Morris Dancing: The East Surrey Morris Men will be performing their annual Morris Dancing in Winchelsea this Sunday May 27th between 4.45 and 5.30pm. As usual they will be in Castle Street and all are welcome to come along, watch and cheer them on. The event will be hosted by Winchelsea Guy Fawkes whose aim as a society is maintain this special Sussex tradition and continue the town’s bonfire procession and fireworks display.

FOAM Cellars: There will be guided tours of the town’s medieval cellars during June and these will be on Saturday 2nd, Sunday 10th and Saturday 16th. You will need to phone 07596 182 874 to reserve your place and the cost is £6 per person with all proceeds in aid of the charity, Friends of the Ancient Monuments and Museum of Winchelsea. The tours take about 90 minutes and the meeting place is the Town Well in Castle Street at 10.50 for an 11am start. These tours are an opportunity to discover more about the history of the cellars from well-informed guides and since many of the steps have difficult access please make sure you are wearing sensible footwear.

Choir Singing: Next Saturday June 2nd the choir Occasional Consort will be performing, Music for a Summer Evening at 7.30pm in St Thomas’ Church. Everybody invited and tickets are £10 each available on the door and this includes a complimentary glass of wine. The choir will be singing Telemann ‘Jesu Meine Freude’ and Purcell ‘O Sing unto the Lord’, as well as a selection of British folk songs. The Leader is Anne Whiteman and accompanist is Shirley Carey, with instrumentalists led by Peter Field. It was in 1995 that Shirley Carey formed The Occasional Consort which was made up of members of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and Kingsland Singers. Before the choir grew they used to meet just once a fortnight, hence the name ‘occasional’ and they concentrate mainly on music from the Baroque period.

Garden Tour: The Garden Society is planning a visit to the gardens at Godinton House on Tuesday June 19th. Godinton is only 45 minutes away, near the village of Great Chart and so departure time is 2pm from the bus stop by the Town Sign, to be back by 6pm. The cost, including coach and entry to the garden is £17 and tickets are on sale at the Farm Kitchen. Godinton is a magnificent garden of twelve acres in total and the visit is timed to coincide with their famous delphinium festival. If you wish, you can pay £5 extra on the day as there is an opportunity to visit the Jacobean house with its medieval hall.

Hymn Workshop: Last Friday evening, poet, writer, headmaster and clergyman Jonty Driver gave his workshop on favourite and less popular hymns for the Literary Society. He had collated a selection of hymns printed on four sheets of A4 and everybody was given copies to study. A favourite was ‘Lead Kindly Light’ by John Henry Newman (1833) with its humility and hope for the repentant soul. Less elevating was ‘Sing we a song of high revolt’, by Fred Kaan (1929) its earth-bound clumsy rhythm propounded with ‘He calls us to revolt and fight, with him for what is just and right, to sing and live Magnificat in crowded street and council flat’. Although conversely, the corporeal ‘God of concrete God of steel and Lord of soaring satellite’ inspired greatly with its end lines reminding that ‘all the world of power is thine’, by Jones (1926). But this in turn lacked the emotion of Kipling’s Recessional (1897) ‘For heathen heart that puts her trust, in reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust that builds on dust’. In Dearmer’s modified version of ‘To be a Pilgrim’ 1867-1936 (the original written by John Bunyan 1628-88) he omits the most striking line ‘Hobgoblin nor foul fiend, can daunt his spirit’. Those same words are found in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, referring to the valley of the shadow of death, where the light is darkness and a significant challenge for the Pilgrim to overcome. Also mentioned as an old favourite was Blake’s Jerusalem (1757-1827) which affirms ‘I will not cease from mental strife, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land’. These brave poetic words were written at a time when the real Jerusalem was desolate apart from a remnant of Jews, during the exile/diaspora. Few would have foreseen, at the time how Israel’s capital Jerusalem would be restored to the great city it is today; thus fulfilling Bible prophecy (Isaiah 66:7-8) Another favourite, briefly mentioned was William Cowper (1770) who suffered depression for many years. One of his most popular hymns is ‘There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains’ which was written at a redemptive stage in his life. The general agreement at the meeting was that the old hymns with their biblical references were preferred to the modern more toned-down versions, so perhaps a revival is needed.

Winchelsea Beach

Sale Day: This Saturday May 26th the Community Hall will be open at 2pm for the spring Table Sale with many bargains available. If you would like to book a table to sell your wares, please phone 01797 224820 and everybody is welcome. There will be a good tombola during the Sale and admission is 50p which includes tea and biscuits.

Pub 31: The local 4-piece rock and pop band Octavia (Deep Sea Drivers) will be playing a mix of great classics on Sunday May 27th. Turn up at Pub 31 on Sea Road at 1.30pm to be sure not to miss the entertainment.