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.
Christmas Story Part 3: Her trepidation was soon forgotten as she centred on her quest to get to the Farm in the Steppes where destiny beckoned. Online, the ability to secure passage to Moscow was straightforward and reasonable. Her seat was on a plane that was half empty, as the rush to “Christmas at home” had yet to begin. The number of her seat was soon etched in her memory and was near the division between economy and business. Competition among many National airlines covering that route gave great advantage to the passenger and she guessed an upgrade could be possible with the lack of people on her flight.
Unfortunately, her struggle was with the second half of her expedition, the tedious train journey from Moscow to Vladivostok, which tested her understanding of how to secure passage, not only with the difficulties of the Russian language, which had never been expanded in her up-bringing despite her ancestral connection, but the distance in miles of each segment, required to over such a great journey. .What would she do on those 20 days, looking out the window on snow, forests and isolation?
Her compartment, well at least on the screen, looked clean and appropriate on the website displaying the standard details. Would that be replicated in actuality? She felt a slight trepidation at her impending adventure, when she realised the implications of her actions. She would be alone, in a country she knew nothing about and travelling across great tracts of land without the possibility of stopping in a crisis. Her resolve was slightly affected but her need to understand her history suddenly took the ascendancy once again. The adventure was beginning.
Her wardrobe needed careful attention. Warmth and comfort were a priority and fashion may need to be pushed down the list. Faux fur, scarves, head-wear and fleece-lined boots seemed the obvious choice. She had the beginnings of the things she needed but a minor spree in her local town-centre would be required. A large case on wheels would also figure in the equipment required to turn the journey into a triumph. Gloves, sheepskin and traditional, would complete the look of a person that knew she was entering the world of a Russian Winter.
Happy, she climbed the stairs. Sleep, if it ever came, would herald the dawn of her great adventure. Morning she knew, would open the world for her and make her understand at last that feeling that she had never quite belonged in this part of the planet, that something needed sourcing from a different time and place.
The alarm bell rang and her languid arm tried to find the switch to silence its annoying chimes. It was a new day and a new experience. Across the world a story would unfold. The fragments of paper that had started her voyage of discovery were kept in a special leather wallet, a treasure soon to divulge its worth. Would she find the lineage that had eluded her? Find the ancestors that would make her family complete? So many questions. So many answers. She needed roubles. Needed a visa. Could she do that quickly?
Just then the phone rang. She looked at the clock. Ten minutes past six. Darkness still shrouded the beginning of the day. Curtains were almost blanking the morning’s dawn. She lifted the receiver. “Hello, can I help?” Her voice was unusually strained. Perhaps the thoughts of the unknown had affected her mind in such a way as to make this normal process have something more sinister attached to her action. Nothing. The line was open but the sound was like something in a black hole.. “Hello. Is anybody there?” Still no response. The first feelings of fear began to pervade her body. She could feel a cold hand almost touching her heart and wanting to squeeze. “Who are you ?” Her voice was raised to utter this question. At that moment the phone went dead.
More next week...
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 or thereabouts.
Netherfield Village Hall Christmas Party: Did you read this entry last week? This year’s Netherfield Christmas Party will be held on Saturday 9th December at the Netherfield Village Hall. The music licence is now in place and the Disco has been paid for, sponsored by Optivo. Those favourites, that give you that dancing feeling, make you want to rock your socks, pump your pretzals and show you up for looking silly, 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!
Reflections on a Garden: Leaves, leaves and more leaves and I don’t mean those that are associated with tea. They are still everywhere floating round the garden like a load of green peas on a dinner plate. As you try to catch them on your knife they seem to keep eluding you. I have tried treacle on my fork, that is the garden one not the one in doors, sucking them up with one of those new blower/sucker machines and sweeping them up with a broom, but still they keep coming back.
I was very remiss this year at the time of the cessation of flowering on each of the weigela plants. Pruning is, I understand, essential after the plant has shown its wares to promote similar blossoms in the following season. These deciduous shrubs (thank god for the internet) come in a variety of colours and in my view, add a spectacular burst of colour during the late spring. Unfortunately, I seemed to have forgotten to snip the new growth from the old so, because I am doing it now, will result in less of a display in 2018 as it only flowers on wood that is a year old. Oh well, at least they look tidy.
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Claverham Monday Badminton Club: The magnificent ten, turned up for this weekly shuttle-fest, rackets blazing and ready to get into action against all-comers. Sounds like a good plot for a “cowboy” film but maybe with only seven in it. No, probably wouldn’t work. Anyway, it started slow but soon the players got into the mood. We did notice the hall was a bit cool one end, where we play I might add, but with the heat of battle, the space soon warmed up.
I often wonder what I would do on a Monday night if I didn’t play badminton. Watch the TV, play scrabble, read a book? Those are alternatives that do have some appeal, but then I wouldn’t look stupid as I miss a shot if I was placing an “E” at the end of a word and getting 20 points on a scrabble board and everybody was saying well done. At least with badminton, as I am being laughed at I have the satisfaction of knowing I still look good in shorts.
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