Netherfield Village Voice: A Happy New Year to all my readers and I hope that my short break from the rigors of penning this column did not spoil your enjoyment of the early 2019 festivities. As if they would! Through a half-closed eye I noticed that fellow bloggers from other villages, within the paper's sphere of operations, did manage to meet the deadlines set by the paper over the holidays, which shows that they are made of sterner stuff than I. My only excuse is that through the other half-closed eye my computer appeared to disintegrate into a digital black hole. Anyway, Netherfield is on the map again and raring to go.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 6:00 am

I would like to think that this year will be special, although I am sure that there are regrets already over resolutions made and terminated before January 2nd arrived. No, I can hear you cry, some made it through until 3rd. Abstention and fitness are usually the prime movers in the top tens of most people’s lists, followed by connections with long-seen friends and relatives during the coming year. The trouble is that life gets in the way of these optimistic determinations and that tends to divert our attention from fulfilling our disposition, to take a bright hopeful view of things. Roll on next Christmas.

The Messenger: A Happy New Year to all readers of the Messenger, our Parish Magazine. Welcome to the new editor, Melanie Willis Fleming who has taken over from Yve Puxty who edited the magazine for 15 years. The pages for Netherfield welcome items of interest however long or short, from anyone. You can email them to [email protected] by the 14th of each month.

The Messenger can be bought in the Netherfield Village Store, still only 50p! or let me know if you need copies.

Gillian. 838825. Thank you.

Netherfield Village Hall Library Service: Due to the Christmas and New Year holidays the Library was closed. Whilst we opened on 2 January our attendance was small. However, this week we are picking up the new shelving which will transform the look and content of the library and make it more recognisable and accessible. It will also allow us to take in the books that have been stored for us by the people who have generously pledged their stock. We will be contacting them in the next week or two to arrange collection.

Netherfield Village Hall future events: The New Year Jumble sale is on 19th January 2019 between 10 and 12 in the morning. This usual stalls, full of goodies will be on display, such as bric-a-brac, ladies and gents clothing as well as children’s clothing and toys. The Coffee Morning is on 9th February at the Hall, again between the hours of 10 and 12. This will allow everyone to come along for a coffee and a chat. What could be better? Finally, for all our Thursday evening Bingo players there will be a new regular slot in 2019 on the last Thursday of every month. The first of these will be on 31 January 2019. See you there.

Claverham Monday Badminton Club: After the holiday break the paunches, and the difficulty getting off the sofa syndrome, have to be addressed. Muscles that have lain dormant for an age now, well at least two weeks, need to be stretched, pressured and filled with energy, that contains oxygen rather than alcohol. So what could be better than a romp around a welcoming badminton court. Of course, befuddled brains might not remember how to smash or finesse a shot from one side of the court, over the net, to the other, but the knowledge will hopefully come back by April 1st.

Twelve intrepid souls arrived bleary eyed and covered in confusion, to find out if they have still got it. Rambling Roy, our ancient artifact, who has been in Australia and Sri Lanka for the month of December (how the other half live?), our own Marco Polo, Ben; Super Sandra, our one lady representative this week and a host of other brave players, stumbled across the proverbial turf of potential success to find out whether their limbs work and their brains could be resuscitated. Who am I to shatter their dreams of stardom in an attempt to get a cheap laugh? Oh go on then, I probably would.

Actually, after the first game or two the action reminded me of what can be found in a graveyard. I jest of course. Once the muscles had warmed up it was back to normal, with competition back to its usual high standards. Just so nobody feels left out, there was also in attendance, Dan, John, Simon, Paul, Scott, Jai, Chris, Dave and yours truly. A motley crew I grant you, but all enjoying the double benefits of exercise and competition in their minds if not always on the court..

More next week.......

Reflections on a garden: As the new year dawns and the evenings are getting slowly lighter, it is time to begin the annual assessment of what we need to do to help nature along, on its way to rejuvenation and harmony with its surroundings. The birds, so far, are welcoming the mildness of the winter and seem to be maintaining their vibrant population, throughout this usually testing period. Part of that sustainability could be, in some respects, down to the fact that my good lady has added two additional feeders to our stock. One through a Christmas present and one, a Pet Shop purchase. This allows double the uptake of meal worms, seeds and fatballs. They eat better than I do. In fact, we have a pigeon who is so fat, it can hardly get its beak over its chest to pick up the food and when it walks it waddles from side to side like an overfilled waterbed.

Unfortunately, this state of affairs draws in cats, who come see what the fuss is all about. Tabbys, black and white ones and a host of other colour combinations cross the garden in a slow and deliberate fashion. They appear, from a distance, to be treading on hot coals, moving their heads from side to side, as they slink deliberately, towards a slow-growing shrub of the fir persuasion, that has a space beneath its evergreen countenance, which can harbour their predatory aspirations. That was a sentence and a half for my first time back in the saddle!

This feline invasion, believe it or not, ensures I get my daily bout of exercise. My good lady, who seems to have eyes in every part of her anatomy, informs me of the pending invasion, and delights in viewing my deterrent activities, as I rush out the door, screaming and calling like a banshee to deter these quiet predators from our establishment. If she is on the telephone during these happenings, she will delight friends and family with a blow-by-blow account of the action. Unfortunately, going back to the story, they, the cats, are quicker than me in every department and over the last 21 years I have not been able to catch one to give it a good talking to. I speak the local dialect of “catcall” so they understand exactly what I am about. Oh well, maybe this year that situation will change.

More next week.................

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on email at [email protected] Call 01424838410 and ask for Maurice or text 07957588172