HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: The Society’s annual outing this year will be to Capel Manor Gardens on Sunday July 12th. The site is centred on a Georgian Manor House with Victorian stables and boasts no fewer than 60 different themed gardens over the 30 acre site so it promises to be quite a day out and more than worth the journey. The final cost has yet to be decided but for bookings and enquiries, contact either Celia on 880458 or Deirdre on 881791. (We’ve checked the weather and it’ll be fine.)

A STRAWBERRY TEA: Mandy Sutton rang to say that, having done the Race for Life in aid of Marie Curie for the last five years, she has decided to ring the changes so this year she is holding a grand and elegant Strawberry Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Care on Saturday 25th July at 2, Yew Tree Cottages. All welcome. And one of the reasons for the early notice is in case you have anything suitable for donating to the raffle — a Porsche, a private organ recital by Jackie (second prize, two recitals by Jackie…), whatever — let Mandy know on 880916 or pop in to Mandy and Steve’s. (We’ve checked the weather for this too. Fine!)

RIVERHALL CROSSING: Network Rail booked the Village Hall on the evening of Wednesday June 10th for a drop-in session. It didn’t take too long before a problem emerged. There’s no discernable problem with the Riverhall Crossing but the current design mean that the crossing on the London Road (A2100) will be down for as long as three minutes rather than the present 30 seconds or so. At certain times of day, three minutes is quite long enough for northbound traffic to back up to the tip and the Mine Road where there are already problems, particularly when they stop access to the tip to allow the big trucks to empty the containers. Network Rail got the message from local folk in no uncertain terms and were asked to go away for a rethink. The final dates for the work have yet to be decided — but it will rain coldly throughout.

MOUNTFIELD CLUB: The snooker team was away to Hawkhurst last week in the Summer Snooker League and recorded a very impressive 5–0 victory. Colin Elmes won the first frame and Kevin Gray soon made it 2–0. To confirm victory, Steve Smith won the third frame 58-43 to give the club a 3–0 lead on the night. With the doubles match counting as two points, this also went to Mountfield with Colin Elmes and Kevin Gray winning to make the score on the night Hawkhurst 0 – Mountfield 5. If you are interested in playing for any of the Club’s snooker teams, please contact Steve Smith on 07720 298971.

FINALLY: What a privilege, coming back along the lane, to see a pair of buzzards lazily wheeling in a thermal over Rock Cottage. That simply never happened even twelve years ago. Then I remember the odd buzzie drifting across from the Downs towards Ashburnham. Next, out beating one day, one slid across the central woods of the Estate. And now we see them every day. During that same period we’ve also seen the kestrel virtually disappear and the sparrow hawk increase proportionally. There were always kestrels over the old junction where John’s Cross roundabout is now but they never seemed to return after the roundabout was put in despite the apparently perfect hunting grounds. And now, apparently, we have red kites moving our way from the Downs. So much migration of birds, beasts (boar, recently) — and, on every news bulletin, people.

CONTACT: As ever, if you have anything for the Village Voice, we can be contacted on 880614 or via

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