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THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING: The meeting held on Tuesday 6th March, in Iden village hall was fairly well attended. Ray Griffin chaired the meeting, and he called upon Rother District councillor Paul Osbourne, who mentioned the increase in council tax which had been finalised the previous week. Paul apologised for any problems with bin collections during the bad weather. He sympathised with those who were without water during ‘The Beast From The East’. About five thousand homes in the Rother district experienced this inconvenience. Two audience members complained about recent scam phone calls from people professing to be from Customs and Excise. Fortunately we are becoming wary of giving out any personal details over the phone, but new scams do rear their ugly heads. These ‘scammers’ often give the impression of being educated and pleasant with nice speaking voices.They appear very plausible. General consensus was that it was best to always put the phone down immediately if unsure, without any discussion. Parish Council meetings have the advantage of making us feel that we are not alone in this village, that a problem shared is a problem halved. Pot holes in the road were discussed, as new potholes occur in snowy weather. As usual expenditure is an issue as tarmac replacement is a never-ending , costly affair. There was lengthy discussion on dog -waste-bins. Bins adjacent to the road are emptied but some in areas such as the play area in the park get left. This problem requires some decipher, because once bins are full, people tend to throw doggy- bags in random areas. Due to financial cuts, the Parish council may have to pay for a shortfall in Iden’s grass-cutting. Rother can only cover two annual cuts, which the council felt was insufficient. We missed input from Keith Glazier and Sally Anne Hart who both sent apologies. Each month Sally Anne provides additional information regarding meetings attended, which can be read on the Parish Council website, giving us a more holistic view of Rother. The next Parish Council meeting is on Tuesday 3rd April, at 7.30pm, in Iden village hall. Everyone is welcome.

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: There is a Service Of Holy Communion this Sunday in Iden Parish Church, at 9.30am.

SPRING COFFEE MORNING TOMORROW [17th March]: Tenterden And District National Trust Association are holding a Spring coffee morning at Oxenbridge Farm, Wittersham Road, Iden TN31 7UY tomorrow, from 10am-1.00pm. Admission is £5.00, to include tea, coffee and cake, and a lucky entrance ticket draw. There will be all kinds of stalls, plants and hanging baskets, jewellery, cards, home-made cakes, flower stalls, paintings, pottery and craft by local artists. There is a raffle, and a chance to buy Easter gifts. For further information, or to book a stall, please contact Gill Woods telephone 01797 280208 [answer phone] or e-mail gwood@oxenbridge.com

IDEN AND DISTRICT NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY: Next Friday [23rd March] is Iden And District Natural History Society’s AGM, Followed by a lecture entitled ‘Starting To Walk, Early Years Of Butterfly Monitoring’, by Ernie Pollard. The meeting, held in Iden village hall, at 7.30pm, provides a raffle and refreshments. Visitors pay £3.

ALWAYS OPEN: One of my pet- hates is shops that only open when they feel like it. Turning a handle on a shop door, which won’t budge, with a closed sign on the door is a real slap in the face, particularly if what we need is just there behind the glass we are pressing our nose against. Barring real emergencies or set early-closing days shops should be open for business or risk being branded unreliable. Not so Iden Stores. Iden Stores is always open. Sally and Chris are there in snow or fog, or if not them Sue, Linda, Fran or Holly would be passing us our can of tuna or a couple of tomatoes from the rubble of an earthquake. No notes on the door to say back in 20 minutes either [another pet-hate] because we have no way of telling when the 20 minutes begins and ends. We are fortunate indeed Iden folk. Rest assured, we are always going to have the wherewithal to make a pie!

MORE THAN JUST A CUP OF COFFEE: Rye and it’s surrounding area has quite a plethora of restaurants and coffee shops, including Iden’s own, ‘The Bell ’pub, which is our ‘local’, our merry meeting place and eating place. Isn’t it nice to go out for a meal or for coffee and be waited upon? For a short while, during the time we drink our coffee or eat a meal, followed perhaps by a syllabub, or sticky toffee pudding, a coffee shop or restaurant becomes our temporary home. Paying for our coffee, and maybe a cheese scone actually buys us short -term residence .We choose a group of chairs which look pleasing, and settle into the ambiance of a place where we are required to do nothing but relax. We take in the décor, the plants, and the few little flowers arranged for our pleasure in a milk jug or paste jar. We even acquire temporary neighbours at adjacent tables .We may admire a ‘neighbour’s hat, or wish that they would point their child in the direction of a handkerchief. We may even be fortunate enough to have newspapers and perhaps the odd ‘House Beautiful’ to peruse. Nothing escapes our notice, even the small grains of rice in the salt cellar are jiggled about by a curious grandchild. We pick up leaflets, a small collection of them for places we are unlikely to visit. We can’t resist [or I can’t anyway] those chunky, sand-coloured sugar lumps which taste of toffee. I don’t take sugar but I do actually take the sugar. The period during which we wait for our meal is one of glorious expectation, and discussions about what everyone is having supersedes Brexit talks. Deciding whether to pick from the menu or special’s board is a make or break situation! How I would love to try a spoonful of everything. Our lunch or dinner table is a gathering of folk, all trying to outdo each other on how much we have all suffered, or what stupendous holidays we have all been on. Anyone Having Grown up on bread and dripping, without a seat in their trousers becomes the star entertainer! We marvel at how far they have come. I’m sorry to finger the last crumb of my scone, or finish my last chip, because it’s time to go. I will visit the ‘rest room’, although I don’t really need to, just to enjoy the last dregs of tenancy and have a squirt of the French lavender hand soap!

CONTACT ME: If anyone has anything to add to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [telephone 01797 280311]