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Church matters: This Sunday, March 8, there will be a BCP Holy Communion service at St Peter’s at 8 am, and then Morning Praise at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am.

In the afternoon there’s a concert, entitled ‘I am the gentle light’, at St Thomas’s Church, Winchelsea at 3.30 pm. It will feature both sacred and secular music with the Cantate Choir and instrumental soloists from King’s College School, Wimbledon. Tickets are £10 each from Winchelsea Farm Kitchen in the High Street, or call 01797 226287.

For the third week of the five week Lenten Course, on Wednesday, March 11 at 7.30 pm and again on Thursday, March 12 at 2.30 pm, both at St Peter’s, the subject under discussion will be ‘The Treatment of Women’. The sessions will be led by Marcia Russell.

Parish Council: The Parish Council met ten days ago, in a meeting of calm normality following the occasionally somewhat frenetic gatherings in January. Fairlight has paid for its share, with Guestling, of a Speedwatch device – hooray! Then, with the council seriously but temporarily depleted due to personal or prejudicial interest, noted that the Fairlight Players, prime renters of the Council’s garage on Wood Field, could share their usage with Fairfest in a private agreement. Neighbourhood Planning was discussed, and it was noted that help would be necessary for the plans to go ahead. Fortunately, two of the 13 members of the public present volunteered to support the scheme – with their time, not money. The next stage will cost between £13,000 and £18,000, for which a grant is available.

Vice Chair Cllr Rev Val Gibbs submitted a report about water and sewage leaks, of which we have more than our fair share. If you have complained ad nauseam without getting a satisfactory reply, the best way forward may be to contact the Consumer Council for Water, which has a statutory duty to represent customers’ interests. It also has the power to make a water company pay compensation where appropriate. Their website is www.ccwater.org.uk, or you could write to them at The Consumer Council for Water, 1st floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4AJ

Playgroup Jumble Sale: Like Co-op margarine of years gone by, the fame of the Playgroup’s annual Jumble Sale is spreading. This year’s event didn’t disappoint. There was a queue of 42 people waiting for the doors to open at 10 am and, despite countless people walking away from the hall laden down with a multitude of large, very full carrier bags, there was later still no obvious empty space in any of the selling areas – clothing, bric-a-brac, children’s toys, books, CDs and DVDs, household, larger items, cakes and tombola. The intense activity continued throughout the two and a half hours duration of the sale. On the day, the takings were an excellent £950, and though there are a few expenses, like hire of the hall, to meet, there will be further income from the onward sale of surplus clothing, for instance, though this particular payment can take several months to materialise. The Playgroup’s Nicole thanks all those who attended and purchased all manner of goodies, all the ladies who manned (womanned?) the stalls and refreshments, and all whose donations made such an imposing spread. Roll on next year – and watch this space!

Variety Show: Packed in the morning for the jumble sale, the village hall was bursting at the seams again in the evening when the Fairlight Residents Association put on a Grand Local Variety Show. It is difficult to see how they could have packed in more audience members without stealing the infamous crown from Calcutta’s Black Hole. It was not merely the show that attracted the numbers, but also the hot buffet supper, prepared by Sally, Jill, Mary, Pauline and Sue, the reasonably priced bar and the raffle, for which all available tickets were sold. The entertainment, masterminded by Ken Hall, consisted of some well-presented but seemingly difficult numbers from four Activates, the pleasing music of husband and wife team Ken and Wendy Hatch, the sound group singing of the Village Choir, under Wendy Hatch’s direction and with Roland Friday on keyboard. Magician Geoff Hunt did some amazing things with handkerchiefs, eggs and ropes, while Bill Sapsford’s monologues were much appreciated. Jim Saphin showed he has lost none of his touch with a good song (or four!), and was also the Master of Ceremonies, all long, rarely heard words, for the entire show. The Rye Ukulele Experiment performed a highly popular set to bring the show to an end, and provided the finale when joined on stage by the whole cast. Generously sponsored by the FRA in the food department, the evening raised an astonishing £1,371.39, all of which will go to the Preservation Trust towards the Third Stage of the Sea Road berm fund. Many congratulations go to all those who worked so hard to make the evening the success it undoubtedly was, and thanks to all who supported the venture.

Floral Club demonstration: Lynn Carter, a local demonstrator whose displays have graced the village hall a number of times in the past, was here again eight days ago, and a goodly crowd thoroughly enjoyed her latest show. Few were late, despite Village Voice claiming that the meeting would begin at 2.30 pm. As any fule kno, they always start at 2.15 pm. This month’s meeting, on Thursday, March 26, is the Club’s AGM.

Below par for the Gorse: By the time this reaches you, it may be too late to protest about all that is planned for the Firehills. It is believed that the Firehills got their name from the brilliant yellow display of gorse, clearly visible from the sea. Never has this been more true than recently, although recently that yellow has been composed of Caterpillar tractors and JCBs, tearing up the gorse as the mothers-who-know-best carry out their plan to ‘improve’ what God and nature had already made a pretty good job of establishing. The Clearances 230 years ago somewhat north of here were hardly an unqualified success. Will these be any better?

Hastings Borough Council Planners were due to discuss the new Visitor Centre two days ago. Incomplete public briefing, and a bid to bury bad news with a pre-Christmas timing, means that insufficient attention has been drawn to the minus points of the plan, which will turn the Country Park ostensibly into a theme park. It seems to be partly based on sheer greed. Could there be money out there the HBC could get from an open air amphitheatre, running weddings, permitting parties, attracting language students as well as geo-coaching activities. OK, at present a curfew from 5 pm would apply to all the new facilities but, given the ‘mission creep’ thus far, how long before everything gets late night permission, and the amphitheatre becomes a mini-Regents Park or Minack Theatre? Much of what is proposed may well be admirable objectives, but not in a Country Park. How about light and noise pollution? They don’t appear to have the faintest idea of what it is they actually possess. Undoubtedly, there is an awareness of the cost of everything, but they appreciate the value of nothing. A fine new Visitor Centre could lead to increased car parking charges. And, as the Romans would have said - ‘Cave Cave’, meaning beware of Cave, the co-operative of sustainable architects from Kingston-upon-Thames appointed by HBC for this project.

All quiet on the Postal Front?: Publically, yes, but not behind the scenes. A bit like swans a-swimming, where all is calm on the surface, while there’s a heck of a lot going on under the water. They have had a number of volunteers prepared to join the committee, and are sorting out who can do what and when – six hours a week is quite a substantial commitment, and they are analysing the best way forward. To this end, and stating categorically that the project is not dead in the water, share monies are not being returned at present and, indeed, they are still selling the shares, at a bargain £10 each. The same protection exists as previously – you will get your money back were they finally be unable to proceed. It is hoped that even more positive news will be available next week.

The Wine and Social Club: Their next meeting, coming up on Monday, March 9 at 7.30 pm, features Sea Shanties, brought to you by the best of the Old Town. In the village hall, as usual, members should take their own booze, glasses and nibbles. It’s early in the year – it makes sense to apply to join now if you’re not already in.

East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre: is a registered charity working in partnership with Adult Social Care to provide a free of charge mobile information and advice service for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people living in East Sussex. The vehicle, which is funded by the Big Lottery, is equipped to offer demonstrations of equipment to help the hard of hearing, and to undertake hearing screening tests, if time permits. The mobile unit will be visiting Fairlight on Monday, March 16, and will be in the Village Hall Car Park, Broadway from 1.30 to 3.30 pm. The bus is accessible to wheelchair users and representatives from both the East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre and Adult Social Care will be available to provide individual information and advice on all aspects of hearing loss. They call here quite regularly, and are always well patronised by Fairlight residents. If you would like further information please contact them on 01323 722505 by voice or text, or email to info@eshrc.org.uk

The Colossus of Roads: They came, they saw, they infilled. Potholes have been getting some good restorative treatment in the village. The west side of Waites Lane remains unpleasant and possibly unsafe to drive over, while the first hundred yards – or it may be as much as a hundred metres – remain lethal, with two drains needing rebuilding to the untutored eye, and the hole outside Royd getting deeper by the day. To me, the average pothole needs a bucket of something, a man, a shovel and a rammer. The problem is getting enough of the resources and time to cope with all they have to get through. Drains would appear to be on a different scale. A trip across the Ridge reveals any number of bits of iron which are further below the road surface than they should be. Each of these means more men, equipment and time, plus lane closures, temporary traffic lights and infuriated, impatient motorists, who only minutes earlier were moaning about the thumping under their cars. I wouldn’t have the job of organising that little lot for a pension.

Keith Pollard

Brookfield, Broadway