On a cold and crisp December morning, the children of Churcher’s College Nursery gathered outside to present to parents, siblings and teachers their very first Nativity play.
Dressed as angels, they sang Away in a Manger with a little baby Jesus passed amongst them. Donkey’s ears were worn for Little Donkey, and a sparkling star was lit in the ‘stable’ in the Nursery garden for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Happy Chanukah was sung to mark the Jewish Festival of Light, whilst one pupil held a handmade menorah. The performance was brought to a cheerful close with children and parents joining together to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Parents were served mince pies and hot drinks in Honeypot Hall in the Nursery to warm up after the children’s sparkling outdoor performance.
Annabel Knowles, Head of Churcher’s College Nursery, said: “This is the girls and boys very first experience of performing in front of parents which is a big event for any child. I am very proud of our children who have learnt these songs and made donkeys ears especially for all the grown-ups to enjoy today. Well done children!”
Churcher’s College Nursery is nestled in the grounds of the Junior School in Liphook, where children are welcome to join from the term they turn three years of age. There ae two classes: Owls and the very youngest are the Pussycats.
Paul Lyalls’ performance at Write Angle’s December gig held the audience from start to finish with ‘endless’ laughter. It was truly a Christmas special.
He’s a great poet but also a stand-up comic and confident performer. His long lanky body and mobile face capture the audience. He works in schools but his poetry is geared to the child in each of us – if only we’d had a Paul Lyalls in our schooldays!
In Poetic Lonely Hearts Act, the Poet “seeks audience….You must like rhyme but not all the time.” In Ask the Audience….Or Listen to Your Heart, he tells how, as a loving man, his first reaction to his partner’s “What are you thinking” is “What should I be thinking?” but he answers “I want to look into your eyes forever” when he’s really thinking that “the next time we go to Ikea, I want to get into one of the wardrobes and when someone opens it, leap out and ask what country are we in?”
His Shakespeare parody, Let Me Compare Thee, talks of “Reality, Reality, wherefore art thou?” Only in the Movies listed all those impossible situations such as “You’ll easily survive any battle…..unless you make the fatal mistake of showing somebody a picture of your sweetheart who’s waiting for you.” He ended his performance with The Label Prayer, which dealt with the two core values of Christmas, “religion and shopping”. Unsurprisingly, the open mikers featured Christmas strongly. Jilly Funnell provided two covers, Shakin Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone and Martin and Blane’s Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, followed by a reprise of her own naughty Principle Boy – “Make sure you all check out his tights before your wedding day.” Richard Hawtree provided another view of Christmas with Wrappings – “A ruse you trust to make the wise men late in setting out on their epiphany.”
Leah contributed four seasonal poems, finishing with Santa Has a Problem, when Mrs Santa “wants me healthy” puts him on a diet “but if I’m not a jolly fat man, kids won’t know I’m Father Christmas”.
Dick Senior, more serious, in Cake, told the story of a suspicious husband following his unfaithful wife, “Like white knuckles at his throat, the furies of self-pity and rage, like rats writhing in a bag of his skin”. “That night, they ate the cannabis cake”, which was followed by an orgy of destruction when he took a hammer to his home and his car. Evacuee told the story of the youngster Dick’s grandparents took in “from Tottenham who….became a village boy” but who Dick knew as Uncle Stan.
Your reviewer lightened the mood with Charlie the Spider, who “lives in Jake’s black car” and whose social life was “When we park at Tesco….I meet my friends in other cars”. Piers Husband read from his Christmas Book. First, Santa Meets Satan and, then, Satan, “the horned devil fell through the air in a million particles. Each particle entered the body of a spider….” Brian read a humorous Thurber short story The Night the Bed Fell, chronicling a chapter of accidents culminating with the bed falling on father.
Although the number of poets and musicians were few, the quality of their work made up for it. It was a memorable evening and contributed well to the Christmas season! The Raffle was sponsored by The Half Moon at Sheet.
If you’ve indulged in too many mince pies this year, why not work off those Christmas calories by taking a walk on the wild side with Surrey Wildlife Trust? With more than 70 nature reserves to explore and a host of New Year events, now’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Surrey’s winter landscapes with family and friends.
Pull on your boots and warm clothes and head to Shere Woodlands near Guildford for an inspiring walk through fallen leaves, with the promise of breathtaking views from West Hanger across the Weald and towards the South Downs. Keep an eye out for birds of prey like buzzards or kestrels hunting for small mammals.
Or grab your binoculars and take a trip to Nutfield Marshes, near Redhill, for some fresh air and a satisfying stroll round the lakes. This wonderful wetland reserve is a magnet for winter water fowl and waders. Tufted ducks, gadwalls and the odd pochard can be found at this time of year, together with mute swans, little grebes and greylag geese.
A walk on the vast windswept landscape of Chobham Common is spectacular at this time of year. This rare lowland heathland is the largest National Nature Reserve in the south east of England. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded here, including the rare Dartford warbler – look out for this small but striking bird perched on top of gorse stems.
“It’s a winter wonderland out there with so many wild places to discover,” said the Trust’s Charlotte Magowan. “So why not get out with your family and friends this season?”
Or you could join one of the New Year events, including guided walks, family fun and courses? Here are a few ideas to start your 2018 in wild style:
Shiver & Shake at Ashtead – Saturday, January 13, 11am-12.30pm
Explore magical Ashtead Park in winter and learn about the habitats create such a fantastic haven for wildlife.
Wild Families – Saturday, January 13, 10.30am-12.30pm
Go wild with your family and get closer to nature at a fun session for all ages at Newlands Corner near, Guildford, with games, crafts and wild activities for all.
Dual Workshop: Willow Making & Yoga – Tuesday, January 16, 10am-3pm
Enjoy a New Year treat at Nower Wood, near Leatherhead – spend the morning learning to make outdoor candle holders/bird feeders from willow. After lunch, relax with an afternoon yoga session – dreamy!
Winter Wanderings on Rodborough – Monday, January 22, 10am-12noon
Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a guided winter walk exploring the beautiful expanses of Rodborough Common, near Godalming.
Remember that members of the Trust get free walks and discounted talks and courses. You can sign up for half price membership in our January sale and get a free calendar, while stocks last. For more information on membership and all of the Trust’s events, courses and talks, as well as a full list of more than 70 nature reserves to explore across the county visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org.
Blogger Jenny Bennett who writes for the online blog muminpractice.com says she has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in response to a toy donation she posted on her Facebook page.
Jenny said: “I’d been wanting to do something special for Christmas this year, so I posted the appeal on my page asking people to buy an extra gift for the mums and children who would be spending Christmas in one of the refuges provided by the Southern Domestic Abuse Service. Some of these women have to leave life-threatening situations with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. We wanted them to know how brave we all think they are, and take the worry of presents for the children off their shoulders.”
She posted the appeal on Facebook and word quickly spread. Then the donations started to flood in. “I have to give a massive thank you to Sew Creative in Petersfield and the staff of Haslemere Town Council at the Town Hall who offered to be drop off points for the gifts. This wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Jenny.
A friend’s garage was filled with treats and toys for the mums and children at the refuge and anything left over this year will be used as birthday presents for the families in 2018.
On Sunday, November 5, Liphook Golf Club held its traditional ‘drive in’ by the new Ladies’ Captain and the new Club Captain, whereby they hit a ball off the first tee to mark the start of their year of office. This year, however, it was a ‘drive in’ with a difference.
Kathryn Todd, this year’s Ladies’ Captain, drove off first, followed by the Club Captain, Jillian Howarth, the first female to be elected to the role in the club’s 95-year history. Both drives went straight down the middle which augurs well for their year in office. The Drive-In raised over £1,000 for the joint captains’ charity for 2018 – The Rosemary Foundation.
It’s worth noting that the Club Captain’s role at Liphook is not just a ceremonial one. During her year of office, Jillian, as Club Captain, will head up the General Committee which runs the club. She is, in effect, the Club ‘CEO’ for the year.
Jillian is Dublin born and bred. She spent over 15 years working for Aer Lingus before moving to Liphook 20 years ago with her husband Graham. Graham became a member of Liphook Golf Club in 2000 and Jillian finally decided to try her hand at golf and joined Liphook in 2003, becoming Ladies Captain in 2011. After a year off she joined the General Committee for three very successful years as Chair of Membership before being invited to become Club Vice Captain in November, 2016.
Jillian’s golf handicap has been as low as 14 but in the last few years this has been creeping up. She is hoping that a busy year of golf will help to lower it again.
After a total of five years on the General Committee, Jillian is well versed in the ways of the club and is looking forward to her Captaincy.
Historically, Liphook Golf Club had a reputation for being a bit ‘old fashioned’. Today, however, while it is proud of its traditions and values, it is a forward thinking, and a friendly, welcoming club. Jillian is the ideal Captain to continue the club’s progress as it approaches its Centenary, members agree.
REVIEW Attila the Stockbroker – Petersfield Write Angle The Townhouse, Petersfield November 2017
Attila the Stockbroker filled the room at Write Angle’s November gig – not only with the power of his presence but by filling the space to ‘standing room only’ – the best attendance in a long time. He is a masterly force of nature. His energy is boundless! Whether ranting about his political convictions, playing numerous instruments such as the mandola, mandocello, bass recorder and violin, singing the lyrics he composes, or digging deep into his feelings about illness and family, whatever he does, one feels his sincerity and natural connection with the audience. With a full programme of gigs while touring the country, Europe and beyond, he snatches time to write and compose – he wrote nine songs in the previous three weeks!
“You have to be young and black to rap!” Starting with Spirit of the Age, Attila rapped that, giving the lie to it: “I’ll be rapping to the day I die.”
With his deeply held political views, he rants….and rants. Looking back to the period when England had no monarchy, he sang of the great ranter of Cromwell’s Commonwealth time: ”I have been a ranter for nearly 40 years….but I’m a total lightweight compared to Abiezer Coppe.” More topical and poignant was The Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington who “serve Knightsbridge, not Latimer Road” ending with “Appearances matter more than flesh, skin, hair, muscle and bone.” There was also his Corbyn Supporters from Hell: “We undermine everything that moves.” In Rock n Roll Brexit, he chronicalled the formalities, difficulties and indignities of Europe with borders that he used to experience, saying that, if these had to be suffered again, “I’m British and WE HAVE TAKEN BACK CONTROL!”
In addition to his politics, what we also get is Attila the loving family man. In Never Too Late, his tribute to his stepfather, he tells: “You were the head of the household, I was the stroppy kid”, as a chorus to “Here’s a poem I wrote for you, you decent, gentle man”; ending with “It’s never too late to tell anyone you love them.” It’s no wonder Attila has a fan club of over 6000 people!
At the open mic, newcomer Dick Senior had Referendum in which “John Major’s bastards bided their time” until they were “probing the cracks in Cameron weak”. Still political, he followed with A Famous Old Etonian, where he described Boris as “the Bullingdon” bore with “Government by the Etonians, for the Etonians”. Another newcomer, Denys Whitley, told of schooldays in Ireland with Rabbit Killers, recounting the grisley details of skinning the rabbit then “march back in triumph past the younger kids, holding up the fur and tail”. In Heliport, he told of the solar wind and the edge of the solar system – a physics lecture beyond the capability of this reviewer!
In Rosary, Sue Spiers itemised the things to pack for a holiday in Spain, if that will be possible after Brexit, ending with “Hale holiday, full of gin!” Then, in November 1987 she looked back to the devastation caused by the “worst storm in my recollection” to oak trees and people’s lives. Richard Hawtree’s My Tongue was a version of an early Irish poem about Cormac the king of Tara, in which, all the experiences of childhood, “seduced my tongue to what I’ve left half said”. Colin Eveleigh A Brush With Life paid tribute to his father, “He was never still, mostly silent and ever resourceful, my Dad”, painting everything, even his bicycle, in battleship grey – “was there no end to this dubious stash?” A keen potter, Colin tells, in Pressing the Button Marked Fire “like diving into a volcano” of the excitement of giving birth to new objects that leave to go to new homes but “Those that didn’t make it, I love you even more”.
In Leah Cohen’s Winter ,“Please, bury my feelings. Freeze them till the Spring”. In Child’s Tale, “You love to edit the tale of my life and credit yourself as if you’d written the contents” while in My Selves , she read of meeting her selves in different places including a traffic jam on a busy day, ending with “maybe it’s time we met…”. Jilly Funnell, with guitar, did a duet with Phyllida Carr, on bongo drums – a lovely tribute to Jimmy Lee, WA’s October guest. Then Jilly sang her raunchy Principle Boy, about Cinderella’s disappointment when Prince Charming took ‘his’ tights off, the consolation being “her sisters might be ugly but at least they’re boys.” Richard Lanchester’s Age of Enlightenment was dedicated to poet Heathcote Williams, telling how everyone says, “We got to have more” but all his things are second-hand -”I’m not part of the rush to buy the newest, the latest.”
Andy, from Hoyk in the Scottish Bordersmenaced your reviewer with talk of imminent class war; then, in The Lonely Man Contemplates His Non-existence, he gave a truly lyrical description of a walk in the rain and mist with his girl, who asked, “have you ever run with your eyes closed without being in control of yourself?” Fearfully he did it and then, while she ran towards him, “I saw every blade of grass spring from her footsteps”. Another newcomer, Bethan Screen, in Sweetheart told how “being a young girl is to be visible and commodified”, and that the attentions of men are “a dripping tap that whisper, whistle and shout.” and after any incident, “you wish you could have reacted in a different, more intelligent and effective way.”
Isabelle Sene, operated on for breast cancer, told of her experience adding humour to lighten it such as when the nurse kissed her before the operation, her father said, ‘They never did that to me!’ She also told of how, when “the consultant marked the breast to be removed, he leaned on her right breast , to which she screamed, ‘NO, THE LEFT’ ‘sorry’ he said, ‘I’m having one of those days when everything goes wrong’!”
Jezz closed off a great evening, singing Cadillac Dream and High and Dry, both very emotionally and sensitively rendered.
There were several raffle prizes, the first a voucher for two meals at fine Italian restaurant, La Piazetta; the second, Attilla very kindly offered his book Undaunted, and third and fourth were vouchers Leah & your reviewer offered, for the Spice Lounge Indian restaurant.
It was a deeply charged, memorable evening with the outstanding and formidable Attila together with a wealth of talent from new and regular open mikers and an appreciative audience expressing their gratitude and still laughing, as they left the room.
Write Angle will be presenting the very confident and comic performance poet, Paul Lyalls, on December 19 for Write Angle’s Christmas special. There will be another open mic spot for anyone to read/perform a poem, song or piece of prose.
Farnham Pottery is not only a place to learn how to throw a pot, do some life drawing or write a masterpiece (to mention just a few of their programmes) it also makes an engaging exhibition space. At the latest exhibition – Seeing Eye – Responding to the environment – works by six photographers are given extra dimension by being displayed on walls and in corners that seem to hum with almost 150 years of creativity.
The six photographers are varied but fit together neatly. Headlining is Jacqui Hurst who delights in gardens and urban areas colonised by unexpected plants and will return to the same spot time and again to find the right light and the composition that works to create her beautiful work. Angela Shaw also turns to nature for her inspiration and works as an “environmental artist”.
“I am not a photographer, I am an artist working with light,” she says. She has created intriguing installations, placing items in Alice Holt Forest and playing around with them then photographing them, and also uses pinhole cameras to take pictures over months, something that allows her to capture the changing seasons.
“It’s about slowing down to spend time in nature,” she says.
In contrast, Hugh Rawson literally “shoots from the hip”. A headteacher at a local school, Hugh turned to street photography in recent years as a creative outlet and is particularly drawn to urban environments where, camera on his hip, he takes thousands of pictures from which he chooses just a few. He chooses well. The results are cool, compelling glimpses of lives, mostly in black and white, which leave you wanting more.
Mike Green, on the other hand, also produces black and white film but works the old way – 36 prints per film, each shot lovingly often after a long wait. “I often find a spot which speaks to me as a place and then I wait for perhaps a couple of hours and I see how people interact with that space.” The results are little stories which draw the viewer in.
Luke Whatley-Bigg takes a different angle – usually from the sky. Just 13 years old, he specialises in drone photography and takes his drone out to local landmarks where somehow me manages to hold the drone steady and work out exactly the right angle for stunning photographs. He is certainly a name to watch.
Finally, Wrecclesam resident Miriam Windsor is exhibiting six intensely personal photographs of women who have suffered from post-natal depression, alongside letters written by the present-day women to their former selves. Among them is a picture of Miriam herself and it is photography which helped her to find a sense of herself when she was ill after the birth of her daughter 10 years ago. The portraits are regal, like ones you might find on the walls of a stately home, the letters are intensely moving and the combination is a reminder of both the dignity and the fragility of human life.
The exhibition continues until December 7. For details see www.thefarnhampottery.co.uk or call 07733 325138.
Jakob Bloch, CEO of Commodity Appointments based at The Old Dairy in Petersfield, will be taking part in the first Peru edition of ‘Marathon de Sables’ next week.
An experienced endurance runner, he has already run across the Sahara Desert in the legendary Marathon des Sables on behalf of a Liphook-based children’s charity.
The Marathon de Sables, known as the Toughest Footrace on Earth, is a six-day ultra-marathon over a distance of about 250km. This is the first time it will take place in the Ica desert, 300km south of Lima.
Jakob will be again taking part with the aim of raising publicity and funds for Dreams Come True, an inspiring team of people who fulfil moments of joy for children with serious and life-limiting diseases. If you would like to support Jakob’s efforts, please go to www.commodity.global/donate
Here is a brief trailer of what awaits him on this adventure:
It seemed so appropriate for Love Theatre Day to spend it in the lively company of Cheriton Players cheered enthusiastically by a supportive audience: local people putting on great entertainment at a sell out venue for local people.
And great entertainment it is too, in a bonkers kind of way: as with all things Holmes, some kind of belief needs to be suspended and from the opening to the denouement, this hard working cast and crew kept the action flowing, allowing full vent to the twists and turns of this “who-dunnit” written by Ken Ludwig. Not that I will spoil “the plot” for you, there are many red herrings along the way.
It is December 1936 and star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Henley on Thames mansion for a Christmas Party following an abortive attempt on his own life on stage some 2 weeks earlier. But when one of the guests is later stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears, or do they?
Helena Gomm has created an excellent medium for this talented cast as they pull out all the stops in this outrageous piece of story-telling. Pace is quick fire as it should be and laughs are a plenty as each scene brings more revelations and death. The opening of Act 2 is particularly well done and the ‘victim’ is to be highly commended for ‘their’ role being mercilessly dragged around the stage and pushed in and out of cupboards etc. Always a joy to see the use of this tiny stage being used so expertly in set design, sound and lighting. The lamps were particularly authentic and there was the usual attention to detail throughout, be it music, costume jewellery etc.
The performances were particularly well suited to the cast, each bringing a sense of fun and panache to the writing. Richard Perkins as Gillette, razor sharp in his line delivery and stage presence, was matched by the flamboyant and majestic Fiona Mackay’s arch theatre critic Daria Chase. Pauline Cornter was suitably dotty as his mother, whilst Katie Hinds also donned a deer stalker as a steely Inspector Goring. Claire Smith and Craig Robb were admirable as the newly-wedded couple, both with secrets to hide. David Cradduck and Marilyn Weston, always good on stage, similarly secretive brought much hilarity to their roles especially as she regularly slapped him throughout the course of the evening.
That they all get on so well is plain to see, especially when all the cast were on stage together and all clearly enjoying themselves immensely.
That is what theatre is all about really – and local theatre does not get much better than this.
All Shook Up is basically Elvis Presley songs strung together with a Twelfth Night storyline – girl dressing as boy, love triangles, and a Shakespearean happy ending where all the couples get together. There’s nothing demanding about it – it’s a fun romp with lots of comedy and plenty of musical numbers to sing along to.
There are also a fair few stereotypes – the museum lady who turns into a nymphomaniac at the read of a sonnet (I was waiting for the ‘why Miss Jones you’re beautiful!’ moment as Emma Twist, playing Miss Sandra, went from glasses and tweed to skintight dress and loose hair); not to mention the man-weary landlady who only needs the love of a good guy to loosen her up a bit and make her less shrill and carping… hmm… but that’s an issue I have with the book by Joe Dipetrio, not PTG.
Sadly, Amy Perkins who was due to play one of the leads, Natalie, was ill, so was replaced at short notice and with great success by Charlotte Turnbull. Natalie, the ‘Viola’ character in this, is a tomboy mechanic who pretends to be a boy in order to get close to the “guitar-playing roustabout” former jailbird Chad, who sweeps all the girls off their feet when he rocks into this sleepy American town on his motorbike. Ross Cobbold played the swaggering, sneering, singing trouble maker with great style. He has good comedy timing and a remarkably Elvis-sounding voice too.
Also excellent was Ewan Wharton as Dennis, Georgie Gardner-Cliff as Lorraine and Ethan Emery as Dean. These youngsters were all very natural onstage, with lovely singing voices. Well done to director John-Paul McCrohon for getting the best out of them. I look forward to seeing all the young leads onstage in Petersfield again.
Kerry McCrohon as Sylvia, the world-weary, seen-it-all, been burned by love landlady of the town bar, was very moving in her song, There’s Always Me. She brought experience to the stage, as did Conrad Stephenson as the widower Jim. His transformation from sad dad to Chad impersonator was very funny.
But the standout of the show was, for me, the diminutive Michelle Magorian as the battle-axe (another stereotype, tut tut, Mr Dipietro) Mayor Matilda Hyde – marching across the stage, never letting Sheriff Earl (played in hilarious hangdog silence by the perfectly-cast George Stephenson) get a word in. Her guitar contest with Chad surrounded by a bunch of angels was inspired. Hilarious. More please.
The ensemble members were hardworking and obviously enjoyed performing this show, at one point getting the audience up to dance. The band, led by Darren Alderton, certainly produced a lot of sound, but unfortunately, because of its placing at the very front of the stage, drowned out quite a lot of the songs. Actors seemed to be struggling to be heard above it, even with mics, which was a shame.
I liked the set with its two levels and the wide corrugated iron doors opening out at the back to change the setting. Set changes were speedy and effective. Costumes were wonderful, too.
This is a great fun show – it will certainly put a smile on your face and a spring in your step on a grim autumn evening. The show continues until Saturday night.