FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD: This week I ventured up to London to buy what seemed like impossibly grown up clothes for my granddaughter (it only seems like yesterday that I was buying her colouring books) and I had forgotten how many people could be squashed into Oxford Street. We live in such a peaceful neck of the woods don’t we, just the odd person sauntering by to get an early morning paper - I often ask my husband if he was trampled in the rush when he goes out for ours (actually that joke is wearing a bit thin). I must say though I am becoming a real country bumpkin because I am so intrigued by all the fashions and antics that can be seen in London. People were walking along wearing such a hotchpotch of different garments (layering I think they call it) like a chiffon dress over leggings with some kind of quirky hat and heels. How I wished I’d been wearing my old slippers on the Tube though after pounding those pavements. No one would have cared a row of beans either, that’s the beauty of London. I saw quite a few people walking or running along while eating a slice of pizza or a burger, too busy to stop. Surely there is nowhere quite like London for sheer audacity? It’s a wonderful city, isn’t it? So alive and so quirky, in fact, that I felt I just wanted to stay there just watching it unfold. However, to be honest, I was glad in the end to get back to peaceful Iden, where the only thing that eats lunch while walking along is a sheep!

WORLD WAR ONE: There will be a talk tonight (Friday) at Iden Parish Church, 6.30pm, entitled ‘Following The Footsteps of A Kitchener Volunteer 1914-1918’. Nicholas Hurst will speak about his father’s life on behalf of the ‘Craft Club’, which supports worthy charities. Tickets include wine and canapés afterwards at the Old Hall, by the church.

TRIBUTE IN FLOWERS: Iden Parish Church is holding a ‘Tribute In Flowers’ to commemorate the centenary of the First World War on August 23, 24 and 25 from 10.30am-4.30pm each day. The church flower group are depicting the war in flowers and afterwards there will be tea, coffee and cakes in the Old Hall. Contributions of cakes will be gratefully received and can be brought to the hall by 10am on each of those days. It should be well worth a visit.

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HOLY COMMUNION: There will be a service of Holy Communion at Iden Parish Church at 9.30am on Sunday August 24.

DEFIBRILLATOR: The defibrillator is located on the wall of Iden village hall. In the event of someone collapsing and it is ascertained the person is without a pulse, you should commence CPR and get someone to ring 999 for an ambulance and a designated code which unlocks the defibrillator, so it can be used until a First Responder arrives and as soon as possible an ambulance.

TRIM THAT VEGETATION: Being one of the worst gardeners in living history I have no room to talk, but East Sussex County Council is urging us all to trim back overhanging hedges, bushes and branches which may obstruct highways and footpaths. Overhanging foliage can obstruct a view and can be dangerous. People can and do complain to the council, who will eventually have the foliage removed and are within their rights to send us the bill. I must admit that I feared for someone’s eyesight recently when large brambles with those wicked thorns stuck out a good couple of feet straight onto a very public pathway. The trouble is, because we have no streetlights in Iden (and I must say I like it that way), people walking by can be badly scratched by brambles they can’t see and avoiding them can mean them stepping out into the road. High-sided vehicles such as lorries and buses can have their views obstructed by trees and overhanging vegetation. There are elderly folk in Iden, the odd pushchair and children running by. Let’s face it, as my Grampa would say, every cotton-picking one of us should be able to walk a clear path without danger. So perhaps we should all start chopping down our superfluous foliage ASAP.

BUS SHELTER: Volunteers are needed to help paint the bus shelter by The Bell on Sunday September 7 at 3pm. It shouldn’t take long and will be fun. Anyone willing to pick up a paintbrush, please contact the parish clerk Mary Philo by calling 270790 or emailing maryphilo-idenparish Tea and coffee will be freely provided.

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VILLAGE SIGNS: Mary is also organising a session of sign cleaning in Iden on Saturday September 13. Anyone who wants to come along and wear something old to help scrub Iden’s signs, initially in Main Street, using soft brooms and brushes, water and buckets, can do so by meeting at the bus stop opposite The Bell, at 2pm. Refreshments will be provided afterwards. The council no longer has funds for cleaning road signs and for the sake of safety, convenience and aesthetics it would be great to maximise the beauty of our signs, including highway signs, road signs and finger post signs. Bring your own buckets and scrubbing utensils. Anyone wishing to take part can call Mary on 270790 or email maryphilo-idenparish

BACK TO THE SMOKE: Back to my London jaunt. Instead of London streets being paved with gold, it would be much more practical if they were paved with nice comfy benches so that we could sit down now and again and take a load off. I suddenly had visions of a Victorian lady travelling forward in time. What on earth would Victorians make of London today? Just travelling up from Iden in this day and age, I am bowled over by London’s sense of ‘gay abandon’. Even those adverts by the side of the escalators are so ‘progressive’. One kept unzipping itself to reveal a trainer and I watched it over and over again zipping and unzipping (obviously I need to get out more). My daughter kept saying, “Mum, for heavens’ sake”. She was leading me about by the hand, which was just as well because I hadn’t the slightest clue whether I was in Oxford Street or Marble Arch (gay abandon is so catching!). Next time though, I think I’ll just stay at home and give them the money!

CONTACT ME: If anyone wishes to add anything to the village voice, please contact Gill Griffin on 01797 280311.

Gill Griffin

Belfield, Main Street