Catsfield news
Catsfield news

Burns Night: The fundraisers for St Laurence’s Church will be celebrating Burn’s Night on Saturday next, 21st January at 7pm in the Village Hall. There will be a three course traditional Burn’s Night Dinner and a ‘wee dram’ for only £10 per person. If you haven’t already booked then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed as this event is now completely sold out.

WI: As our President was ill and unable to attend the meeting, our ‘new’ Vice-President Ann Clegg welcomed members, guests and our speaker Terry Stacey to the meeting. Unfortunately for reasons of ill-health and other commitments, there were very many members missing from this first meeting of 2017. Ann asked us to stand for a minutes silence to remember former member Joyce Taylor who passed away just before Christmas. Joyce had first joined Catsfield WI in 1992 and had been a very active Committee Member. We remained standing to sing ‘Jerusalem’ with the ‘twiddly bits’ and thanks to Barbara on the piano. Everyone had enjoyed the Christmas Party with the entertainment from Marco the Magician and the competition had received a good number of entries. The Christmas Lunch at Ashburnham Place, which had been held in a private function room, had also been enjoyed and members were asked to suggest ideas for the venue for our next Christmas Lunch. Ann Clegg reported on Little Common W.I’s Christmas Party which she and Pat Tully had enjoyed. Members were reminded that the WI Jumble Sale will be held on Saturday 25th March and were asked to save their unwanted items for that occasion.

Our speaker, already known to many of us, was Terry Stacey whose talk was about ‘Language Derivation’. Describing his subject as ‘light hearted’ Terry began by asking us “Can you hear me at the back?” Terry told an amusing story of when he’d used the same words whilst lecturing to a group of students. One student at the back of the room replied “Yes I can, but I’d be pleased to swap with someone who can’t…!” Explaining the title of his talk “A White Elephant?” – ‘A possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost is disproportionate to its usefulness’. We discovered that at one time, all elephants in Siam (Thailand) and other SE Asian countries, particularly white elephants which were sacred; belonged to the King. Occasionally the King would give an elephant as a gift to someone he didn’t like and of course no-one could refuse a gift from the King. If you owned an elephant you were not allowed to ride it, work with it, punish it or give it away – in fact you couldn’t do anything with it because all elephants belonged to the King. However, the cost of its keep would soon ruin the recipient!

Terry went on to explain that many of these everyday ‘words’ and ‘phases’ came from Anglo Saxon or Norse words 1500/1700 years ago. Others came from the Bible and yet more from Greek, Persian and Hindustani. He suggested that every day we all use words and phrases without ever knowing where they came from or what their original meaning was. He recited many familiar phrases to us and explained their derivation before inviting us to take part in a ‘game’ not dissimilar to ‘Call my Bluff’ where we were asked to uncover the origin of twelve well-known phrases from the clues he supplied. Accompanied by much laughter, the phrases such as ‘a plum job’, ‘larking about’ and ‘on the grapevine’ kept us ‘on our toes’ and ‘racking our brains’ right through to the ‘bitter end’ when we discovered that we had not scored very highly! Managing to include one or two ‘phrases’ of her own, Jane Overall thanked Terry for a very entertaining afternoon.

Briefing Notes for the six Resolutions on the shortlist for the 2017 NFWI Annual Meeting were read out and after brief discussion on each, members were asked to cast their vote by a show of hands. They were Alleviating Loneliness: FGM: More Awareness for More Action: Equal Access for all who need specialised maternal mental health services: Provision of appropriate welfare and safe spaces for women and children in refugee camps: Supporting Women’s Refuges: Plastic soup - Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans The results of our vote will be forwarded to ESFWI HQ. The usual high-quality WI tea followed and was greatly enjoyed by everyone present.

Bluegrass Evening: The top American Bluegrass Band ‘Special Consensus’ will be performing at Catsfield Village Hall on Saturday 28th January 2017 from 8pm till 11pm. Tickets cost £15 and light refreshments and a bar will be available. For more details and information go to or tel: 01424893390 or email:

Sport: A bad tempered match at home last Saturday against Sibex resulted in a 1- 1 draw. Each side had a player sent off, which is a sad reflection on the notion of local football played for fun. Tony Luke scored our goal. We are now fourth in the table, but hopefully can get a good win against Orington away at Bulverhythe tomorrow. If the weather forecast is correct at the time of going to print, it should be cold and sleety at this windswept venue. How many supporters will be travelling?

Angela Lucking: Angela Lucking, nee Philcox, has recently died aged 79. She was the last of the four children of Ernest and Nellie Philcox, who lived at 39 Skinners Lane. It may not be generally known, but this pair of cottages was built by Lady Brassey, so that Ernest, one of Lady Brassey’s favourite choirboys, would have a place for his young family to live in the village where he had been brought up. The Brassey family were extraordinary benefactors for Catsfield and this pair of houses is similar to other builds, such as the pair in Trout Stream. All the children went to the village school, attended church, played cricket, football and stoolball and took part in entertainments in the Village Hall, also provided by the Brasseys, Upon her marriage, Angela moved to one of the prefabs in Marley Lane and when these were demolished, went to live in Wellington Gardens. Wanting to move back to the village, she was able to transfer to a Council House in Skinners Lane. Lots of children born in the village wish to bring up their families here, but cannot do so. It is Government policy that Local Authorities are unable to build Council Houses and as more and more are sold to existing tenants, the number available for young families to rent is extremely limited. Part of the proposed 35 houses for behind The White Hart is for affordable housing, not at all the same thing as a Council House to rent.

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