Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

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

ADVANCE NOTICE: The Monday Afternoon Club meet again on November 12, when it will be the Body Shop at Home It should be an interesting afternoon as we all need a bit of pampering at times. It will be followed by tea and lovely home-made cakes, 2pm in Offham Church Hall. Lifts always available by ringing either Judith on 07889 281214 or Caroline on 01273 477151.

TODDLER TUNES: A reminder that Toddler Tunes is on a Thursday in Offham Church Hall from 10am to 11am where mums, dads, grandmas or granddads can go along and watch their little darlings march with drums and shakers, sing nursery rhymes or dance and boogie. All of this and lots of toys to play with as well as squash and biscuits, all for just £3 a session. Sessions also continue through school holidays. Details from Judith on 07889 281214.

BAD WEEK: For lettuce as all the weapons that we have tried to ward off the slugs, including crushed egg shells, copper tape, pine bark mulch and wool pellets, are completely ineffective, a new RHS study confirms. How I laughed when I read that as I once was told to put some crushed up potato crisps out near the lettuce which would stop the slugs from going near. Unfortunately it attracted badgers who, not only dug holes nearby, but also left their calling cards and then dug out my lovely miniature red lily bulbs. After all that I think I would rather go and buy a lettuce.

BUTTERFLIES: The small tortoiseshell butterfly has seen its worst summer in Big Butterfly Count history, declining by 32 percent since last year. The red admiral and the comma were also down.

HEVER CASTLE: One of my favourite places to visit as, before Derek retired, Jotun Clark held a couple of their Christmas get-togethers there and it was truly magical having dinner in the great hall with a huge log fire and huge Christmas tree. With all the history attached to the Norwegians and many others from around the globe, it was wonderful and we still talk about it when they contact me. I was therefore delighted to read recently that it has one of the finest gardens in the UK, say South East in Bloom judges who in October awarded it a gold medal. I shall have lots to tell when I get in touch over Christmas.

LORRIES: There has been no let-up from the lorries and vehicles that are using our private road to come in, usually in the very early morning. They are opening our main gates and driving down to the farm cottages and asking if it s Mount Harry Farm. Some of these vehicles are huge and, although it is difficult to get a registration number, on one occasion one hit the hunting gate and damaged it and then just drove off. I have had them coming into my drive and trying to turn around, with one last week trying to reverse and hitting the flint wall. This should not be happening and it has been going on since just after last Christmas when the developers moved in next door. It should have been sorted out by LDC Planning Dept before any development has started, but instead of that a retrospective application was submitted and the work was allowed to carry on, with the applicant given three years to complete it. There is a sign on my main entrance gates saying quite clearly Courthouse Farm, and a No Parking sign, but it does not seem to register with these drivers who are looking for Mount Harry. My postcode is also being used when it should be the postcode for Mount Harry. I have asked the project manager to get it changed but nothing has happened yet. He has, after my insistence, put a sign near to my entrance gates pointing to Mount Harry, but we are still having vehicles almost daily. A huge cement mixer tried to come in and turn but I stopped him and it was the same old story, he was looking for Mount Harry. We are getting fed up with it, especially when one of the drivers used the most appalling language to my son who told him he could not park in here. It will be nearly a year since the development started and I only hope that this coming Christmas does not bring any more surprises as developers seem to know, as do applicants, that the planning offices of LDC and other councils don’t come back until New Year after the Christmas break. We shall be watching this very carefully.

BEAUTIFUL: There is an abundance of beautiful berries this year, with some of the shrubs laden. I still have a lot of red roses blooming and today I saw the first blooms of the lovely yellow winter jasmine. There will be plenty of food for the birds who have not yet started on all the berries. Is it sign of a hard winter I wonder?