Cindi Cogswell, 31 Highfords, Icklesham

This weekend is the Harvest Flower Festival at St Thomas’ Church and you will find the church has been gloriously decorated to fit the season. The occasion is a Celebration in Flowers of the Season of Harvest by the Clubs and Societies of Winchelsea and the church will be open on Saturday 12th and Monday 14th October between 10am and 5pm and on Sunday 13th from 12pm to 5pm. There will be refreshments and afternoon tea available daily from 2.30 to 4.30pm and on Saturday a Ploughman’s Lunch will be served between 12 and 2pm. Taking place in the church at 7pm on Saturday will be a recital by the Webb Family Trio called Larks Ascending. The music includes Haydn and Debussy amongst others and will be played by the two children, 12 and 8 years old on violin and cello, with their father accompanying them. If you would like to buy tickets they are £10 each from Winchelsea Post Office. On Sunday 13th the Harvest Festival Service will be held as a communion service at the Church to thank the Lord God for the harvest. This celebration will begin at 10.30am and be led by Philip Jones the Archdeacon.

A guided Cellar Tour has been arranged by Winchelsea Archaeological Society for Sunday October 13th. The tour starts in Castle Street at 2pm until about 3.30pm and the cost is £5 p.p. with funds in aid of archaeology in Winchelsea. If you would like to book tickets you can go to the website: or phone 01797 224446.

Tuesday October 15th is the day of the Harvest Festival for St Thomas’ Primary School. This service will begin at 9am in the church and the children will be bringing along their gifts of fruit, vegetables, flowers and tinned food. Later that day after school the produce will be distributed amongst local people and be gratefully received. The friends of the church, families and residents are all very welcome to come and join with the school on this special occasion.

There are still some places left on the coach for the Wisley RHS Gardens trip on Wednesday October 16th. You don’t want to miss this opportunity of seeing the display of autumn colours, visiting the excellent nursery and enjoying the cuisine. The coach leaves the bus stop by the Town Sign at 7am and returns by 6pm. If you haven’t got your tickets already, they are £17 each and can be bought from Linda in the Post Office.

The season of winter talks by the Rye and District Association of the National Trust begins on Thursday October 17th with A Victorian Naturalist presented by Melvin Smith. Please note there is a change of venue for this season and all talks will be at Brede Village Hall commencing at 2pm. The entrance fee of £2 for members and £3 non-members includes refreshments after the talk. On Saturday October 26th there will be a Quiz Night at Beckley Village Hall beginning at 7pm. Following the success of this event over recent years the NT are hoping to present you with another entertaining evening including a freshly cooked supper. Teams should be 8 players and if you can organise your own all the better. Otherwise arrangements can be made for you to join a team that is short on players. There will be a charge of £8 p.p. and you will need to contact Danny Rushbrooke on 01797 253521 before October 15th to reserve your table in your team name.

Robert Browning is the subject of the talk by John Davidson at the Literary Society’s next meeting on Friday October 18th. Born in Camberwell (1812-1890) Robert Browning was a poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic monologues made him one of the leading Victorian poets. A well-known and memorable quote from his poem Rabbi Ben Ezra is: ‘Earth changes but thy soul and God stand sure’. The Court Hall will be open at 7 for 7.30 pm and non-members are invited to come and listen. At the last committee meeting, concern was expressed about people with hearing difficulties so, as an experiment John Davison has agreed to wear a lapel mic to amplify his words. If you have any other ideas about how this issue might be tackled please let one of the committee know.

Two performances of the comic opera Patience will be presented by the Winchelsea Singers early next month. These will be on Friday November 1st at 2pm and Saturday November 2nd at 7pm in the New Hall. Patience or Bunthorne’s Bride by W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan is a satire about two rival poets who try to attract the attention of the village milk maid but she has little use for poetry and is bewildered by the meaning of love. There will be refreshments available on the Friday and a bar on the Saturday. For tickets (£10 each) please contact 01797 223159 or visit Winchelsea Post Office.

The latest news on the historic Wesley tree is that it is looking rather sad having been severely pruned by the County Council’s contractors to remove any decay, fungus or White Rot. However this may only give the tree a respite so if you would like to take a cutting please speak to Richard Comotto.

The unfortunate state of the tree was discussed at the Methodist Chapel’s Harvest Festival service last Saturday morning but with some optimism that it had a good chance of returning to its former glory. Rev Richard Dengate who led the service and is an experienced apple farmer suggested growing an apple tree in the area to add to the yield. He also talked on Joseph and the seven years of plenty in Egypt followed by the seven years of famine. Through careful planning Joseph’s storehouses contained enough grain to distribute to the nations throughout the period of famine. Rev Dengate compared this to the concept of a spiritual famine across the nations. He added that the church, as the spiritual storehouse should demonstrate much more a spiritual outpouring of the gospel in preparation for the harvest.

A Winchelsea resident and dog walker performed a praiseworthy act last week when she single-handedly rescued a sheep from drowning in the river at the Brede Valley. While walking with her dog during the morning she noticed the sheep struggling to keep its head above water and it appeared to have been there several hours probably overnight. Leaving her patient dog to wait by the bank she hastily waded into the river and several exhaustive attempts later was able to drag the waterlogged and fearful sheep from the mud-soaked water. Once the sheep was lying safely on dry ground in the hope of recovery she left, unperturbed by her damp state. This unsung hero later explained that it had been a strenuous ordeal because the sheep was weighed down by its drenched fleece but the effort was well worth it.

Winchelsea Beach

An Autumn Migration Watch has been organised by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for tomorrow (Saturday) at 9am. The plan is that you will join the warden on a three mile walk in a search for warblers in the bushes, waders on the islands and wagtails overhead. Warblers are more easily heard than seen and may be identified by their song; waders are long-legged like the sandpiper or heron and wagtails are small birds with long tails that frequently wag and who feed on insects. Please meet at Brede Lock as from 9am to 12pm and donations will be gratefully received in aid of the Reserve.

On Sunday October 13th there will be no morning worship at St Richard’s Church but all are invited to the Harvest Festival service in St Thomas’ Church (Winchelsea) at 10.30am. This will be a communion service and the Archdeacon Philip Jones will be leading the celebration.

Icklesham Parish Council meets for its monthly council meeting on Monday October 14th in the Community Hall. The meeting starts at 7.15pm and ex-councillors and local residents are welcome to attend.