Last night was the last full rehearsal before the Dress on Sunday. As always it was a bit of a shambles: Not everyone was there for a start - but we carried on regardless and managed to rehearse most of the show. I really do need to learn those songs properly! Anyway - it should be a great show - typical of Southwick village - a Pantomime at the end of March!
After the rehearsal we went into the local pub - The Golden Lion - for a drink to unwind. The place was pretty busy even though it was after ten o'clock, some diners still finishing their meals as well as several drinkers in the main bar. The strangest things happen in Southwick - one of the diners requested that one of their party should be able to sing a song at the end of their meal. The Landlady shrugged her shoulders and said, 'Why not?' (They do have a music licence). It was quite surprising though when the woman drew from her handbag a wad of sheet-music and then proceeded to sing Opera! Now, we are used to Jazz, acoustic guitar and such, Blues and Rock and Roll in The Goldie, but I think this was a first! She sang well although I am no judge of Opera and she was rewarded with a round of applause and much cheering.
I feel privileged to live opposite The Golden Lion - steeped with history - it is the famous pub which was frequented by Churchill and Eisenhower during the second world war whilst they were planning D-Day. Southwick is dubbed 'The D-Day Village' by many and we are quite used to Veterans travelling from the US to visit. Southwick House was originally the home of the owner of the estate. It was taken over during the war by the Admiralty - and was never given back. It was HMS Dryad for many years until they left a few years ago, leaving the place empty. Now it's been taken over by the Tri-Services and has been renamed Southwick Park. Visitors can still see the Map Room where D-Day landings were planned.
Most of the houses in the village are owned by the Estate. We call the owner 'Squire' although I don't believe he has a title as such. We often see Mr. Thistlethwaite around the village. This place is famous locally for the red doors. Whenever I tell people I live in Southwick, that's usually the first thing they ask -'Do you have a red front door?' They find it highly amusing.
It's a great place to live if you don't mind everyone knowing your business. It helps to enjoy a bit of gossip - and we all look out for each other when the chips are down - usually.