Fairlight

Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway

In our churches this Sunday… at 10.30 am at St Andrew’s, it’s Shoe Box Sunday, being celebrated with an All Age Service. Later, but not too much later, there’s an Informal Communion at St Peter’s in the heart of Fairlight Cove, and this starts at the winter-time norm of 4 pm.

Church lighting… The responses following the demonstration of the exterior lighting of St Andrew’s have been fully collated and of the 38 replies, all bar six were in favour. Of those six opponents of the scheme, five had not seen the demo, either because they couldn’t make it or didn’t wish to be there. Which was a pity, as one of those in favour had been strongly against the scheme when leaving home, only to be totally converted by the gentle, discreet sight of what was being offered. The proposed lighting also drew unfavourable comments two days later during the Open Forum of Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting, on the grounds of light pollution and running costs. It was, however, reiterated that the low wattage, yellowish-white LED lights will be angled so they hit and enhance only the stonework of the tower, and that all the new lighting will cost a scarcely massive £15 per year to run.

A few additional points of note came out of the survey. Some of the replies represented the view of couples, not individuals but, even so, the total interest falls short of three per cent of Fairlight residents. And not all respondents were from Fairlight – a number were from Pett parishioners. One made the comment that, to obviate the light pollution, the lights should point downwards, but as there will be no light spill away from the tower structure, this does not seem to be a sound idea. A number of people thought the general idea of off-at-midnight (which is only an idea for discussion) was too late, and 11 pm was more appropriate, and I agree.

The top of Fairlight is, I believe, the second highest spot in East Sussex, and St Andrew’s tower is a prominent landmark. It had great value as such a landmark in World War II – but to the other side, who were under orders not to bomb it. In every picture showing an overview of English towns over the centuries, church steeples, spires and towers reach up from the lower buildings below. Our potential church lighting is merely a discreet, gentle 21st Century modern day emphasis of what we already have.

A Preservation Trust follow-up… after the Trust’s AGM two Sundays ago, it transpired that there had been a misunderstanding of information concerning the Rockmead Road pump maintenance contract, which we were told was to increase from £94,000 over five years to £100,000 for a single year. I went so far as to malign the quoting company as profiteers, and now wish I hadn’t, as the basis for negotiation apparently starts at £18,000 per year, a reduction of 4 %, rather than the 532 % increase the erroneous figures suggested. My apologies, but my usually impeccable source had been badly misled.

The Parish Council… met on the Tuesday of last week… with Cllr Rev Val Gibbs in the Chair, in the uncommonly rare, but unavoidable, absence of Chairman Cllr Andrew Mier. Business went along smoothly, with members voting to spend £150 to clear the French drain on Wood Field, a much needed new notice board in the bus shelter opposite the village’s commercial section (the pub, estate agent and hairdresser, and that’s it), and repairs to the skateboard park in the northwest corner of Wood Field.

District Cllr Roger Bird reported that the Council has a new pot-hole machine (one that repairs them, not makes them) which fills cracks and prevents water ingress, the aggravating cause of many holes when the water freezes and expands (you remember from school, hazily, the physics behind frozen pipes). He also said that, in six months, some £281,000 had been paid in compensation for hole damage to vehicles. Methinks it might be a better bet to spend more on the holes themselves, leading to lower expenses on the resultant damage… He also explained that pot hole inspection in rural areas was an annual affair, and that a priority pot hole is one measuring one foot long and four inches deep.

Operation Crackdown, which is not aimed at reducing the incidence of drug abuse, but of speeding, will commence on Thursday, November 14. You have been warned…

It was pointed out that stuff on verges which prevents cars from parking there is illegal, though Sharon Eldridge, our PCSO, has circulated a note referring to a resident’s complaint about cars parked on footways, and suggesting that people refrain from doing this. Actually, man-placed parking deterrents are just as dangerous to pedestrians as cars on the footpath.

Mention was made about materials placed, unlit, on the carriageway, and how difficult it seemed to be to get any corrective action taken.

The Cove… plays host to the renowned Phil Trainor, originally from Belfast and now Romney Marsh based, as this excellent musician, who these days plies his expertise along the south coast, visits our local tomorrow evening, Saturday, November 2 at 7.30 pm. A very attractive attraction!

Flicks in the Village… is showing Song for Marion next Thursday, November 7 at 7 for 7.30 pm in Pett Village Hall. The film, which stars Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston and Vanessa Redgrave, is a comedy drama, with music, set in London.

Get your tickets… for next week’s Players’ production of Prescription for Murder, running from Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 November at 7.30 pm, and with a 2.30 pm matinee on the Saturday if you’d rather not be out now the evenings are dark. Why not go to the first performance and then, if you enjoy it, get a repeat Prescription for later in the week? This excellent mystery will have you scratching your head in puzzlement, and it will only cost you £6 a ticket. Some other local amateurs, producing straight plays, are charging twice that. They are not, however, twice as good!

The Literary Society… meets next Wednesday, November 6, when the popular speaker Laton Frewin, will tell you all about The Gunpowder Plot. It starts at 2.30pm in the village hall, and visitors are welcome. A talk that’s sure to go with a bang!

Bowls Club activities… appear twice this week. Tonight, Friday, at 6.45 for 7 pm, is the latest in their series of fortnightly Whist Drives in the village hall. It costs £4 a head – or rather hand – to enter.

Then tomorrow, Saturday 2 November, from 10 am to 12 noon, it’s the Club’s Coffee Morning in the village hall. This is always an extremely popular event, not only due to the couple or so rounds of bingo at the end of the proceedings. Be there – but don’t be surprised to find that everyone else is there, too.

Wake up at the back there… don’t forget the Gardening Club talk on Monday next, November 4. It’s to be on The Life of Dormice, given by Richard Thompson from RSPCA Mallydams Wood. Of course, it’s in the village hall at 2.30 pm.

More questions to be answered… in the Activate Quiz & Supper, which is coming up on Friday, November 15, at 7.30 pm in the village hall. The cost will be £6 for adults, and £4 for Activate members. You’re invited to participate in teams of four to six. There’s to be a bar and a raffle, and if you’d like to be there, give Wendy a call on 812297.

An Activate activity… when their Quiz and Supper evening comes along a fortnight today, on Friday, November 15. It all starts at 7.30 pm in the village hall, and you’re invited to form teams of four to six, and pay up your £6 if you’re an adult, but £4 for Activate members. Food, quiz, bar and raffle all feature, and Wendy, on 812297, will be pleased to take your booking.

Fairlight Trefoil Guild… met on Wednesday of last week, when the Branch Secretary Brenda Ridler helped the members with some early Christmas preparations learning how to make a decoration for their cakes. Christmas Roses, Holly, complete with berries, and Ivy replicas were all made from icing and each member went home with their own creations all ready to be assembled on the icing plaque and placed on the top of their cake for December 25.

Next month our meeting is entitled No Room at the Inn, a talk to be given by Tony Mann from the Flushing Inn in Rye. Everyone, including the menfolk, is welcome to join the meetings which are held in St. Peters Church, on the Broadway/Waites Lane corner on the 4th Wednesday each month from 10 am until 12 noon. A note will appear in Village Voice to jog your memory nearer the date.

The Floral Club… attracted only the select few for their October meeting, where they undertook a members’ practice for Halloween. Seven of the 13 present made their own practice arrangements.

Four week warning… of the forthcoming Fairfest Barn Dance in the village hall on Saturday, November 30 at 7.30 pm. The £7.50 tickets are available from the Post Office or from Jennifer Annetts on 812476, Margaret Pulfer on 814866 or Terry Mosley on 812144. There will be dancing to the fabulous fiddlers of the ‘Flat Cat’ Barn Dance Band, plus a pate or cheese ploughman’s, a bar and the usual raffle.

The RSPCA Annual Christmas Fayre… will be happening in the village hall on Saturday, November 23 from 10 am to 1 pm. The organisers - RSPCA Sussex East & Hastings Branch – are seeking your donations to help make the Fayre go with a swing, and spare glassware, china, nick-knacks and other desirable objects for which you have no room would be gratefully received. If you call Ann Craske on 812434, she will be able to arrange collection, though you are welcome to drop stuff in to her (gently!) at Brigadoon, 12 Lower Waites Lane. They do excellent work locally (just ask Poppy, my rescue dog from Ann) and both deserve and need our support. ‘Fayre’ plays havoc with my spellchecker, which offers more options than Roget could have dreamed up.

One or two fences down, and possibly more relatively minor damage I’m not aware of, but by and large the village seems to have got off very lightly over the much-heralded storm, unlike some poor souls across the southern counties. Fairlight’s micro-climate served it well, which is fair when you consider we suffered more from the tornado than most. What goes around… our turn will come!