Rodmell and Southease

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SCHOOL HOURS: I am writing this on the morning of Budget Day and am listening to people debating on TV if it’s a good idea for schools to have longer hours. I was sent to a school (against my will I might say) for young ladies to learn shorthand and typing, not good for someone who wanted to work in agriculture. Needless to say, from the day I left school I have hardly touched a typewriter and I certainly never ever used shorthand or became a secretary. However, I digress, as what I want to say is that my school didn’t finish until 4.30pm and I don’t think any of us minded. I also walked to school, which was about two miles away and back in the evening, but as we had one and a half hours for lunch and I hated school dinners, I did get a bus home for lunch and back most days.

HORSE RACING: I love watching the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Both sides of my family have connections with horse racing and horse training so I suppose it’s in my blood. My mother loves to watch the races at her great age (96 years). She tells me I almost fell out of my pram when I was one your old, trying to get to the milkman’s horse. A friend of mine and my family, Col Guy Westmacott, owned several race horses, one being Saffron Tartan, who won the Gloucester Hurdle at Cheltenham, ridden by Tommy Burns; was second in the Blagrove Memorial, also at Cheltenham and finally won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham ridden by Fred Winter. Guy also had a wonderful horse named Hurly Burly and an American horse named Spinner. Oranstown, Lindbergh, Entrust, Prince Cosmo, Random Knight, Glengarra, Prince Brownie, Red Mills and Torano were other horses Guy owned over the years. As Guy and his wife Sissie lived in Rodmell for many years it isn’t surprising that he also owned a horse named Rodmell which he bought for £400 and was his first horse. Rodmell was a very fast jumper and won the Pegasus Cup at Fontwell Park for three years running. I’m so glad Guy isn’t around now to see the dreadful behaviour at the races, such as went on recently with so called ladies baring their breasts at the press and footballers peeing into glasses then pouring it onto the people below them from the balcony. What sort of society are we turning into? I and many of my friends always say now that we are pleased to be in our later years and hopefully won’t be around to see the complete degradation of our society.

COFFEE MORNING: Our ever popular coffee morning will be held in the village hall on Wednesday at 11am.

TALK: Sadly I missed Kevin Gordon’s talk, Sussex Graves and Gravestones, which he gave to Rodmell and Southease WI on March 15. I forgot about it and I was rather miffed as it’s the sort of subject I have an interest in.

HEIR HUNTERS: For readers that watch the Heir Hunters on TV, you never know it may be you they are seeking some time. I had them notify me last year and happily I met three second cousins I never knew I had, which was rather nice as we still keep in touch. A few months ago they contacted me yet again, about a relative that I never knew. She died in 1988 and they’ve only just found me. There were many scandals in the Berkeley’s, my grandma’s family and it is all a bit Downton Abbeyish. As I am researching the family because I want to write a book about my grandmother’s life, I am finding out more and more that many years ago I would have not been able to.

LITTER: Congratulations and thanks to all those people I’ve seen out litter picking of late. Our countryside is getting more and more like a tip and needs people like them. It’s rather ironic I think, to find the people that mainly sponsored the Clean for The Queen day were the fast food chains who cause most of the littering because a good many of their customers throw their packaging out of car windows. Around here it seems to be children coming back from school that leave plastic drinking cups and chocolate wrappers etc along the banks outside our cottages.

NEW CROSSING: The new crossing outside Lewes Station seems to be an accident just waiting to happen on account of where it’s been placed. I feel motorists must be aware that when all the children turn out from school, they use the nearby shops then dash out at the last minute to catch a train or a lift home, giving no time for motorists to stop. I’ve seen many near misses. Wouldn’t a press button crossing have been better? I suspect finance comes into this. Let’s hope we don’t have any fatalities.

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