Winchelsea & Winchelsea Beach news
Winchelsea & Winchelsea Beach news

Benson’s life: Don’t forget this evening November 18th the Literary Society is meeting in the Lower Court Hall for a talk by Allan Downend on the life and work of the novelist E.F. Benson’s famous for his Mapp and Lucia books. Doors open at 7 for 7.30pm and there will be light refreshments on arrival.

Black Cat Gallery: All are invited to the Black Cat Gallery in Castle Street on Saturday November 19th between 5.30 and 7pm. The reason is for a glass of wine and a chance to meet the artists who have exhibited their work throughout the year. A selection of pictures will be on sale from each artist plus a wide variety of gifts and cards ranging in price.

Curious Incident: The next Literary Society outing takes place in the new year. This will be to see the matinee performance of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ on Thursday March 9th 2017 at 2.30pm in The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. The Literary Society has reserved tickets for this National Theatre production of Mark Haddon’s play and the email address to contact is: A block of seats in the stalls, rows G-K, are available and the price depends on how many come as there is a group discount, so could be between £26 to £30. If you would like to attend please leave a deposit of £2 with Hilary and the remainder will need to be settled by January 6th at the latest.

A Shetland summer: Last Saturday morning the Rev. Ian Pruden gave an entertaining talk in the Wesley Chapel on his sabbatical to the Shetland Islands during one of the hottest summers on record. Methodism is the second largest denomination on the Shetlands, after the Church of Scotland and Ian had planned to visit and preach at some of the chapels. He began his journey with a copy of the Shetland dictionary which enabled some understanding of the Norse-Scottish dialect in the event of chatting with the locals. He was also to encounter a less familiar way of life during his 3 months’ retreat. After a stay in Lerwick he drove to various remote areas for services uncertain whether the chapel would still be open or if the scheduled times had changed without notification, as was often the case. Sometimes he preached to a congregation of about three who, being small in number were likely to choose the invisibility of the seats at the back of the chapel. In the end he would reposition himself nearer to where they sat. As was the custom in rural areas they listened intently, showed little response but were always polite to the speaker. Flocks of sheep grazing in the chapel vicinity were a friendly sight to Ian on his lone travels and on one visit he was confronted by a magnificent Billy goat whose pointed horns looked set to impale his car door. Since Shetland’s population is only 23,000 people scattered over the islands and public transport is minimal it was not an altogether surprising turnout of congregants. Many chapels become ‘owned’ by the small numbers that frequent them and as he discovered it was not easy to fit in as an outsider. Much of the travelling involved catching ferries to and from the islands and one of his visits was to the notable Haroldswick Methodist Church on Unst which is the most northerly church in the UK. Shetland is about 70 miles in length from Sumburgh Head in the south to Muckle Flugga in the north at Unst and nowhere is more than three miles from the sea. Ian showed slides of all the places he visited which included blazing red sunsets, sandy beaches and remarkable views of the coastline. It was clear skies throughout his stay but on the return journey he was beset by thick fog and could barely see the road. After driving most of the way at snail’s pace his anxiety increased at the thought of missing the ferry back to Lerwick. Fortunately, he arrived with enough time left to watch for otters along the water’s edge before boarding the ferry.

Supermoon: The largest supermoon since January 26th 1948, appeared last Monday November 14th. It was at its closest point to the Earth and has not been this close in almost 69 years. Nor will it be this close again until November 2034. However, just like the eclipse of last year it was obscured by cloud cover, so did not get to see it in this area. Nevertheless, this is eventful. Going from super President which is seen as a vote for the free world and also good to have the USA as allies, to the watchful eye of the supermoon, all within a few days, these are interesting times.

Winchelsea Beach

Crete’s wild flowers: Crete is clearly an ideal location for the splendid variety of wild flowers growing there in abundance. From Bear’s breeches to Pink rockrose, Cretan ebony and much more why would anybody living want to do gardening? You will find out more tomorrow, November 19th at 2.30pm in the Community Hall, when Jenny and John Willsher give their talk on some of the 1700 species of wild flowers in Crete. The talk is open to all and donations towards Rye Harbour Nature Reserve would be greatly appreciated.

Marine Pollution: Andy Dinsdale will be giving a talk on ‘Marine Pollution and the state of our local beaches’ on Tuesday November 22nd. The talk is arranged by the Rother Environmental Group and will be held in the Benson Room in The George, High Street, Rye at 7.15pm. Andy has run almost 50 beach cleans since 2006 with the help of over 500 volunteers in that time. In his talk he will be explaining where all the flotsam, jetsam and rubbish has come from that humans throw away. He has recently finished studying with The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the Open University of the Netherlands on Marine Litter and is currently working towards Atlantic wide community engagement to create upstream solutions to this ocean wide problem.

Festive Table Sale: Next Saturday November 26th the WBCA are holding their pre-Christmas Table Sale at 11am in the Community Hall (contact 01797 229163 for details). As always everyone is invited and the cost is 50p entry which includes a glass of mulled wine plus a special Christmas tombola.

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