Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, Mothering Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, which will be beautifully decorated with spring flowers by Caroline Featherstone and her team. 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall There will be a very simple Family Service at 10.30am with a playlet to be performed by the Sunday School and Toddler Tues members. After that there is a very special moment when the children collect posies of flowers from the Rector to present to their mothers. The service should be over by 11.15am leaving plenty of time to enjoy Ursula Hare’s delicious cakes in the church hall. Join in if you can to say thank you mum for all you do.

AFTERNOON CLUB: Judith reports that the February meeting was one of the most successful that they have had. When Pam Brewer, from Owls Out and About, took eight of her beautiful owls to visit. They sat quietly and calmly on their perches ion the hall floor (previously covered with tarpaulin to cope with any mishaps) while Pam told members many fascinating facts and then they were given the chance to put on gauntlets so they could perch on members arms. It was an afternoon that none of them will forget. The March meeting should have been roger Parish talking about travels on the Indian Railway, but unfortunately roger has recently been in hospital (and is making excellent progress) so his planned talk to the afternoon club has been postponed to later in the year. Instead, on Monday March 14, members will be giving a big welcome to the speaker from the Pestalozzi Community, near Battle. Many will know a little about this international centre where youngsters from such different countries as Zambia, Indonesia, Nepal and Tibet live together in national houses in the Sussex countryside. It promises to be a really fascinating afternoon. Do go along and join in if you can. The Monday Afternoon Club is open to all retired members of the community and lifts are always available by calling Judith 01273 474356 or Caroline 01273 477151.

PARISH COUNCIL: Hamsey Parish Council will meet on Thursday in the village hall, Beechwood Lane at 7.15pm. Up to 15 minutes only are available at the start of the meeting for the public to express a view or ask a question on relevant matters on the agenda. It would be helpful to inform the clerk of any questions in advance. Public are welcome to stay and observe the rest of the meeting. A chance for residents to go along and air their views and concerns regarding parish matters.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: this was the heading for an amusing letter that I spotted in a recent magazine. It was in response to a letter headed, Get Scrubbing. The writer says in our neck of the woods, signposts have, for years been largely illegible and of little use, being either mud-spattered, overgrown by hedges or swung round in the gales. You can guess what the reply was when I spoke to the council. No one is allowed to clean or clear the signs, good old health and safety. One wonders how anyone was allowed to install them in the first place. I think seeing some of the signs around our district we would share the sentiments of the writer who lives in Cumbria.

HEDGEHOGS: Good to read that MP Oliver Colville has launched a petition to give the prickly creatures the same legal protection as badgers and otters.

OART: The Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust. I always enjoy receiving my copy of the newsletter and the winter edition is full of interesting articles covering many aspects of the important work that Oart undertake. Pepper’s Pot Pourri explains in detail about the effects of Metaldehyde in the water supply, pointing out that the natural predators of slugs like thrushes, hedgehogs and toads as well as common shrews, slow works, newts, ground beetles and centipedes are now mostly in short supply and Metaldehydes are no doubt part of the reason for this. Robin Pepper says the best solution would be to encourage a variety of predators and not ill them with pesticides. I have in the past used slug pellets but do not use them anymore because of the birds and other wildlife that I have around. It reminds me of the morning in church when a tiny mouse popped out from a hole near the Altar and my Derek, who was the churchwarden, told us in the choir that he would put some bait down and kill it. A small voice told him, you must not do that as that little creature has a much right to live as you do. That little mouse scurried around the church for years and used to pop out when I was cleaning the brass. By then I had become very brave, but ran a mile if a spider appeared.

JIM’S DIARY: Jim had a very busy 2015, but I am taking his diary from December 4, when he reports that it was dry and windy, bulbs were coming up fast, with some daffodils in bud and lots of hazel catkins. Near the Bigwood he saw a woodcock and two snipe, also a pair of buzzards overhead. He returned to the village to clear up local rubbish. December 8 and he reports it is so mild and in a sheltered hedgerow he finds some primroses in bud and a few more fieldfares. Lots of small birds, several varieties of tits and some greenfinches. December 9 he joins with fellow villager for lunch at the Laughing Fish. December 10 he helped a former parish councillor do a pre-Christmas clean-up of the parish when 12 black sacks were removed. December 12, a walk along the Bevern, some 12 sets of Redds were observed, but again it was just a window in the weather. Jim recovered a large sea trout and sent the scales to Clive Fetter. December 18, a very mild day with lots of daffodils in bloom, also some flowering trees. It was very wet and not easy walking conditions. The river had a lot of foam on it. December 20, he saw a walk of Redd Watch, but observations were difficult as the water had a fair bit of colour. Then at lunchtime a cloudburst and the roads were awash which will put the rivers in flood. Christmas Day, a day off and very enjoyable in good company with lots of Christmas fayre and presents. December 29, Redd Watch on various streams and a very large red on the new Oart gravel at Batt’s. On the Searle four more redds. Even more on the Bevern around East Chiltington on the new Oart gravel. A good early spawning. Let’s hope these redds aren’t washed out. What a lot that Jim does, not only keeping a close watch on the Ouse etc., but still finds time to clear rubbish. I feel he should get a lot more presents, especially a large one for all the good work that he does, a remarkable person. Keep up the good work Jim. I really enjoy reading about the tales of the riverbank.

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