OUT IN THE FIELD: Warding off lurking evil spirits

Drumming fun at the Wassail. Picture: Hugh Wilton
Drumming fun at the Wassail. Picture: Hugh Wilton

Like most people I imagine, I always turn straight to what is commonly referred to as the Hatches, Matches and Dispatches section – more formally known as the Births, Marriages and Deaths – of the Herald each week. And aside from there being rather a lot lately, one particular notice caught my eye recently which has turned out to be a very unfortunate state of affairs – the death of Eastbourne resident Mary Pilz. Mary’s niece ordered a pretty floral cardboard coffin for her aunt but has been left devastated after learning Eastbourne would not accept the eco-friendly coffin. Apparently after a “risk assessment” Eastbourne Borough Council decided not to accept paper product coffins for cremation because during the cremation process “fly ash and residue can interfere with emission treatment and monitoring systems, in place to meet stringent emission limits laid down by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs”. In this eco-friendly day and age I would have thought cardboard or paper coffins would be all the ecologically-sound rage but the fact you can use a wooden coffin is pretty appalling. You couldn’t make it up.

It looks like a good time was had by all at the annual Wassail held by the Pentacle Drummers at the weekend. There was plenty of drums, dancing, live music and money raised for the WRAS, the local wildlife rescue service, topped off with a torch lit celebration outside at Stone Cross Nurseries to help bring about a healthy crop of apples and to ward off evil spirits that may be lurking in the trees. All good fun.

Tolerance isn’t one the things I have managed to acquire over the years and my levels were at an all time low on Tuesday morning when, after a very light covering of snow overnight, the traffic along Eastbourne Road in and out of the town ground to a halt and bus services were disrupted. What will it be like when winter really comes?