Iden

GRADUALLY LETTING GO: I get very attached to my old tea -towels. I have tea towels in the kitchen drawer as thin as tracing paper, and as holy as a priest, and yet I can’t bring myself to throw them out. It’s not that I have nothing to replace them with. I still have a stack of new Christmas tea towels in the airing cupboard from last year, and got another stack this year, and although the oldest of my tea towels haven’t enough material left to dry up an egg cup, I mourn them when I finally relent and settle them into the duster bag. It’s like leaving them in an old folk’s home with a bottle of barley water and a clean nightie. They have been constant companions, and like a fine wine, they’ve matured with age and become just right for drying up. New tea towels need a lot of breaking-in don’t they, a good few washes before they are fit for purpose. Oh, sentimentality isn’t just for family and old friends is it? I’ve been wearing a pair of socks for ages, totally absent of heels, but my heart still melts a little when I roll them up together snug as a bug in a rug, and I can’t get rid of them either. A resolution for 2019. Please learn to let go of inanimate objects!

THE 100 ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF THE IDEN AND DISTRICT NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY: Just before Christmas I was visited by Melvin Smith, the Chairman of the Iden and District Natural History Society, which meets fortnightly, every second and fourth Friday during winter months , in Iden Village Hall. Melvin gave me a precis of the history of this stalwart society, which is a particularly informative organization for all those interested in celebrating the landscape and the creatures and plants which inhabit it. Not only that, many of its lectures offer, nature’s comparisons seen in other parts of the world. Melvin’s love of the natural world has featured in books and magazines, and he will give the first lecture of this 100th year, on January 11th, at 7.30pm, entitled ‘Springs’s Arrival.’ He is justly proud of the society’s achievement. A hundred years ago, a meeting was held in Iden’s post office on 5th January 1919, to consider the formation of the society, and was attended by eight people, five of whom became officers. The first event was a cycle ride to Cliff End. Ted Catt, who became vice president offered his house ‘East View’ for meetings, and until 1951, most meetings were held there, the rest shared between Oxenbridge, the Post Office, The Methodist Chapel, and in Rye, at St. Mary’s Further Education Centre. Within a year, a ‘magic lantern’ was purchased for the princely sum of £2 which took a year to pay off, subscriptions being only 6d a month [Two and a half pence in today’s money] charabanc rides to Brighton and the South Downs were much enjoyed, and as membership grew it was decided to hold all the meetings in Rye [this was before the Village Hall was built]. Meetings returned to Iden in 2004. A yearly subscription costs a minimum of £14, and visitors pay £3. Longevity is always a sign of depth and success, and the Iden and District Natural History Society has more than proved its worth. There is something rather shameful about taking for granted the plants, animals, insects and fungi we live amongst in this particularly countrified area without knowing how they live and what makes them tick, and our Natural History Society through its high standard of lectures is there to enlighten us.

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

A PROFUSION OF HOLLY WREATHS: More and more of late people hang holly wreaths on their front doors at Christmas time don’t they, and aren’t they pretty? A front door without a holly wreath seems bereft somehow. The holly wreath to me is a sign of domesticity within. I convince myself that each house has a woman inside, wearing a red apron, busy making mince pies .I hang holly wreaths on every available door and mirror. It’s their roundness I like. We even have them hanging in the bathroom. They have been put to bed in the loft for another year. Every year I have to revamp them [I think the mice in the attic move them about]. I prefer the ones made of fresh evergreen, but most of mine are made from artificial materials. This year I made two kitchen wreaths from artificial onions, oranges, pears and dried chillies. I found a cheap-jack shop that sold real-looking artificial fruit and veg. My husband practically lives in the loft at Christmas time shunting wreaths and baubles about. He has a perfect right to be a bit of a Bah Humbug. The poor man has a lot to put up with at this time of year!

A LEAF OUT OF A TREE’S BOOK: Did any of you watch that delightful programme about trees last week, hosted by Dame Judy Dench, who with the help of a number of experts, unravelled the secrets of trees? I watched it, and it made me vow to take down the Christmas decorations, because it encouraged viewers to look forward to Spring, and the prospect of all the new leaves on the trees. Trees do tend to lead us through the year by the hand, reminding us via their own mode of dress, that it’s time to leave one season behind, and move onto the next, seamlessly, and without regret. Whatever happens in life, no matter what befalls us, our trees are a constant aren’t they, always there, always positive, encouraging us to press on. When you think about it, trees and the flowers beneath them are cheap entertainment. They are pure theatre, nature’s showbiz, appearing on their seasonal stage, without us having to book on line, queue for tickets or pay a single penny . We are deeply indebted to them!

I WISH YOU ALL A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR: [Keep warm, wear a hat and drink plenty of tea!]

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