Echoes of spring are beginning to take form. Snow drops are pushing through with the crocuses and the evenings are getting lighter. As we look forward to getting out a bit more, I’ve got a few plans for some local exploring.
First up – I am Bird at Merstham Library – this immersive journey is suitable for adults and children and takes about an hour. Slots are available on Friday 4th February and Saturday 5th Feb between 10 am and 4pm. You’ll need a mobile phone with a WiFi connection up to 4 sets of earphones. You’ll be taken on a journey through speech and sound effects of a migratory bird – you chose which story to follow – there are many options to pick so it’s different for everyone. This event proved very popular at Redhill Library, so do support your local reading oasis here in Merstham. Tickets are by donation and available by clicking this link here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/i-am-bird-by-marie-klimis-merstham-library-tickets-227615924357 I am going at 12.30 on 5th Feb – do join me for a coffee from 11.30 at the hub if you’d like to come.
Next up – Snow Drops at Gatton – Sunday 13th February – tickets in advance £6 or £7 on the day. Unless it’s raining badly (or snowing!!) I will be happy to lead a walk there from Merstham – it’s about a 30 -45 minute walk over the golf course and along the North Downs. Meet outside Pizza Project at Midday. If the walk is too far for you, you’re welcome to drive there and meet us at the entry point around 12.45 ish. Free parking. It’s a lovely walk around the grounds. The snow drops are stunning and there could be an opportunity to walk to the bird hide and see multiple herons. There’s delicious cake and tea at Gatton hall. Those of us walking can either return the same way or catch a 411 bus back to Merstham from Gatton Park Road. Details to book can be accessed here: https://gattonpark.co.uk/events/snowdrop-day-national-garden-scheme-13/. Option for pub visit or pizza at the end of course!
Looking forward to March – I will be organising a trip to Buckland Park to explore on foot, the old (and now very beautiful) quarry where some of us open water swim. It’s a lovely 2.5km walk around the lake, but no need to walk all round it unless you want to. If you want to sit and admire the view on a bench or explore at your own pace, that’s fine. Entry to Buckland Park will be £3.50 per person. However, if you walk or cycle (or catch 32 bus and get off at the Pheasant pub and walk from there – it’s only a few hundred yards) you get £2 off your entry fee. It’s a heck of a long walk, even by my standards, from Merstham, so I’d recommend car sharing. The Reverie café/restaurant is absolutely divine. Pre booking between 12 and 2 is likely to be essential if you’d like lunch there, but for morning coffee/brunch before 12/afternoon tea it should be fine to just turn up and sit down at a table. We can either do Saturday 12th or Sunday 13th March – please let me know your preference. 10-10.30am arrival. The paddling pool is available to us if you want to stick your toes in the water but see below for a proper swim. Details for the park are here: https://bucklandparklake.co.uk/
If you’d like to swim there, you will need to book this yourselves and independently via The Shac website – the cost for that will be £9.60 but your entry to Buckland park is included. Suitable for confident open water swimmers only I am afraid – last entry to the water is 11 am and it could be cold. You will need swim suit, towel, tow float, bright swim hat and possibly wet suit – the last three are available to hire on site at a cost. Pre booking for swimming is essential and down to the individual. Details on swim booking are here: https://www.theshac.co.uk/ows-winter/
To Celebrate 20 years of Gatton Community theatre, our fabulous local all-inclusive drama group will pe performing their amazing Promenade production of The Passion in and around Gatton Park. The performance will take place on Thursday 14th - Sunday 17th and Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd July, all at 8.00pm. This was due to take place in 2020 as a proper 20-year event, but, well, a certain global pandemic rather scuppered that, but two years on we will grasp the opportunity with both hands to run the production this summer – it’s a very moving performance (literally and as a story – the scenes take place over the entire park) so well worth joining in or watching the play.
If you fancy your hand at acting and joining the cast, we welcome actors and singers of all ages (children welcome) to take part. There are opportunities to be part of the production either on stage or behind the scenes. No formal auditions are required, instead anyone interested in joining in is invited to come to drama workshops and to meet the team on Saturday 6th and/or Sunday 7th March at 2.30pm at All Saints Church, Battlebridge Lane, South Merstham. It would be lovely to see a few members of Merstham Women’s group and any of their family members joining in if you have the time. If not, we’ll be organising tickets to one of the performances in July.
Other events coming up – on 14th Feb, our crafty meeting will be run by the wonderful Janet Aslett and we’ll be making button brooches – please do book this early so Janet knows how much equipment to provide – her last workshop was brilliant fun and very popular. Well worth attending. On 14th March, Merstham’s own Alex Hunter will deliver a very interesting and interactive talk on the history of Merstham. He will be known to a few of us, and his talks are very entertaining. He has written and published a few informative books about our area. Do come along. In April, it’s wine tasting – got to be done – our group is synonymous with food and drink. Our May meeting will involve a walk to the pub. With a few photographic opportunities to look at wildlife on the way there.
Looking ahead we will be hosting stalls at All Saints Fair on 12th June and at Merstham Football club for our village Big Community Day Out on 23rd July. More details to follow.
Our weekly events continue – Alice will be crafting at the Merstham mix on Fridays and Saturday mornings. Breakfast at the Mix every Tuesday from 9am. Pub evenings will resume at the Feathers once a month from 28th Feb at 8pm (can meet earlier in month if you so wish) for those who work and can’t make daytime events. Will keep an eye out for good films and local plays at the Harlequin.
Watch out for Alice’s blog contributions which will consist of sensible and interesting things to do that don’t involve jumping in cold water and walking around in mud! Heigh ho, one day I’ll learn to be normal. Meanwhile I’m off to think of some other hair brained event for us to enjoy….. See you all soon. Tootle pip!