In 2013, our Community Cinema programme really got going with four films through the year and then a fancy dress Dickens theme night. We ran a ‘Four Seasons’ series of events, including an early morning Spring foray into Fore Wood to hear the Dawn Chorus, a combined Summer/Autumn Fun Day and Fungi Trail in Quarry Wood and a Winter craft day to make festive decorations. The Summer Fun Day was originally planned for June, but this was a very windy June, and not only was it unsuitable for woodland activities, it defeated The Rudes. Luckily, we had retro-music duo Blast from the Past for live entertainment in October.
The Four Seasons – Dawn Chorus – 15 May 2013
While everyone else was still asleep, an intrepid group of would-be twitchers set off from the Village Hall at 5am, heading to the depths of Fore Wood to seek out the very best of the dawn chorus.
The weather was kind to us and as the sun rose, our expert guides, Nick and John, identified the song of robin, blue tit, great tit, blackbird, thrush, yellowhammer, blackcap, greater spotted woodpecker, to name but a few. Did you know that although the blackbird and thrush have songs that can easily be confused, you can tell the difference as the thrush repeats its tune while the blackbird does not?
After a couple of hours of walking and listening, we all returned to the Village Hall for a breakfast feast. This alone well and truly justifies the 5am start!
– Article by Peter Linecar, originally printed in Crowhurst News June 2013
Click here for Paul Johnson’s article about the Fun Day on the Tales from Quarry Wood website.
A Dickens Evening – 15 November 2013
For one wonderful evening in November, our little village hall was transported back in time to the mid-19th century. The occasion was the Arty Farties’ Dickens Evening, when, for the most modest sum of £8, participants were treated to a cornucopia of Dickensabilia.
To ensure we were in the correct mood on arrival, the stage was decorated with Miss Havisham’s wedding dress and cake, a candelabra, and vintage copies of Dickens’ works. The audience had been asked to come dressed appropriately, and many of them did; some had gone to great lengths, and Willy and Ann Wilson (alias Magwitch and Miss Havisham) thoroughly deserved their prize.
A quiz on the venerable author appeared on our tables; luckily, many of the answers appeared in Mike Stewart’s following talk on key aspects of Dickens’ life (some quite illuminating), noting that this was the great man’s 13’h work and the second to be fully narrated in the first person and originally serialised in Dickens’ own weekly, All The Year Round. His presentation was delivered superbly and in a highly entertaining fashion, concentrating particularly on Great Expectations. Before listening, a substantial luxury sausage pie, accompanied by crunchy winter salad, of which Oliver Twist would have most certainly approved, appeared on the table (thanks Katie Spall, a five-star dish).
Mike’s talk prepared us for the showing of the latest Great Expectations film, starring Helena Bonham-Carter as Miss H, but preceding this we were given a short clip from the opening of the thrilling 1946 version starring John Mills -in black and white, of course. In the opinion of this reviewer, the latter beat the 2012 version, and possibly the 201 1 TV version, hands down. And why did they have to transport the Kent marshes on the Isle of Grain to Fairfield on Romney Marsh, complete with fake tombstones (there are none at Fairfield)?
The evening was rounded off with wedding cake, pastries and coffee, presentation of prizes, including the quiz (Steve and Frances Royston with friends), and a special prize to Jo Crouch for answering a special hats question, then carriages arrived on time to take guests home.
– Article by Tim Knaggs, originally printed in Crowhurst News 2013
The Four Seasons: Christmas wreaths and table decs – 7 Dec 2013
The last event in the Arty Farties’ celebration of the ‘Four Seasons’ was the creative wonders of wreath and table decorations. An enthusiastic band gathered in the Village Hall surrounded by foliage, decorations, dried orange slices and bows. We now appreciate the skill of creating a beautiful door wreath – nonetheless our efforts were worthy to grace front doors around the village. Table decorations ensured a little bit of Mother Nature was inside gracing our tables – and complete with candles a little bit of light during the power cuts!
Thank you to those that attended – of all ages – and a merry time was had, helped by the delicious mince pies and chocolate biscuits. Perhaps best of all was the welcome chance to sit and chat to friends – so rare in the busy run up to Christmas!
Christmas Carols in the Plough – 17 Dec 2013
This time inside the pub! With the wonderful Lucy Ashton and Dr Sheppard on keyboards and supported by our Community Chorus Group.
Review of 2013
Did you have an arty 2013? The Arty Farties put on our busiest programme yet, from films to music to creative events, and despite the weather doing its best to thwart us in June, we had villagers joining in with song and dress-up and getting dirty hands.
We kicked off the year with the first Community Cinema show in January. This is a fairly new venture for us, with our recently purchased projection and audio equipment, including the biggest screen you can fit in the Village Hall. The films are selected from a wish list created from your suggestions (subject to getting licenses), and we welcome ideas for future screenings. January’s The Usual Suspects was followed by Out of Africa in March, the sweeping vistas so captivating when scaled up from the TV in your front room.
May saw the first event in our Four Seasons series – a 5am start to catch the Dawn Chorus and try to identify different birdsong. We secured a few expert ornithologists, tip-toed through Forewood, and learnt to distinguish the call of the blackbird from that of the thrush. Followed by a much needed hot breakfast back at base. Later that month, the Cinema showed Thelma and Louise, famous for its closing scene, but funnier and grittier than you remember.
In June, the wind put paid to the Four Seasons summer event and the Rude Mechanicals’ visit. We’ve had this touring theatre down on the Rec every year since 2005 and they never fail to enchant with their fantastical stories (written specially each year), their beautiful music (the small cast playing all the instruments) and their beguiling painted faces. It was a real disappointment to miss out. One of the projects the Parish Council is considering at the moment is to nurture a small clearing in the thicket at the back of the Rec to offer some shelter for performances and activities. Fingers crossed.
High summer in Crowhurst is all about the Fayre, so our next items were the Cinema’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in September, then in October our newly combined summer/autumn Four Seasons event in Quarry Wood, our theme now requiring the suspension of disbelief. It was a woodland-wonderland of creativity and learning: making dream catchers and bird feeders, making fire using flint, leafy masterpieces on the soft earth floor, discovering pond snails and water boatmen, and the extraordinarily informative Fungal Identification Walk, so good they had to do it twice. We salute Paul Johnson, Will Del Tufo and all the woody folk.
October also brought A Brief History of Music to the Village Hall, where we were treated to 600 years of music in 90 minutes – breathtaking, exhilarating, and a lot of instruments that you’ve never heard of.
In November we had the Community Cinema’s pièce de résistance – the Dickens Evening included a Victorian supper, a costume competition, a talk by Mike Stewart, a fiercely fought quiz that had to go to a tie-break, and then the latest film of Great Expectations. The Village Hall was bedecked with cobwebs and wedding cake, the sausage pie was wolfed down, and, frankly, who doesn’t love an excuse for fancy dress?
By December we were cranking up the festive spirit: making holly wreaths for the final Four Seasons slot, then carol singing at the pub. We heard you all, your melody or your vigour… you know which you were.
Then, at the Fayre Committee’s Christmas Gathering, we were so happy when John and Katie Spall received the Parish Council’s Community Award. To condense their acceptance speech: “It’s not about the arts, it’s not even about the ol’ farts, it’s about doing it together”.
Which pretty much sums up the whole Arty Farty ethos – community activities, thinly disguised as culture. Thank you for coming out to play with us in 2013, and keep your eyes peeled for the 2014 events. The first Cinema show is at the end of February, no fancy dress required. Well, unless you want to.