JEAN HOLLAND: Jackie Spriggs writes: And what a glorious Easter it was! We were a bit disappointed that there was no service here in All Saints, Mountfield — the usual ladies had worked their floral art magic in bringing back to life what had been a very empty looking space for the forty days and forty nights of Lent: a real burst of yellow spring glory.

So the Mountfield and Netherfield congregations joined forces at Brightling for a full house — someone counted 154 adults and 8 children. It was certainly shoulder to shoulder, and what an enjoyable service it was.

For the organist, Jean Holland, it was a poignant day: her last service as organist at Brightling after sixty years. A big cake with an effigy of Jean at the organ had been made for her, she received a pressy, and we all sang ‘For she’s a jolly good fellow.’

Rev’d Ann-Marie, as usual, gave us a thought provoking homily on the events leading up to the Resurrection, ending with the good advice that we cannot change what has happened in the past but to let go of grievances in order to deal more considerately with situations in the future. Then we were invited to stay for sherry and cakes. Thank you Brightling for your hospitality!

LOUIS DODD – VOYAGE: We thought it would be interesting to get a mariner’s eye view of this major exhibition so we asked Nick Holden (R.N. retd.) for his view and he has sent us this review: Chris and I popped down to the Hastings Museum a few days ago to see the brilliant work of marine artist Louis Dodd which is being exhibited there until 7th June and what a treat it was. This exhibition is the first time that his paintings have been shown together and demonstrates the depth and breadth of his work. His unique technique is based on the Old Masters and brings to life the people, locations and a variety of vessels that he chose for his subjects.

I was particularly taken by the exquisite technical detail of the Racing Yachts competing between the two world wars. The agility of the crews, the trim of the sails and the atmosphere created by the sea and sky took you to the event. Similarly competitive are the Dragon Boats off Macao with the fine detail of crew and boat construction. From Warships to Royal Yachts, from Whale Ships to Tea Clippers, Louis Dodd takes you from Hong Kong to the Arctic on a Voyage to be remembered. Do go and see it.

GOING TO POT: Chris Holden writes: The Village Hall Committee are still hoping to make a lovely show of pots and hanging baskets around the outside of the hall for this summer. Following advice from the Horticultural Society, the date for getting together to plant them up has been changed from Sunday April 19th to Sunday May 31st. By then home grown plants should be ready for putting out so please spare us a few and drop them off at the hall or contact Chris Holden for collection. (For planning purposes it would be very helpful to know if you are intending to contribute.) 01580 389053 Thank you.

REMINDERS: Just the one this week re Pete’s walks in support of church funds. He will be repeating this walk on the Sunday mornings of April 26th and May 3rd. Although the walk only covers a small area of Mountfield (about two miles), each walk will last just over three hours and will cover woodland archaeology, medieval earthworks (including “the castle”), other industrial remains, woodland craft, local botany including a very rare plant and an even rarer tree, foraging (with recipes), and more. All hugely interesting but always, above all, fun. The cost is £7.50 per person towards All Saints, Mountfield. To book, or for more details, contact Peter on or 01580 880 614.

PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS: There will be no need to vote for parish councillors on May 7th as there were exactly the same number of nominations as there are seats so it is an uncontested election. This not only avoids anyone being disappointed, it also avoids the cost of holding an election which is currently over two grand. (Yes, you read that right.)

Two of the existing councillors decided not to stand again. Paul Last will be missed as he brought a lifelong knowledge of the parish, a passionate commitment to the village and also acted as valuable point of liaison with BG. He contacted both the chairman and clerk to notify them of his decision as well as to assure everyone of his continued support for the council. His intention is to stand again when work and family commitments give him more time.

Our two new councillors will be Steve Rickman-Smith who lives next to M&W School and John Snuggs who lives next to him! Both Steve and John have been stalwart attenders and contributors at council meetings for the last couple of years so it will be good to bring their commitment into the fold. The other council members remain Mark Hardy, Caroline Hollamby, Peter Miles, Sue O’Sullivan and Jim Ray.

FINALLY: We wrote last week of what a year it is for primroses. Well we have since found what we thought was a species of orchid as yet unknown to science, which we had intended to name Orchis villagevoicii in honour of our readers but it turns out to be toothwort (Lathraea squamata). A sight completely new to us — and very odd they are too: a naked, leafless, rather rude shape, pushing through the topsoil. If you are into such things, look it up; it’s truly weird. As ever, if you have anything for the Village Voice, or want to book or discuss one of Pete’s walks, we can be contacted on 880614 or via

Peter and Valerie Miles