CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.
COUNTY ELECTIONS: What happened to the usual flurry of leaflets through the letter box and candidates calling at the door. This is the first year that I have not had anyone ringing the doorbell to promote their party, hoping to get elected to the council. And not a leaflet anywhere to be seen. Saved having to discard a whole heap of paperwork. Listening to Radio Sussex the morning after the election, many people phoned in to ask the same question.
SWALLOWS: At last the swallows have arrived and it is such a joy to watch them return to their old nesting sites. I now have to be careful walking in the drive as they suddenly swoop in and out of the old stables, just missing my head. I enjoy watching them early in the evening when they leave their nests and fly overhead catching insects on the wing. There are not quite so many at the moment, but last year another lot arrived a couple of weeks later. I do hope that they are not on the list of the hunters who shoot birds as they start to migrate.
OPEN GARDEN: Don’t forget that the lovely garden at Offham House will be open again on Sunday June 4, from 1pm to 5pm. Admission £5, children free. Dogs welcome on leads. Tea and home-made cakes on sale. Romantic garden with fountains and pretty flower borders, glasshouses and the children will love the chickens, guinea fowl, sheep and also a friendly pig. Offham House can be found on the main road (A275) through Offham and between Offham Filling Station and the Blacksmiths Arms. Offham Church is opposite the Blacksmiths Arms. It is a very special year for the National Garden Scheme who are celebrating 90 years of opening for charity.
PREDATORS: The ravens are still attacking my windows, along with rooks and crows and I watching in horror as a huge crow snatched one of the beautiful goldfinches as it was feeding on one of the hanging feeders. It flew off with the little bird in its huge beak. I also saw a kestrel hawk snatch a blue-tit from the nut feeder. Nature can be so cruel.
PARISH COUNCIL: East Chiltington PC met on May 11. Following apologies for absence came the election of the chairman and vice chairman and also to consider the vacancy on the council.
PLANNING MATTERS: LW/170249 Land adjacent to Mount Pleasant, Highbridge Lane. Construction of new dwelling with associated parking and landscaping. Objection. SDNP/17/01757 Barn at Wooton Farm, Novington Lane. Section 73a retrospective application for change of use of equestrian stable to commercial food preparation kitchen and associated dry food store. LW/17/0227 Upper Burrells, Chiltington Lane. Replacement of two windows and frames. LW/16/1045 Land adjacent to Mount Peasant, Highbridge Lane. Demolition of three buildings and a shed and construction of a new dwelling with associated parking and landscaping. The application was withdrawn.
HAMSEY PARISH COUNCIL: Met on May 18. Under planning matters the following application, which is in the South Downs Park, as follows SDNP/16/06226/FUL Land adjacent to Offham Barns. Two additional pitches and conversion of two stables to day room ancillary to Gypsy site. I am sure that there will be a lot of interest in this one. Other applications were SDNP/17/01126/LIS 17 Bank Cottages, The Street, Offham. Replacement of two rear windows. Granted. LW/16/0935 Chatfields yard, Cooksbridge. Construction of 27 swellings with landscaping, access and parking. Granted. LW/17/0126 4 Chandlers Mead, Cooksbridge. Construction of a log cabin to rear garden to run a dog grooming business. LW/17/0030 Knights Court, South Road, South Common. Redevelopment of the site with six residential units to replace business units. Granted. SDNP/16/06376 The Old Wheelwrights Shop, The Street, Ofham. Retention of doorway on ground floor and partial removal of stud partition on first floor. Granted. LW/17/0117 Former Hamsey Brickworks, South Road, South Common. Removal of Condition 27 attached to planning approval LW/14/0712. Refused.
MATTERS ARISING: From the March meeting. Reply received from ESCC regarding the telegraph poles in Wickham Lane. Planning is not required. Clerk has contacted the owner of the overhanging hedge in Whitfield Lane, Hamsey.
AFTERNOON CLUB: The Monday Afternoon Club next meet on June 12 in Offham Church Hall at 2pm. Members will be able to take part in easy craft making with Sylvie. Tea and home-made cakes to follow. Contact Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline on 01273 477151 if you require a lift to the meeting.
TOADS: I used to have a lot of toads around here, but sadly have not seen any for a few years. For many years the toad catchers could be seen along the Offham road with their buckets, moving them safely across the road to journey to the Offham brooks. It would appear that they have moved home and gone to Cambridge as I have just read that a local group are installing miniature ladders in the drains at Cambridge so that amphibians that fall in on their way to breed ponds can climb out instead of drowning.
ENGLISH WINE: The heavy April frost that we had has wiped out at least half of this year’s grape harvest, hitting buds that had bloomed earlier than usual thanks to the warm start that we had to the year. Very sad for the vineyard owners when so much work and care goes into it.
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