Netherfield Village Hall Christmas Party: This year’s Christmas Party will be held on Saturday 9th December at the Netherfield Village Hall. The music licence has been applied for and so the Disco, sponsored by Optivo, will be up and running on the night. Those favourites, old and new, which make you want to rock your socks, pump your pretzals and make yourself look silly doing your Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta impression, will all be spinning round the turntable or being scratched on the CD player. There will be a bucket on the door for donations to keep this venue going, which is a registered charity, and to add some spice a raffle with some interesting prizes. There will also be a children’s lucky dip as well as a bag of sweets for each of them to take home and munch when they go to bed having had a great time. Food will be available as well as drink for the grown-ups. See you there!
Netherfield Breakaway Club: The October meeting of the Netherfield Breakaway Club took place on Thursday 19th at The Emmanuel Centre, Battle. An excellent turnout of members and guests enjoyed a very welcome return of one of our favourite speakers - Delia Taylor. Her subject was ‘the Roaring Twenties’ and they certainly were! The world had just come out of a war and a period of economic growth began in London, Milan and Paris and a decade of fun, fashion, flappers, films and fab inventions followed. The tomb of Tutenkhamun was found and suddenly Egyptian jewellery and
designs were extremely popular. Women discarded corsets and wore camisoles,
short skirts and bobbed hair - cut by barbers until ‘hairdressers’ had been trained to do this! The ‘Marcel Wave’ came in, as did makeup, Chanel No 5 and Brylcreem! Travel by ships rains and planes became very popular and Charles Linberg, the most famous man in the world in the 20s landed in Croydon in
‘Spirit of St Louis’ and was mobbed and pieces of the wings of his plane were removed! In 1924 Henry Ford’s Model T was the first car to be invented and over 15 million were sold and American freezers appeared (but were not in Britain until the late 50s). Also the first dial telephone came on the scene. Band Aid was invented; Radio Vickers, Western Electric and Marconi became the BBC, Radio
Times appeared and gramaphones became popular. In the USA there were ‘bright young things’ too and Jazz was born in New Orleans. This was the music of the time and everywhere ‘The Charleston’ and ‘Black Bottom’ were being danced. Drugs and all night drinking parties were very popular with the offspring of the aristocracy. Famous films - the great Gatsby and Al Jolson the Jazz Singer were followed by the first all talking, singing and dancing Broadway Melody. Stars of the era - Errol Flynn, Ronald Coleman, Rudolf Valentino, Greta Garbo, and Clara Bow were outshone by Rin Tin Tin! Mary Pickford’s husband Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin, who had moved to the USA, founded United Artistes. George Gershwin’s first piece of music ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ became world famous. Sadly all this came to an end after the Wall Street Crash in the USA in 1929, then came the depression and after that World War II.
Delia, an excellent speaker who memorises all her talks, left us in a Charleston mood with members
keen to have a go and she was booked for a return visit in 2019. Members were rreminded that the Christmas lunch will take place on Thursday 14 December, 12.30 for 1 pm, once again at The Brickwall, Sedlescombe and those attending need to confirm and choose their lunch. Refreshments were enjoyed and the raffle was drawn. The November meeting will take place on Thursday 16th, 3 pm and David Chaplin will be speaking on ‘Rwanda Aid’.
St. John the Baptist Netherfield: It’s a little early, but Christmas is coming to our church on Saturday 2nd December. We are holding the annual “Santas Brunch” from 10-12pm. Bacon rolls can be ordered from Mrs Kersey at Netherfield Church of England Primary School, although some may be available on the day. Santa’s Grotto will be waiting with lots of presents for the children. There will be a raffle, lucky dip and plenty of stalls to choose gifts from, including Avon products, a tombola, jewellery, picture frames and other hand made crafts. Outside will be John and Margaret selling potted hyacinths and festive wreathes. The entrance fee is £1 only and children are free. It includes tea, coffee, cakes or biscuits. See you there. Gillian.
Last Sunday saw St. Johns Church hold another annual event, our Remembrance Service. Most of it was held in the church, but the readings of lost local war casualties names and the two minutes silence was held outside in a cold wind. However, it was sunny too. A wreath of poppies was placed on the war memorial. Thank you to Reverend Brian Llewellyn for holding us in his prayers, and reminding everyone that “for pain and shame, there is no gain”. Thanks. Gillian Slack.
The Christmas Serial – Week 2: As she reached that point in the story, of Ludmilla’s impending harm, Natascha closed and laid the heavy book, at first in her lap and then on the small oak table at her side. The light that had illuminated the words of this epic in Russian history, now cast shadows across her strong features. What added to the drama of the words she had read was the certainty that this was based on her own family’s life during this tumultuous period of Russia’s past. Her heart was pounding and she felt the need to relax. She lifted herself from the comfortable chair, it too a relic of these earlier times, and made her way upstairs.
Luxuriating in her bath, Natascha relived the recent months and all that had changed during that time. She felt an odd sense of uncertainty - unusual for her, as she had a reputation of being very self assured. In spite of having achieved most of what she’d set out to do, there was still something nagging away at her, but she just couldn’t pinpoint what it was.
Natascha had enjoyed a relatively normal childhood with loving parents and two siblings. They were all high achievers and it had been seen as perfectly normal for them all to go on from their high schools to university, where each of them had worked hard and done well. Natascha had achieved a first in Economics and had continued with a masters degree. Just about the time when she finished her studies, a well-known and highly respected private bank had been head hunting at the university and she had been snapped up by them as promising material for their head office in the City.
Her progress was rapid, and she was soon - at the tender age of twenty-five - heading up her own department, much to the annoyance of many of the older members of staff who considered her too big for her own boots. Her success had continued. She realized early on that to attain partnership in the bank she would have to be one hundred percent dedicated, meaning that marriage and children did not come into the equation. Her mother had been sad about that, but she had grandchildren enough from the other two to keep her occupied. Natascha had had many affairs, none of which had been long lasting, but it hadn’t worried her too much. She was, she realized, a workaholic. Having reached the pinnacle of her career and become a partner in the firm, she had recently taken a six-month sabbatical and here she was in the first week, enjoying leisure she had never experienced before.
The reason for taking her sabbatical now, was the recent death of her mother; there was a house to be emptied and property to be sold. Yesterday, meaning to clean out the loft, she and her brother and sister had come across the pile of photograph albums that had been steadily added to over the years by their parents. That was the end of the loft clearing. They had sat for hours looking through the years of their babyhood, childhood, school photos, weddings and baptisms and had laughed and cried together all afternoon. In some ancient albums, they had viewed sepia photos of long-dead forebears stirring memories of questions never answered.
Their parents seemed to know very little about the lives of their own parents so it had been pointless asking them about grandparents and great grandparents. They knew only some disjointed names - didn’t even know who they had belonged to, but looking through the albums awakened Natascha’s curiosity again. It appeared that their grandparents’ lives had only begun when they had reached the safety of the U.K., but why had they come, and what had happened that they never wanted to speak about their former lives?
For example, who was this Ludmilla? Who was Kafelnikov? Names that had been written on scraps of paper between the leaves of the ancient albums. There were other names too, but these two seemed to be the oldest. It seemed possible that they had been her great-grandparents, but she didn’t know. Then, a letter with a Russian address had fallen out into her hands. She saw that it had been posted in the Far East of Russia early last century and was fascinated. She had asked a colleague to translate the letter which proved to be a love letter signed by Ludmilla. And this had started her thinking.
Rising somewhat abruptly from the bathtub, she knew what she was going to do. How many miles was it to Vladivostok? Did the Trans-Siberian railway start in Moscow? Quickly getting on to the Internet, she saw that the distance from Moscow to Vladivostok was over 5,700 miles and the journey took about twenty days. She would book the journey tomorrow. She would travel east to try and unravel her family history, a history that had obviously been a very convoluted one. Would this be a step into the unknown and a resurgence of buried, painful memories?
Written by Jennifer Fresacher
If you wish to contribute to the Christmas serial please send your entry to the email address listed in the contact section at the foot of this column. You must end each section with a cliff-hanger and contain enough to cover one side of A4.
Reflections on a garden: With the annual shedding of the leaves almost at an end, growth and the density of branches adorning our trees can be viewed in stark relief. It is amazing how much nature puts on in a single season. If I did that at the same rate I would be the size of a house in 5 years and have to roll to badminton on a Monday night. Anyway, I digress. As we, that is, my good lady and me (poetry in motion almost), measure these mainstays of our garden against the continued sustainability of the house in its current format, we have decided that they need cutting back.
A local, recommended tree-cutter was therefore invited to quote for the business. Suitably attired in Range Rover and high-vis jacket he arrived to give us his professional opinion of what needed to be done.
One of our trees at the front has a vertical bit and then a kink at about 10 feet above the ground putting it on a different path to the trunk. It looked in some positions like an old-tyme garden umbrella (did you notice I even used the antiquated spelling for time here) that used to have a joint in the middle so you could have the top half at an angle. Trouble was, every time the wind blew it used to spin round in a circle knocking everything off the table it was meant to shield from the sun. Oh the good old days.
As he pondered our position, this astute arboriculturalist agreed that the kinky tree was dying and had to be removed, all 30 feet of it. Then he told us the reason, which in the 20 years we have graced our home we have never known, the tree was hit by lightening. That information was like a bolt from the blue. We could even see the scorch marks that had been let on the fissure that ran up the side of the elm. That tree had saved our house from goodness knows what. The strange thing was that we never knew.
More next week....
Claverham Monday Badminto Club: There was onviously very little on television this week as the attendance at the club this week exceeded all expectations. Seventen, yes seventeen players of this fine game. Now I know that was the right number as it reminded me exactly of my age, or have I got that the wrong way round? No matter, it was a very healthy number. These seasoned gladiators came armed with their rackets, ready to be warmed by the heat of battle. Look if you think you can write a better column be my guest.
Whilst in the first hour we were only able to command the use of three courts for the final hour four were in use at the end. Winners, losers, it was the taking part and the fact that everyone feels better for the experience. Sport is the perfect remedy for TV, alcohol, food and having a good time, so come and join us. Only £5 a session. See you there.....
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