Carol Singing: The usual evening of Carol Singing in the Village Hall will be on Thursday 20th December from 6.30pm until 8pm and you’re welcome to drop in and out as it suits you. The singing will be led by the St Laurence Church Choir accompanied by Choirmaster Bob Andrew on the piano; mince pies and mulled wine will be served. There is no charge for this popular event but a retiring collection will be held for charity.

Burns Night: There was an error in the Parish Mag this month. The traditional Burn’s Night dinner will be held on 26th January 2019 and not 6th. More information will appear in the January edition of the magazine with details of how to book a place and tickets will go on sale then.

WI: Catsfield WI held their Christmas party on Thursday 6th December in the Village Hall. Members were expecting to see the ‘Rabbit in the Hole’ Blue Grass band, but it was quite a surprise to find eight men filling the stage with a mass of impressive musical equipment set up ready to entertain us later. They were banished to Hermon Cottage whilst the ladies sang an impressive unaccompanied rendition of Jerusalem to start the meeting (there was no pianist this month) and the usual business matters were hurried through. Members were reminded that the January meeting required payment of the annual subscription, which will be £42 and can be paid in instalments if necessary. Next Thursday 13th December will be the Christmas lunch at The Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe. This is free to members, paid from branch funds as the last celebration of our 100th birthday year which has been truly memorable. Members needing a lift to Sedlescombe should meet in the village car park at 12.15pm.

The eight gentlemen of ‘Rabbit in the Hole’ were summoned to return to the stage where they proceeded to fill the hall with talented playing of lively foot-tapping music and songs, with some introductory chat and jokes between each piece. They were certainly very talented musicians on a variety of instruments and everyone enjoyed their performance immensely. At the end of their set, one of the band playing an autoharp accompanied Gloria, who led us in singing some carols before the committee served us with a delicious tea. The Christmas cake was cut and served wrapped in napkins for members to take home, the competition results for making a paper angel were announced and the winner was Denise with an immaculately pleated angel made entirely from newspaper. The raffle was drawn and everyone took a gift from the bran tub at the end of a splendid Christmas party. Thank you to the committee for a lovely afternoon and for organising such a fantastic 100th birthday year for us all to enjoy and remember. The first meeting in 2019 will be on Thursday 3rd January at 2pm when Terry Stacey will make his third visit and will be talking to us about ‘Etymology – It’s Greek to me!’ Terry’s talks are always very entertaining with plenty of challenges – which most of us fail!

Treasure Island (Thanks to Mike Cooper): What do you need on a wet and windy Friday in December? Why a visit to a CADS panto of course! This year’s offering was Treasure Island which started with an excellent ensemble piece. George Brunger was in the opening scene as buxom, blond bombshell named Tilly Turbot (pronounced Turbo) landlady of a nautical nook, The Cock Inn. Together with her dubious brother, the ailing Wally once a lobster fisherman, who relates the sad tale of his misadventure with an overlarge lobster that had grabbed him below the midships – say no more. He, we recognised, even in the grey balding wig as Aaron Vitler. Later in the tale after taking his vitamins he became a most ruthless pirate known as Cutlass Bill.

Back to the pub, the scene was built by the team giving a working bar, the sounds of the sea, and great props from Grace Edney. Young Jim Hawkins, Tilly’s nephew, who is looking for adventure and love and was played with thigh-slapping aplomb was the brightly attired Andrea Richards, sporting a beard with short black hair plus great orange boots. Further help came in the beautiful form of Spanish Kitty, popular with the sailors and who worked very hard upstairs, with a dark bouffant hairdo, long legs and a perfected accent. This was Russell Cole (in the second half transformed into poor old Benn Gun leaping around his Treasure Island) Great characters both.

Wearing overalls, braces, brown beard and curly wig, specs and a flowerpot hat, Dick the performing dog on one arm, poo bag in the other, sporting pink welly boots entered Farmer Ted – this was Vanessa up to her natural comedic ways and got away with murder! Trying to drag him back for supper was Mrs Ted, aproned and hatted taken on by Amy O’Sullivan, (later becoming Captain Mullet resplendent in a ‘Hornblower’ uniform captain of the Hispaniola, agreeing to sail the motley crew to the South Seas). Katie Jenner gave us a most convincing Billy Bones, well characterised, arriving with his chest, being presented with the Black Spot and died – then became Catsfield’s Johnnie Depp lookalike pirate Sam. Sent to treat this poor soul was the Lady Trellawny who enjoyed a tipple, late of first aid training, Jane Overall in another great comedy role, accompanied by her lovely daughter Poppy who was played elegantly by Rachel Putland. Not being allowed to go on the voyage, she disguised herself as Roger the Cabin boy and played the hero saving the day. Tap on, pebble-specked Blind Pugh (alias Keith Robertson) better known as ‘smelly poo’ – excellent outfit and French accent. Not only playing this part but directing the show - a brilliant job too.

Ably performed by John Search, the real villain of the piece Long John Silver – this one-eyed, one-armed, one legged Pirate was scary. Great costume, makeup, menacing and complete with a colourful talking parrot on his shoulder. Fatboy Fat (Dave Stevens) and Lightweight Jake (Baz Jenkins) completed the cast and added pirate ‘Ahars’ galore.

Sovereign Harbour depicted a beautifully painted sailing ship with the stage well dressed with nets, chains, cargo and the like. On board ship the centre was raised for the poop deck and mast to crow’s nest all very effective. The tropical island with palm trees and coconuts, fauna and flora, blue sea and yellow sand, was most attractively designed and constructed. On the eponymous island, more shenanigans followed in typical panto fashion, the goodies find the treasure having exploded a pile of poo only to be captured by Long John and his gang and are taken back to the ship to await their fate. Plank walking is of course a pirate’s favourite form of execution and the trio of pirates performed a great song whilst incompetently trying to construct a plank from a kit supplied by a well-known flat pack provider. The scene is set for the demise of the goodies.

CADS are renowned for their ability to set the most appropriate words to well-known songs but this year perhaps they excelled themselves for what followed was the sight of Tilly Turbot teetering on the edge of the plank whilst leading the cast in a unique version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’- just brilliant. - The applause went on for ages. What writing sessions there must have been with Aaron, Vanessa and Keith. As ever, the tables were turned and the pirates were trussed up to return to Catsfield to mend their ways by poo picking on the playing field!

Jim got his Poppy, Tilly went voyaging with Captain Mullet and Ben Gunn went to live with Lady Trellawny. The audience finally stopped clapping and went home much the merrier after a fun filled talented evening.

Sport (Thanks to Mrs Groundsman): When you hear the telephone ring in our house and you hear some exasperated language you know something has happened at the Playing Field. After a visit the other day to check the heating, it was an unwelcome surprise on Sunday morning to hear that the storage building had again been broken into. Something belonging to the cricket club had been taken, but as with all petty crime it is often the inconvenience which is worse. So, what with football again being cancelled, the groundsman is not very happy. Long hours going to the hardware store, even more keys to be bought and mending the break-in means another wasted day. Perhaps a good win at Tilekiln (again) when we hope to play St Leonards Social will restore his good nature. Any hope of anyone else in the village taking on this voluntary position?