Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

MONDAY CLUB: July 9 will be tea in Caroline’s garden (church hall if wet). With the exception of afternoon tea in Caroline’s garden on July 9, all meetings are held in Offham Church Hall at 2pm and are open to all retired members of the community. There is no need to commit to every meeting, just turn up to those that interest you. You will get a warm welcome. Lifts are always available by contacting either Judith on 07889 281214 or Caroline on 01273 477151. At the August meeting there will be a speaker from the Samaritans. Reminder nearer the time.

PARISH COUNCIL: The next meeting of East Chiltington PC will be on Wednesday, in the smaller meeting room at Plumpton Village Hall at 7.30pm.

HAMSEY PC: The next meeting of Hamsey PC will be on Thursday July 19 in the village hall, Beechwood Lane at 7.35pm.

COMMAND PERFORMANCE: From the NFU wins PM backing reported in my British Farmer and Grower, which goes on to say that political support for post-Brexit food and farming was galvanised when the NFU held a special Westminster event just hours after Defra’s Command Paper consultation closed. And the effort returned rewards, with a strong endorsement of the industry from the Prime Minister. MPs and peers dropped in to pick up a copy of the NFU submission and speak with NFU President, Minette Batters, and the expert Brexit team. Two days later, attendee Simon Hoare, the MP for North Dorset, spoke up during Prime Ministers Questions to ask for food security and food production to be put at the heart of the future UK agriculture policy. In response Theresa May said she wanted a ‘future agriculture policy which reflects the reality of food producers and farmers’. She added British food has a ‘great reputation for quality, built on high animal welfare standards, strong environmental protection and dedication of the farmers and growers across the country’.

CALLING ALL YOUNG FARMERS: Nominations are sought for a starring role as the NFU again takes farming and growing to the streets of London and an audience of millions at the Lord Mayor’s Show. Eight young farmers aged between 18 and 30 years, will join the NFU and Massey Ferguson in the parade later this year and one will win an additional prize, a trip to the Massey factory in northern France. NFU members who are aware of a young farmer who is making a real difference, enthusiastic and share their passion for the industry are invited to make a nomination by August 19 at www.nfuonline.com/FarmingChampions.

GRANTS FOR FUTURE FARMERS: Once again the Deakin and Combe Memorial Trust is inviting applications for grants to help with the cost of further education. Between £500 and £1,000 is available for students studying a farming-related course in 2018/19 whose parents have made a contribution to agriculture in England ow Wales. The grants are made possible by the continuing support of the Deakin family and the Trust of the late Norma Combe. George Deakin was an NFU Vic president and chairman of the Pigs Marketing Board who was tragically killed in 1943. Apply at NFUonline.com/deakin-and-combe/

FARM FUN: The NFU is about to give almost 200,000 Londoners a taste of the countryside as NFU South East is exhibiting at the Lambeth Country Show, in south London on July 21 and 22. The NFU display will be situated in the family farm zone and consumers will be encouraged to back British farming, with plenty of farming activity packs and recipe books on offer. Visitors can expect to mill wheat into flour take part in a farming quiz and see commonly-grown crops, wildflowers and hedgerow. The crops, cornfield annual flowers and native hedgerow have been grown by former East Sussex Chairwoman, Gillian vander Meer of Ashburnham, near Battle. Now in its 44 th year, the Lambeth Country Show is a free event attracting 190,000 people to Brockwell Park, Herne Hill. The show has all the attractions of a traditional fair, but with multicultural craft and food stalls and diverse music on offer. If anyone wants to join them in London, please contact Isobel Bretherton on 01730 711950.

STILL HERE: The mallard hen and her four ducklings don’t seem to be in any hurry to leave and are spending much of the day on the patio pond where my poor water lilies are being used as a sunbathing and sleeping quarters for the ducklings, with mother sitting on the yellow iris that they have managed to uproot from the water. Unfortunately where all the extra ducks have been flying in and out this year, my pond has turned green as they bring in duckweed. The only god thing is that there are plenty of insects and other sources of food in the pond which are keeping the ducklings well fed, as well as their early morning breakfast from me.

TURTLE DOVES: Recently I read that there has been a sharp decline in these lovely little birds. A few years back we had an RSB survey here and they were delighted to find that we had several pairs of them. I am delighted to report that, although we have not seen any for a number of years, when my son was hay making in the fields here recently he came back one evening and said that he saw a pair of turtle doves and hoped that they would breed here again. When we first came here there were a lot of starlings and jays but I have not seen any starlings for years, but this year the jays have appeared again with a lot of nuthatches and a wonderful array of goldfinches and yellowhammers. I have also been watching some strange birds that I have not yet been able to identify.

FOXGLOVES: Some years ago I was given a lot of cultivated plants in different colours which come up every year. They have already bloomed this year and looked wonderful. In the backyard has been one that has been growing alone with no soil but in the paving. I have been fascinated as it is about six feet tall and all kinds of tiny birds have been settling on it daily, pecking at each bloom which must be for insects. It is now down to the last two blooms at the very top and yesterday I saw four young goldfinches on it whilst it was swaying in the breeze. I hope some of my photographs will come out as I tried to snap while the birds were clinging to it. No doubt it will have self-seeded like all the others have over the years.

RURAL CRIME: The Chairman of the National Rural Crime Network has urged the Home Office not to forget rural communities when deciding how much money should be given to police forces to fight crime and anti social behaviour. Julia Mulligan, who is also North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, spoke with Home Office minister Nick Hurd at Westminster during a meeting on rural crime.