Cooksbridge, Offham and Hamsey

APOLOGIES: Correction regarding Bruce Shand who served in the 12th Lancers, not the Blues and Royals as stated last week, although both Derek and Bruce Shand did serve in Alamein.

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.

PAINTING COURSE: Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26, two day landscape painting course with Michael Cruickshank. For details ring Mike or Emma on 01273 400606.

TEA IN THE GARDEN: The Monday Afternoon Club had a treat on July 13 when they met in Caroline Featherstone’s garden for afternoon tea.

MESSAGE FROM JUDITH: Calling all under 5’s. Do you have a spare morning in your busy social lives? If you would like to march with drums and shakers, sing nursery rhymes, dance and boogie, then get your parents/guardians to bring you along to St Peter’s Church Hall at 10am on Thursday mornings. For all this and lots of toys to play with, as well as squash and biscuits, it’s just £3 per session. Older siblings welcome in school holidays. Come and join in the fun (and good news for grownups, we meet in the school holidays too). So that’s one morning sorted out.

PHONE SCAMS: I have recently had a lot of calls, in fact I had eight over a period of 24 hours. On each occasion someone with a foreign accent asks you to answer a few household questions and on each occasion I have refused to answer and put the phone down, only to receive another call within a matter of minutes. Each time the caller had withheld their number. One caller got very angry when I put the phone down and probably thought that I would be caught off guard by ringing back immediately. Sadly some people get caught out as two people that I know did answer questions and when asked to give their bank card details they found that £20,000 had been taken from their account. Be warned. Don’t get caught off guard. Never give your personal details to callers. The bank or police will never request your bank details over the phone or at the door. Because I have had a lot of calls in the space of a short time, I have reported it to my phone provider.

SNAKES ALIVE: As I was out doing a spot of weeding around the patio I spotted movement and watched as it slithered out from amongst a patch of tiny daisies that grow in profusion. As it was very hot and I only had sandals on I decided to retreat until I had got suitable footwear. On closer inspection I realised that it was a slow worm which do live here but mostly up by one of the ponds. They do look snake like but are in fact legless lizards and are useful predators, which are partial to slugs and various insects. I first saw one here when I moved a stone on the rockery one summer. They are quite elusive and produce a lot of young who look like small worms. They burrow under shrubs, fallen trees and rocks which are plentiful around the garden here. I have never seen one so close to the house on the patio before. They are harmless and have a friendly face and with eyelids. Snakes on the other hand seem to stare at you. We used to get huge grass snakes swimming across the patio pond which are also harmless, but have to be wary as adders also thrive here. The slow worms hibernate from October to March and can live for many years if they don’t get eaten by foxes.

SURPRISE: It could never be said that life is dull living here under the Downs and the last fortnight has certainly had its moments. On the Sunday morning of the Endurance Ride that takes place every year, when the riders come through the farm and go up the bridleway over the downs. Each year my son makes sure that they have access to water and keeps an eye on things during the day. On this occasion I think he may have wished to have had dark glasses on as he went to inspect a car that had driven up onto the section of bridleway on the other side of the B2116 where the horses were coming over. He was going to ask them to move, but on inspecting closer all he could see was a pile of clothes in the car. He could not see anyone about so decided to go into our adjoining field which had not yet been cut for hay. A voice suddenly said from amongst the grass, ‘what are you doing in here mate’ and stood up to confront my son who chad a complete shock as you may have guessed by now, he was the owner of the clothes along with his girlfriend. He then said, ‘sorry mate’ to my son and went on about what wonderful countryside it was. They were politely asked to get back into their clothes and move the car so that the horses could use the bridleway. Bearing in mind it is right on the main road, it makes us wonder if anyone saw them climbing the gate into the field, minus their clothes.

The same afternoon my son saw someone in our field which is next to the one mentioned above and went over fearing the worst, only to find it was a hang glider who had landed and was trying to undo the lock on the gate to get out. When hang gliding took off some years ago we were always getting them landing in our fields which was not very good when livestock are there. Following an accident some years ago when one of them landed on the bonnet of a car along the B2116 and both driver and hang glider landed up in hospital, there was a ban on them taking off and coming over the ridge of the Downs along the B2116. I think that they now have a zone where they take off from Devils Dyke.

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