were also a good number of folk from outside the village which confirms the event’s reputation as the premier local family bonfire bash.

BARBARA VALENTINE: We omitted to mention last week that Barbara Valentine and members of Mountfield Community Arts are holding their annual exhibition at Bodiam Castle this weekend, that is on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of November. There will be a wonderful selection of paintings to look at and, possibly, buy. It’s not too soon to think about Christmas presents, and what could be a better present than a portrait of yourself to give to a loved one? Barbara will be doing quick watercolour portraits of visitors, their children and their dogs, throughout the exhibition, in exchange for a donation to St. Michaels Hospice. They will be there each day from around 9.00 am until it gets dark about 4.00 pm or a bit later.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY: We fear we gave the impression that this was last Sunday so, to clarify, each of the three parishes (Mountfield, Brightling and Netherfield) will be holding their own Remembrance services this Sunday, starting at five minutes before the eleventh hour, this Sunday, November the 9th. A final reminder too that on Sunday, there will be a Concert of Remembrance at 6.00 pm at St Mary’s Church, Salehurst featuring music, poetry and prose performed by local choirs as well as musicians and guest performers from the world of stage and TV. Entrance £5.00 on the door in aid of the church and the British Legion.

SUPER SLOW BROADBAND: We first mentioned this in last week’s Village Voice. In a nutshell, it would seem that only a fifth of the village will be able to get SuperFast Broadband, about half will get a significant improvement but not SuperFast Broadband speeds, and the rest are likely to receive no improvement whatsoever which is grim for some residents who are struggling with speeds as low as 0.5Mbps which is, quite simply, untenable. We should add two further points. First, many of us may think that, actually, we do not need all these extra Mbps. That may be true for some of us for now, but just as soon as SuperFast Broadband becomes the norm across the towns and cities of the UK — and that is coming true right now, every single web site, web page and internet document will take advantage of that capacity and fill it. To use an analogy, once upon a time, the planned three lane London Orbital road was derided as a white elephant. The second it was built, the take up immediately exceeded the capacity and extra lanes needed to be added. The second point is that this isn’t just a Mountfield scandal. It will prove just as true for every other village in rural Sussex. It’s just that Mountfield is one of the first of the rural villages in East Sussex to receive it. As we file this column, the first whispers are being heard that central government will announce further funds necessary to reach the “8% to 5%” who cannot currently get SuperFast Broadband (i.e. most people outside of the towns and cities). And County have just announced a consultation on how to go about making up the shortfall. We need to make sure we are strongly represented and that we get the final fix as soon as possible. So…

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Mountfield Parih Council and some local residents are on the case. They need to establish exactly what broadband access speeds different areas of the village are getting. Does Eatenden lane get the same as Hoath Hill? Does Vinehall get the same as Johns Cross? How about the church/village hall area? Or Glottenham?And so on. It would be helpful therefore to receive readings from different locations. If you put “check broadband speed” into Google, you will be offered a range of options such as Broadband Speed Checker or BT’s own version. Please email your results to the Village Voice at the email address below. Thanks.

MOUNTFIELD CLUB: We didn’t put in any Club news last week as, somehow, it took more than twelve hours for Steve Smith’s email to finally make it, panting and gasping, into our inbox. Which is infuriating, particularly as they had plans in support of the Family Bonfire, but it does at least give us a cue to thank Steve for his weekly reports of Club events and results. He works hard for the Club and provides us with good workable copy. Talking of which, the Club’s snooker team had a break from league action last week when they had a cup match away to Burwash A. Thanks to wins for Pete Last, Kevin Gray and Andy Saunders, Mountfield were comfortable 3-0 winners and they move into the next round. More events from the club will be announced soon.

THE LUNCH CLUB: It was nice to hear from Ruby this week when she phoned to say that there had been nine diners at the Lunch Club on November 3rd. It was held at Leeford Place which looked after them as well as ever. Good food and good company.

FINALLY: We were sad to see that the young liquidambar tree at the west end of the village hall copped it the other night. We don’t think it was anything untoward, just one of those chunky squalls that came through on Monday. At a quick glance (it was still chucking it down), it looks as though it snapped at the graft so maybe something on its own roots next time. Mind you, we have always thought that it was a bit too large and too close to the Village Hall, particularly as they can be a bit brittle. Just look at the size of the one on the corner of Hoath Hill.

How to get in touch: If you’ve anything for the Village Voice, we are on 880614 or via

Peter and Valerie Miles