CHARLESTON: I sat in a large marquee at the foot of the Downs on a beautiful warm summer’s evening last Monday, listening to a powerful performance from Jon Sopell, the BBC’s man in Washington, about reporting on Donald Trumps’ presidency so far. He spoke without notes and held his 400-strong audience riveted for an hour before taking questions, then signed books and chatted for another hour, all this after having flown over from Washington the day before and with a full diary of flights and appointments for the next few weeks. What energy, and what a performance! Earlier the same afternoon I listened to a discussion between one of my current favourite writers, Amanda Craig and an American author, Meg Wolitzer, about the state of the nation and women’s place in it. Last week there were illuminate like Robert Harris, Joan Bakewell, David Dimbleby, Evan Davis, Blake Morrison, Misha Glenny and even national treasure Sir David Attenborough speaking to eager audiences. These events were part of the Charleston Festival, an annual programme lasting 10 days set in the garden of the quirky farmhouse, formerly home of the Bloomsbury Set. During the previous fortnight from the end of April, I had enjoyed several musical and poetry performances at the biennial Mayfield Festival, and as I drove home from Charleston, I thought how lucky we are, living jn Waldron, to have these brilliant events on our doorstep. All we have to do is to remember to book our tickets and turn up to hear great musicians, poets, writers and journalists share their art. It’s truly a privilege.

RESCUING THE ORGAN: There will be a fun party on August 10 to celebrate our lovely Victorian organ and the plans for rebuilding it. Put the date in your diary and more details will be revealed next week. In the meantime if your chequebook is burning a hole in your pocket and you’d like to make a donation to the rebuilding, cheques can be sent to Ian Dixon, PCC Treasurer, Brambles, Dern Lane, Waldron TN21 0PN. £10,000 has already been raised towards the total of £30,000. That sounds a lot but is possible if we all pull together.

RUDE MECHANICALS: Another date for your diaries is Thursday August 9 for this year’s visit to Waldron of the lovely Rude Mechanicals, the fabulous group which brings outdoor theatre to rural spaces across Southern England. This year’s offering, about to start its tour, is called Oberon’s Cure and is described as a ‘compelling prequel to A Midsummer Night’s Dream full of magic and hilarious twists and turns’ and ‘a ribald, romantic and deeply poetic story about love and desire’. Start time on August 9 is 7.30pm and it’s in the field behind the Star. Bring low-backed chairs and a torch and dress warmly. You can book, either by phoning 01323 501260 or online at www.therude mechanicaltheatre.co.uk It’s a good idea to book a table at The Star for a pre-performance dinner, or the field is open from 6.00 pm if you want to bring a picnic. Enjoy.

TAI CHI: There’s a new class about to begin in June on Tuesday mornings from 11am to noon in the Lucas Hall. Tai Chi is the ancient Chinese art of cultivating your energy for a healthy body and spirit. It claims to enrich your life, build strength for your sports, improve balance, build spine and skeletal strength and is generally good for all ages. Tara Tuen-Matthews is the teacher and practitioner and if you’d like to join the class, ring her in advance on 07582 279908 or e-mail tara@happytaichi.co.uk for a class registration form.

SERVICES: This Sunday services will be held at All Saints’. Holy Communion will be at 8am with Lucy Murdoch presiding and preaching. Parish Eucharist will be at 10am and Simon Hobbs will preside and preach.