Netherfield Church: The service this Sunday is a Holy Communion at Netherfield and the final service on Sunday March 29 is Palm Sunday which will be at Mountfield. All start at 10 am.

A final reminder that our Spring Fair is tomorrow, Saturday March 21 from 10 am until noon, in the church. There will be all the usual stalls including produce, books, bric-a-brac, tombola, a raffle and more, plus some new ones to add interest. Especially for the children the Easter Bunny will be around all morning and there will be an Easter Egg Hunt as well for them. Refreshments will be available all morning for everyone. Please come along and support your church.

Later in the week there is the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Wednesday March 25 at 7 pm in the church. This primarily reports on the last year’s happenings in your church and is an opportunity to elect the officials and council members for the coming year. Paul Smith, Churchwarden.

AGE UK Easter Raffle: Tickets available in the shop, £1 per strip. Thank you in advance for supporting this important cause.

Shoe Bin: This is located outside the shop, please recycle all your unwanted shoes, boots and wellies.

First Aid Course: This will be a free course and will be held in the Village Hall at a date and time to be announced, please register your interest in the shop.

Yoga: Every Tuesday evening at 7.15pm in the Village Hall.

Netherfield Post Office: we hold Euros in stock, all other currencies can be order for the next day. Health Lottery tickets also available 50p per ticket win up to £25000, £1 per ticket win up to £100000.

White Hart – Closed for refurbishment.

The Mobile Library: will be outside the shop from 12.45 to 13.05 on Tuesday March 24.

Netherfield Breakaway Club: The January meeting of the club was held on Thursday January 15 in the White Hart, Netherfield – our usual comfortable venue, courtesy of Sean. Members were reminded that subs are due in February, remaining at £16 (excellent value!), guests - £3 and coffee or tea at £1 per head. The Christmas lunch, traditionally held at the Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe had once again been well attended and very much enjoyed by all. This year’s booking had already been made! Finances are still healthy but new members will always be welcome. Sheila is happy to continue with the raffle with the help of another member. A rota had been fixed until May. Our longstanding member, Ruby Willis is no longer able to attend meetings but committee members had visited and Ruby will always be pleased to see other members if they wish to call. Please telephone first!

Our guest speaker, Michael Hoad was then introduced, a much-travelled, very informative and humorous speaker, his slide presentation entitled ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ – a pictorial account of an 11 day voyage on the ‘Hurtigruten’ or Express Coastal Steamer, round trip of over 2,400 miles from Bergen to Kirkenes, along the outstanding beauty of the Norwegian coast. The steamer calls in at 34 quays on its journey past the snow covered mountains with the little towns in their shadows below and above the Artic Circle. With excellent slides, Michael’s commentary and breath taking scenery this was certainly a voyage of excellence. We hope to see Michael again in the future with another presentation of one of his many ‘trips’.

Members then enjoyed refreshments and the raffle was drawn.

The February meeting was held on Thursday February 19. Subs were collected. Unfortunately our hoped-for outing to Glyndebourne in September will not be possible as tours are only conducted in February and November as the Touring Opera perform in October and rehearsals will be taking place. Members were asked for suggestions and further discussions will take place. We were very sad to hear the news that the White Hart has been sold with contracts exchanging imminently. Sean was thanked for his support, enabling us to enjoy meetings in a warm and comfortable atmosphere, summer lunch and occasional committee meetings. We will be very sorry to see him go, having been so helpful to many local groups and organising events to raise funds for village and church projects, but wish him every success for the future. We hope that our March meeting will take place as usual and members were told that if there is a change of venue they would be ‘phoned.

Our guest speaker, Mrs Rita Reading was then introduced. A very unusual subject, ‘To Afghanistan and Back’, with slides, clothes and a wide range of memorabilia and crafts, her talk was fascinating to say the least! Rita and her husband, a retired teacher joined a Christian non-governmental International Development Organisation and spent 5.5 years in Afghanistan working with the local people on many projects including agricultural work and digging wells and toilets, amongst many other things! They had to spend six months going to language school to learn the Persian type of language with Arabic script so that they could converse and mix with the people. Rita was a project manager and she gave us an amazing insight into the lives of these proud but very poor people in this war torn part of the world which is often on the news but most of us have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes. We were asked if we had been given permission by a male relative to be at the pub! A population of 33 million, the main religion is Islam. There are high mortality and unemployment rates and extremes of temperatures. Afghanistan has been fought over many times but never taken over nor occupied by another country. Famous people with connections are Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo. There is no mains gas, electricity, water, telephone, major roads, sanitation or railways and few cars. Men and women are separated socially, the families are large with 10 or more children and live in single storey mud houses with water tanks on the roofs. A pipe on the roof takes the water through a hose to one tap. The main diet is bread, rice and green tea with meat only eaten at very special times. Rita had to dress appropriately and wore the traditional trousers beneath a full length robe complete with veil. We were able to try on the clothes and apart from being very hot there was a definite feeling of claustrophobia! Rita said she would love to return as the people were so warm and welcoming but her husband is now retired and opted for a quieter life! After an interesting question time Rita was thanked for her excellent talk and refreshments were enjoyed. The raffle was drawn and we then said our ‘goodbyes’ to Sean.

The March meeting will be held on Thursday March 19. Tony Peters will be giving an illustrated talk on the Rye Harbour Lifeboat.

Contact me: I’d love to hear from any local groups, clubs or individuals with any news on upcoming events or reports on past events they would like included in this column, Email:

Maria Standen

Swallow Farm