WHISPERING SMITH: Let’s band together for this Picnic in the Park

BACK in the late 1990s, I used to drive to Littlehampton School at about nine o’clock, park up and listen to the wonderful Alastair Cook and his BBC Letter From America on the car radio.

My daughter usually emerged from band practice just as the softly-spoken journalist wound up his weekly column, his voice and his deliberate intonation punctuating the piece by sound – you could almost hear the commas and full stops.

Well, that was a long time ago and the band played on. Later we, as proud parents, would go to the Windmill Entertainment Centre and listen to the Littlehampton Concert Band’s version of The Last Night of the Proms, with all of the usual singing, flag-waving and horns of its bigger Albert Hall brother.

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The last one we went to was soon after 9/11 and we sang The Star Spangled Banner while our daughter played clarinet. I was one of the few who knew the words – although the tune, as most tunes do, escaped me!

On Friday, May 18, the band is holding Picnic in the Park, a reunion and concert in Caffyns Field at 7pm, to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary and I will be there with my son, my daughter and friends. We’ll take a picnic and pretend we are at Kenwood and all that will be missing is her mother and the smoke from our Gitanes or Gauloise cigarettes.

The band continues under the competent 10-year leadership of Bob Haselip, whose father John Haselip taught my daughter both the clarinet and the flute while a student at The Angmering School – both instruments sadly now playing second fiddle to electric bass guitar!

It should be a memorable evening for a great many people and Caffyns Field is a super and greatly under-used LA venue for such an event, so be there if you can.

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HAPPY to see that the Crossbush Farm Shop has now reopened after a long refurbishment. It offers local produce, including meat and whacking great chicken eggs, all of which, of the half dozen I purchased, were double-yoked.

Now that eggs are no longer thought to be bad for you, – see the feature in last week’s Waitrose free store newspaper – they made a tasty and healthy family Sunday breakfast…

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