CHRISTMAS GATHERING: Don’t say you didn’t go. Everyone else did — or at east, that’s what it seemed like. The car park was double parked, and there were cars parked down Millham drive, on verges, wherever a space could be found. There were lots of jolly stalls but it was mainly about lots of neighbours having a really good neighbourly natter over a slice (or two) of something wicked and a cuppa, or a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine. We saw several people who only recently moved into the village which was nice. All the generations were there from some of our very youngest to some of our most senior. There was a scattering of friends and relations from outside the village too — we spoke to people from several of the suburbs such as Netherfield, Battle, Brightling and Robertsbridge. And at noon, there was a whole hall full of people belting out carols, led by Steve Hollamby blowing his own trumpet. The Church stalwarts in the kitchen did brisk business throughout and took a cool £240 and the raffle raised a further £860 no less. That, from a village the size of Mountfield, is astonishing. Congratulations and thanks are due to everyone from the Village Hall Committee and the Church who made all the efforts to make it work and well done to everyone who supported the event in any way.

WHAT YOU DON’T NEED… :if you have a Village Hall full of revellers downing tea, wine and worse, is a major burst water main in an outlying suburb (Stonegate) leading to the water going off for the day. Caroline explained the situation and pointed out to the gentlemen that the woods were looking particularly lovely at this time of year, while Nick Holden dashed into Robertsbridge for bottled water supplies. The loss of water was less than ideal for the Gathering in the morning, but in the afternoon there was…

THE CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY: As ever, this was a huge success with over 30 children, including a smattering of grandchildren. As well as a full party tea, the children were entertained by DNA Kids who were very good. Well done to the main organisers Vicky Staley, Sarah Cole and Amy Ely. They have received deserved plaudits from many of the mums and dads both at the party and since by email. Of course, they didn’t do it all on their own so thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped them as well. Very special thanks go to Bill Humphries for helping Santa’s elves to make the beautiful, small, wooden snowman toys for each child. The whole event will have given each of those children a little piece of Mountfield that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

KIDS FILM CLUB: A reminder that tomorrow, Saturday 19th at 2.00 pm, is the screening of Elf, the movie that inspired a hit Broadway musical. Popcorn, drinks, tea and coffee. And then on Wednesday 23rd, same time, the movie will be the highest earning animated movie of all time, Walt Disney’s 2013 hit, Frozen. There isn’t a child under ten who doesn’t know the theme song “Let It Go”.

GEORGE GRAY: News reached us this week that George, who plays part-time professional rugby, was selected for the England Women’s Rugby team in the full test against Canada on December 4th. George came off the bench for her international debut and England won 22–19.

BARBARA VALENTINE: We were delighted to receive the following email from Barbara on Monday (14th): “I’m blissfully happy to be home from Brighton Hospital after having had a successful operation [on the 11th!] to remove a brain tumour, and now just need to lounge around hedonistically for a while to recover. I’d like to thank all my friends for their good wishes and prayers. I was really cross to have missed the Gathering but Juliette enjoyed it enormously. At least I managed to do a few quick portraits after the operation. Painted quite a few of the nursing staff, and some of the other patients who were all delighted to have a souvenir of their recovery! Barbara.”

MOUNTFIELD CLUB: On Wednesday December 23rd, the Club are holding a Christmas bullseye evening along with their grand Christmas draw. Squares are still available at £1.00 each and there will be many prizes to win on the night. The evening should start at around 7.30. If any one is interested in entering the bulls-eye competition, please contact Steve Smith on 07720 298971.

FINALLY: Once again we found ourselves holding our breaths with tension as we read last week’s Observer snooker coverage with phrases like: “Dave Wadeson stormed to a 72–11 victory”. If you really want to understand what a village is about, it’s about Dave, after he’s finished his round, dropping into the Village Hall to try to catch a couple of customers who were there rather than at home to take the signed for deliveries he had for them. Where would Mountfield be without him? (Probably higher in the snooker league.)

CONTACT: We are coming to the end of another year so it would be nice to hear from any of our readers, just to keep the conversation going. It can be unnerving writing all this stuff into weekly silence. It’s always particularly nice to hear from readers in other parishes. Of course, if you have anything for the Village Voice, the contact details are just the same: 880614 or via

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