Play read-through: This evening (Friday) the Literary Society is having its monthly meeting in the Lower Court Hall at 7 for 7.30pm. Members will group together for the read-through of J. B. Priestley’s play ‘An Inspector Calls’ and Lorna Challand will be allocating parts. The main characters are Sybil and Arthur Birling and of course Inspector Goole and the play is set in 1912 during the industrial Midlands. To help set the scene here are some memorable quotes: ‘a man has to mind his own business and look out for himself and his own’ and ‘The Germans don’t want war’.

Heckerty in Rye: Jan Ziff’s latest book Heckerty Spells is being launched in time for Halloween at the Rye Book Shop in the High Street tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am and at Waterstones in Tenterden at 3pm and she will be doing a reading and book signing. Children are all welcome to participate in the Heckerty story, gifts and fun. Ann Rachlin the mother of Jan Ziff will be there with Iain Kerr who performed the life-size version of Heckerty on stage when he and Ann toured the UK appearing in Fun with Music concerts at musical festivals. Heckerty was the creation of Ann Rachlin and her late husband conductor/pianist Ezra Rachlin in the early eighties. They first developed Heckerty as a magical character for children in the form of a hand-sized puppet who was not very good at spells in Ann’s ‘Fun with Music’ series for children, before Heckerty became life-size. Now the property of Jan Ziff she has skillfully transformed Heckerty into a comical animated character in Apps and children’s books, teaching how to read and spell in entertaining ways. In the Heckerty series there are currently seven free Apps and seven books.

Under Winchelsea: There is an opportunity to go underground and visit some of the medieval cellars which Winchelsea is famous for and guess at the functions of these cellars. How were they used in the wine trade with Gascony? Were they simply for storage and retail or did they double up as taverns for the locals? If the latter then getting up and down those slippery steps after a few tankards of Bordeaux would have seen many hospital cases. The cost of the 90 minute guided tour is £5 which includes a guidebook with proceeds in aid of Archaeology in Winchelsea. To make a booking the number to ring is 01797 224446 and you will need to be in Castle Street for 2pm this Sunday October 18th and please wear sensible shoes.

The Mikado: Tickets are now on sale for the Winchelsea Singers latest production this November beginning on Friday 6th at 2pm and Saturday 7th at 7.30pm in the New Hall. After many rehearsals to perfect those high notes the Singers are now ready to perform the Mikado which is Gilbert & Sullivan’s beautifully executed satire of Japanese court life in the 1880s. This popular comic opera with all its flamboyance is famous for such songs as: ‘Three little maids from school’, ‘Willow tit-willow’ and ‘the lord high executioner’. If you would like to purchase tickets they are £10 each from The Farm Kitchen or by phone on 01797 223159. During Friday’s performance refreshments will be served and on the Saturday a Bar will be available.

Dem bones Dem bones: Last Saturday afternoon in the Church Dr John Crook explored the development of Medieval Cults and Shrines in his well-illustrated talk which drew on his expertise in archaeology, architecture, history and photography. Referring to details in his book ‘English Medieval Shrines’ Dr Crook explained how the cult of saints was a physical experience of medieval piety whereby saints were believed to be present in their bodily remains left on earth. People thus sought physical proximity to the dry bones of saints in the hope that this connection would bring about a blessing. As a result the shrines were built to protect these relics while allowing pilgrims some access to them through large ‘portholes’ in the stonework. Often over-zealous pilgrims would manoeuvre themselves into the narrow space to lie as close as possible to the stone encasement which separated them from the relics. This activity had its difficulties as the process of crawling in and out required careful manipulation and it was possible to be trapped and entombed until help arrived. Dr Crook traced the progress of shrines from the late Roman Empire to the Norman Conquest, leading to the elaborate shrines of the 14th and 15th centuries found in churches and cathedrals. These contained the relics of famous cult idols like St Cuthbert, St Swithun, St Thomas Becket and St Eanswyth of Folkestone who acquired a form of celebrity status worshipped by devoted pilgrims. At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century the cult of saints was discarded as superstition and rejected by the Reformers who saw it as a denial of the total mediation of Jesus Christ.

Winchelsea Beach

Aspects of Nature: Colin Page, local naturalist and member of the Rye Camera Club will be giving a delightfully illustrated talk on a variety of curious aspects of nature in the Rye Bay area. This is part of the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve’s Winter Talk series and is entitled ‘Nature’s Curiosities’. The talk is held tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm in the Community Hall and is open to all with donations appreciated in aid of the Nature Reserve.

Dance tomorrow: Don’t forget tomorrow evening is the Halloween Dance for the young at heart with a variety of live music from Ricochet in the Community Hall at 7.30 till 10.30pm. A fish ‘n chip supper is included in the £10 p.p. admission and tickets can be bought from Hugh at Suttons in Sea Road or 01797 224820 with proceeds to Winchelsea Beach Community Association and St Michael’s Hospice. Please note there are no tickets on the door as they must be purchased beforehand.

Healing service: Sunday 18th October is St Luke’s Feast Day on the church calendar and St Richard’s Church will be hosting a healing service for the whole of Rye Deanery beginning at 6pm. The Rector Robin Whitehead will lead the service which will also be attended by the Rural Dean and all are very welcome to join in this event. As the first Christian physician St Luke is regarded as the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. He was a gentile and friend of St Paul whom he accompanied in prison at Rome on two occasions. Luke is also the writer of the third gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and his writings are firsthand accounts of events which happened 2000 years ago.

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