Karen Ayling

The White House, Dixter Road

Northiam Conservation Society was blessed with good weather for its Pimms and Puccini live opera event in the atmospheric setting of the medieval barn at Great Dixter last Saturday evening. This was the Society’s second event in collaboration with Great Dixter, following an event held last September to celebrate the Society’s 25th anniversary and the opening of the barn after extensive restoration.

Soprano Thomasin Tresize, who is currently performing at Glyndebourne, and tenor Jim Heath, from the English National Opera, took time away from their respective day jobs to perform arias and duets from Puccini’s operas. The sell-out audience was enthralled by their singing and acting. The evening also had its lighter moments - at one point Jim had the audience singing “just one cornetto” to the music of O Sole Mio and one of Dixter’s cats sneaked into the barn to enjoy the music to everyone’s amusement! The performance ended with a duet of Nessun Dorma. The Society uses the money it raises from its events to fund village projects.

I sure you don’t need telling, but the village flower festival starts today, with almost all the village societies, clubs and businesses attempting to capture the essence of their activities in an arrangement in St Mary’s Church. In the Church Centre, Keith Collins and his art groups will hold an art exhibition, and the children haven’t been forgotten – the teddy bears’ picnic starts at 3.30pm with tea, stories and games. I understand that there will be some animals carefully hiding amongst the arrangements as well, to give us all something to hunt for.

The festival is open between 10am and 5pm, and there will be stalls outside where you can be tempted with plants, books and produce and inside the church you can sample the famous St Mary’s teas and have a rest or a chat and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the arrangements.

On Friday and Saturday, there will be a raffle of promises from local businesses, and there are some fantastic prizes on offer, from a meal to an MOT.

On Saturday evening, we are delighted to welcome back our own Mike Hatchard, with Music for a Summer’s Evening. Tickets will be available on the door, or during the day at the Flower Festival. The concert starts at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Church. Parking in the car park by the surgery.

On Sunday, the Ffstival resumes at 12noon, after Holy Communion. We do hope you will come along and support all the people who have (many for the first time) volunteered to take part and discover their inner florist!

On Friday evenings throughout the summer there will be Pay and Play sessions in the Pretious Sports Hall 7-9pm. The first session is free, and then just £2 per hour. The hall will be set up for badminton and table-tennis, with all equipment provided. The same options are on offer on Wednesdays from 6.45pm to 7.45pm. These are open sessions where the sports hall is open to the community outside normal club times. There is no coaching provided, although a sports hall officer will be on site to help.

Over 60s will compete for the flower arranging cup at their meeting on Tuesday afternoon – after all that inspiration it should be a stunning competition!

Coffee Stop opens in the church centre each Wednesday between 10am and 12 noon. On Wednesday, the gardens of South Grange, Quickbourne Lane will be open 11am until 5pm in aid of Demelza Hospice Care for Children. The garden is accessible by wheelchair, and there will be plants and refreshments on sale.

The Footpath Group is setting off a little further afield with A Day Out with Seven Sisters. A choice of walks graded 1-3 with distances of 1 to 6 miles, so something for everyone! Leave the surgery car park at 9am – please try to car share if possible, and bring a picnic lunch. Call Sue or Michael (253428) if you have any questions.

Services (July 13): 8am Holy Communion, 10.30am Holy Communion