Catsfield

Catsfield Parish Council: The annual Parish Assembly will take place on Thursday 19th April at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. There will be a report by the Parish Council on the past year, reports from District and County Councillors and also the Police as well as reports from Village groups.

St George’s Day: On Sunday 22nd April Catsfield’s parish church of St Laurence will be strangely quiet as everyone will be having a lie-in before attending the later combined service at Crowhurst to celebrate their patron saint St George. The service of Holy Communion will start at 11am with a combined choir and a blessing of red roses. No doubt as is usual on such special occasions, there will be refreshments served afterwards.

Concert: There will be a Spring Concert held at St Laurence Church on Friday 27th April at 7.30pm. The prize winning St Laurence Church Choir will be performing and some local guest artists too. Tickets cost £7 each to include a light supper and are available from the Village Store or on the door.

Malcolm Moss: It was with great sadness that we heard this week of the death of Malcolm Moss, only four months after his wife Joan died. This is the third couple living in – or associated with - Catsfield that have died within such a short time of each other. Malcolm (like Joan) was a renowned judge at local horticultural shows and attended other Catsfield events too, he will be very much missed. We haven’t heard yet when the funeral will be.

Catsfield History Group: Catsfield History Group will present their exhibition on Thomas Brassey senior the Railway Builder at Catsfield Village Hall on Saturday 5th May from 11 am to 4 pm

The exhibition centres on Thomas Brassey the railway builder who commissioned the building of Normanhurst as the Brassey family home and who is buried in Catsfield churchyard. The Brassey family were great benefactors to the parish, they donated the Village Hall and gave employment to many people living in the village.

Thomas Brassey senior was a contemporary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and George and Robert Stephenson. The exhibition gives a small insight into the world of a man of whom many people in the village have never heard.

Like the railways themselves from his humble beginnings he would go on to become perhaps the most important civil engineering contractor of the nineteenth century, laying thousands of miles of track across the globe.

No Victorian hero of comparable significance is so unsung today as Thomas Brassey

Christian Aid Plant Sale and Coffee Morning: On Saturday 19th May in Catsfield Village Hall the annual Christian Aid Plant Sale and Coffee Morning will be selling a large selection of plants for your garden, both annuals and perennials and is always well worth a visit. Be warned, arrive early, this sale has a great reputation for quality and plenty of people get there early to grab a bargain!

WI Centenary Quiz Night: The WI centenary celebrations continued last Saturday with an exceptionally clever John Overall quiz with a question for each of the 100 years. He covered all sorts of subjects mixed with music, even finding a clip from the first Micky Mouse film. He also played a bit of Elvis to please the President, had several difficult WI questions with pictures and only mentioned Arsenal once! Those in the Hall born nearer 1918 were doing very well until the 1980s when the younger quizzers came into their own. Jane assisted him with some complicated calculations and the winning team included two WI Committee members. The Hall was extremely noisy and full with 71 contestants eating, drinking and enjoying being together, as we do.

Family Service: Last Sunday the final public event celebrating the Catsfield WI Centenary was the service in St Laurence church meticulously planned by Father Michael. Several WI members were present and a service sheet had been prepared with the current Catsfield WI motto “Look forward to the future and be grateful for the past.” The Church was wonderfully decorated with flowers, together with a live tree branch on which we were able to hang paper acorns accompanied by a personal prayer or wish. Jane led the prayers. The choir led everyone in full voice as we sang ‘Morning has Broken’ and later they sang the anthem ‘Tell out my Soul’.

Harold, the church cat was again featured in Father Michael’s talk and rightly so, as he had also been invited to the recent WI birthday party. Mrs Davey, President of the local WI had specifically asked him to ensure that they would be no church mice present as many of the ladies aren’t too keen on mice. Whilst they were looking around the church they came to the mat at the back of the church. Perhaps you have all seen it? It has a picture of a black and white cat on it. ‘Is that a picture of you?’ asked Mrs Davy. ‘No it is a picture of my brother’ said Harold. ‘As you know I am named after the last Saxon king of England, who used to come to this church when he was staying at his nearby manor. Well my brother is named after one of King Harold’s brother, Leofwine. But normally we called him Leo.’ Mrs Davy knows lots of things, which is why she is the President of Catsfield Women’s Institute. ‘Leo is often the name given to lions too’ she commented. ‘Was your brother Leo fierce like a lion?’

‘Oh he was very fierce’ agreed Harold. ‘When we were kittens we often fought. We were very different, but we get on all right now.’

Once Harold was on his own he had another look at the picture of his brother Leo. ‘It is a pity that we used to fall out’ he muttered to himself. ‘I used to fall out with my sister too’ said a woman’s voice. Harold looked up and there this lovely young woman with a headscarf on was standing over him. ‘My name is Martha’ she said. ‘I lived with my brother Lazarus and my sister Mary in the little village of Bethany. We were very close friends of Jesus and he used to visit us a lot.’ ‘My name is Harold’ said the church cat, ‘and I am a friend of Jesus too, because I work in Catsfield church. I don’t live with my brother anymore, but I used to, we are quite different personalities.’

‘Mary and I were totally different’ agreed Martha. Whenever Jesus visited I was kept busy organizing things, tidying the house and cooking big meals. Mary was so different, she was in a dream and when Jesus came she just seemed to give up on things that make a house work and sat down at Jesus’ feet and listened to him.’

‘It used to annoy me’ continued Martha. ‘I was left to do everything and one day it was all too much for me and I lost my temper and said to Jesus, ‘’Master, tell my sister to come and help me, I’m trying to do everything by myself!’’ I knew I had upset Mary. Her face went red and she was on the verge of tears, she clearly felt guilty about leaving me to do everything. ‘Martha, Martha.’ Jesus said. His words were gentle and yet very strong. ‘You’re worried and anxious about so many things. There’s only one thing that is important for you now.’

At that moment said Martha, all the anger seemed to drain away from me. It felt like an invitation to join in. I realised that when you have a guest you need to be able to enjoy having that guest and sometimes you need to stop, so I sat down and listened too and somehow it was easier to do all my jobs afterwards. I felt better for having listened to Jesus’s stories and now I must be getting back to those jobs.’ As she finished speaking Martha seemed to fade away.

‘I must tell Fr Michael about Mary and Martha’ thought Harold. ‘He could tell the Women’s Institute about them when they come for their service. We need people who do things in life and work hard at practical things, but we also need to make time for people to stop and do something else; something that might help them to live their life even better. The Women’s Institute has been doing that for one hundred years in Catsfield.

And of course as a church cat I know there is a lot to do to run a church, but you forget what it is all about if sometimes you don’t stop and sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him too. And now thought Harold, I must go and practise the words for Jerusalem

Just one final thought. Harold is quite well connected and knows a corgi dog belonging to a member of the Sandringham WI. Sadly the owner, Her Majesty the Queen, can’t be with us this morning, but she has sent Justin the corgi to represent her.

The service finished with a powerful rendition of Jerusalem, all of which the members found very moving and apposite. Obviously coffee and home-made biscuits followed.

Sport: The groundsman is looking rather happier now that the weather forecast includes some dry weather. The footballers have actually managed to play two matches in a row, last Saturday being at home against bottom of the table Ticehurst resulting in a 2 - 0 less than exciting win. Tomorrow we go away to Tackleway, Hastings for a 3.30 pm kick off.