Conservation AGM: The Conservation Society has an Annual General Meeting tomorrow Saturday April 30th in the Court Hall at 10am and members are invited to attend. There will also be a talk on Saturday May 14th which has the lengthy title of ‘The work of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the principles of historic building conservation’ and will be given by Matthew Slocombe, its Director. All are welcome to the talk beginning at 2.30pm in the New Hall.

FOAM cellars: Throughout May on the 1st, 2nd (Spring Bank Holiday) 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th the Friends of the Ancient Monuments and Museum have organised guided cellar tours where visitors can explore and learn about the medieval cellars of the town. All tours start at 11am in Castle Street and if you would like to come along the number to phone is 07596 182874. Tickets are £5 p.p. with proceeds in aid of FOAM.

White Cliffs plants: Next Saturday and Sunday May 7th and 8th the White Cliffs Plant Fair by the National Trust will be open from 10am till 4pm. This is the 16th annual fair complete with thousands of beautiful plants all grown by the NT’s dedicated volunteers at reasonable prices. The full address for the Fair is: White Cliffs of Dover, Langdon Cliffs, Upper Road, Dover, Kent CT16 1HJ. Although this is a free event the usual car parking charges will apply and Garden Society members may be interested in attending and sharing lifts.

Great Comp again: Garden Society Chairman Howard Norton has emailed members to explain that the last attempt at a visit to Great Comp didn’t quite work, so the plan is to try again for Thursday 12th May. If you remember, the garden website describes it as a “wonderfully quirky garden showcasing 7 acres of beautiful and rare plants surrounding a 17th century manor house”. William Dyson runs the gardens which are home to his famous salvia collection with many on sale on site at Dyson’s Nurseries. The tea room is also very good. Garden entry is £7 each if 20 or more go otherwise it is £8. Please travel in your own cars and if you can offer a lift let Judith know and if you need one, likewise. The journey takes just over an hour to Comp Lane, St Mary’s Platt, Sevenoaks TN15 8QS and the place to meet is the car park at 2.30pm.

Sheep watch: Every spring the local fields echo to the chanting cries of sheep calling their young. Being naturally curious most lambs are keen to discover this strange new world while their protective mothers endeavour to keep watch. In the absence of a shepherd they rely entirely on their parents and if something goes wrong they are on their own. It is usually the dog walkers crossing the fields who are the first to see a sheep or lamb in distress and this happened one morning last week. The local resident came across a dead sheep in a nearby field with the offspring lamb anxiously trying to feed from its mother; a few yards away lay a dead lamb. The reason for the deaths was not obvious and would likely have occurred during the night. As a result they would not have been checked upon for some hours. On this occasion the dog walker was able to telephone the owners and inform them of the matter and in cases like this the lamb is usually put with a surrogate sheep. Nowadays farming is more impersonal with much work being done at a computer rather than in the field. Despite this sheep do like human contact and being watched over, even though they are usually left to fend for themselves. In more traditional societies the shepherd would bring the flock home to his fold at night, as they were his entire livelihood. He would then lie down in the gate throughout the night to protect the sheep from wolves coming into the sheepfold. The shepherd literally risked his own life for the sheep.

Winchelsea Beach

Table Sale: Don’t forget that tomorrow, Saturday April 30th there is a Table Sale at 11am in the Community Hall. All are invited and plenty of bargains will be available. Admission is 50p which includes tea and biscuits and the proceeds will go towards the Winchelsea Beach Community Association.

Evening Prayer: St Richard’s Church welcomes visitors to the monthly Evening Prayer service of hymns, scriptural readings and the Lord’s Prayer. The service is this Sunday May 1st at 3.30pm and will be led by the Rector with light refreshments to follow.

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