BACK ON LINE: Last week’s headline said it all: “Absolute disgrace”. (I suspect a lot of people may have read the headline and assumed it referred to the two rogues in the picture below.) We now know that everyone was reconnected with the outside world by end of play on Wednesday (8th). The Openreach engineers, when they did finally arrive were professionalism itself and did a fine job. BT on the other hand is a different matter. If the involvement of the CEO himself can’t produce a better response than we got, then BT remains a lost cause. There was a time when the British Rail ticket collector, fag in corner of mouth, who slammed the barrier in your face was the epitome of the Great British Jobsworth (“More than my job’s worth, mate…”) but most rail employees today could teach BT a thing or two. What a thought! But there are a couple of other thoughts.

First, Eatenden and Solomon’s Lanes were reconnected after eight days and a helluva stink. What would have happened without the helluva stink? Don’t forget that Michael Mayers was told that BT “hoped” to finish the work by the 13th, i.e. fourteen days later — and that’s with BT employees picking dates out of a hat. The second uncomfortable thought here is that BT is the partner that East Sussex County Council has selected to deliver our next generation of broadband connectivity. It’s enough to make you weep.

WEDDING NEWS: Jackie Spriggs, our wedding correspondent, writes: A year of planting and sowing, planning and designing came to fruition last Saturday when All Saints, Mountfield, was filled to capacity with friends and relatives who had flown in from Australia, Mexico, Antigua, France, and The Hague, or had travelled from Scotland, Cumbria, Wales and slightly nearer round and about to celebrate the marriage of Isobel Bidwell, daughter of Adrian and Gussy Bidwell of Mountfield, to Tom How, son of Mr and Mrs How of Wales — and what a wonderful truly home-grown (quite literally) wedding it was.

For the past five years Adrian and Gussy have been clearing, taming and restoring the Walled Garden at the Court and, since Isobel and Tom announced their engagement a year ago, have been growing all the flowers and foliage for the arrangements which filled the church with a glorious profusion of colours arranged by an aunt and cousins of the bride. A large part of the Walled Garden was also prepared and planted with drifts of flowers and grasses to encompass the marquee where the reception was held.

Isobel walked on her father’s arm down the aisle to ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,’ as had her mother and aunts in their time (something of a family tradition), with two friends and two small girls in attendance to greet Tom, whom she had met on an 11.45pm train from Charing Cross! There were four very meaningful hymns — Love Divine, Jerusalem, I Vow to Thee My Country, and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer — all sung with the greatest gusto. The marriage was conducted by Rev’d Ann-Marie Crosse, and during the signing of the registers two cousins performed a beautiful folk song with a floral theme ‘Banks of Sweet Primroses’ accompanied by guitar.

The new Mr and Mrs How then recessed to the Trumpet Voluntary by John Stanley, and were showered in dried rose petals before we all made our way on foot to the enveloping Walled Garden for the celebrations which culminated in a firework display, and several of the younger guests camping in the garden. Thus ended a joyful wedding day in true country style. And many blessings on Isobel and Tom for their future together.

REMINDERS: Just two ongoing reminders. First, Mandy’s grand Stawberry Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Care will be held at 2, Yew Tree Cottages (just along from the church) on Saturday 25th. Delicious tea, raffle and a good cause. And on the same day, right next door, will be Mountfield Horticultural Society’s Flower Show. Doors will open at 2.30 with the prize-giving due to start at around 4.15. Schedules of all the classes are available from Celia Morris at 9, Hoath Hill (880458) or Sue Kennedy at 13, Eatenden Lane (880310). Never mind pub crawls, the 25th is an opportunity for a short but fun-filled event crawl.

WALKS: Last week I mentioned a couple of walk taking place in Brede High Woods. I went on the first of these on Sunday in the company of walk leader Vivienne Blandford who is a professional landscape architect. It was fascinating. And Patrick Roper, a consultant ecologist is doing his walk tomorrow afternoon (July 18th). I went on this last year, and it was a priveledge to be with a top flight expert in his field. I do just wonder whether there are other walks going on that some of us may not hear about. I swap noted about fun and interesting walks with folk who have come on mine or whom I’ve met on other walks and we network very successfully. So, if you hear of something, do let us know and we’ll spread the word.

FINALLY: We have to mention a personal milestone. After over thirty years in London, we both wanted to move back to saner roots. Val is from a (very) small town in the back of beyond and Pete (one quarter a Hoad but don’t tell anybody — promise?) from under the North Downs, we moved to Mountfield. There we wanted to do two things that you cannot or should not do in London: grow trees and have a dog. We refused to have a dog in London but as soon as we got down here, we got our old boy, Tumble, who celebrated his fourteenth birthday last Sunday with an array of blue (for a boy) balloons on the front gate and fence.

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

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