Church Matters: On Sunday June 7, there will be a service of All-Age Worship at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, and later, at 6 pm, there’s Holy Communion at St Peter’s.
A note about the other service in the Benefice this Sunday, which is Holy Communion at Pett’s St Mary and St Peter Church. This was to have started at 9.30 am but, as it is followed by the Feast of Puddings in the Village Hall (for which you will need a ticket) the service has been rescheduled to commence at 11 am so that people can go straight on to the Feast without let or hindrance (but still not without a ticket!)
As I write, UK Power Networks are showing amazing communication, logistic and consideration skills on this Sunday, closing the top of Battery Hill so they can move a transformer. What a pity they didn’t consult the Church, who have a Baptism that day, and are expecting up to 100 extra people. The closure is slated for the entire day, although the job will certainly not take that long. I guess.
At MOPPs today: There’s a talk by Ray Broomfield entitled ‘A Schoolboy in World War II’, and Sean Godley will be along, too, from ‘Eye Concern’. Oh, and there’s a star prize for the raffle.
What’s for lunch? Well, it’s roast beef followed by pavlova. Next Friday, June 12, you’ll have Keith Osbourne with his Music for Health, with the lunch to follow consisting of gammon and parsley sauce, along with apple pie (afters, not actually with it!)
Parish Assembly: Last week’s Annual Parish Assembly attracted a grand total of 52 people, the vast majority of them from our village. Two of those who weren’t residents were John Edmunds, our excellent Parish Clerk, and Chris Saint, our recently elected District Councillor from Pett, who replaces the long-serving and highly regarded Cllr Robin Patten, and Chris now sits in tandem with Cllr Roger Bird. He was introduced to those present as, indeed, was Doug Greenup, who has become the latest to join our Parish Council.
Although the evening was not a Parish Council event, it was necessarily chaired by Andrew Mier, the PC Chairman, who is obliged by law to undertake this task. He related the achievements attained by the Council in the previous 12 months, all delivered in a likeable, easy and digestible style. Principal among the several facts were those concerning the community purchase of the Post Office and General Stores, and Stage 3 of the Cliff Preservation Scheme, and ‘guest speakers’ were invited to give updates on each of these important projects.
First up was Colette Slack on the Post Office, clear and concise in her exposition of how things stand, which appear to be set fair at present, and awaiting the outcome of an important meeting on June 10, which may lead to an offer of funding, be it full, partial plus loan, partial plus mortgage or some other combination. Visits to our village by those empowered to make grants have been well received, both for the PO itself and the general impression of Fairlight. Questions came from the floor as, obviously, not everybody is as yet convinced about the scheme, and doubts remain. These were dealt with effectively. Next up was Paul Capps, as committed to cliff preservation as anyone could wish for. He painted a healthy picture of where we are at present, though it appears that some, not from the village, would like the cliff to erode naturally, so that they might study the underlying geology. If you could study where these NIMBYs live, it would probably tell you much about their attitude. As mentioned last week, the purchase of shares in the shop, and placing of pledges for the cliff, both go a long way towards confirming our belief in our own village for those with the money to grant us. You can still support either, or preferably both!
As for Knowle Wood and the Warren Estate, it is still early days in the cycle of discovering whether or not this could be purchased by the PC on our behalf. Watch this space for quite a while, I would suggest, but please call Andrew Mier if you happen to win the Euromillions!
There was a pleasant interlude when the Chairman awarded this year’s John Lutman Award for Community Service to George Hensher. George was previously on the Parish Council for many years, and served as Council Chairman during much of his latter invaluable service there. He was also Chairman of the Preservation Trust, (and had become the village’s greatest expert on the filling and lighting of the beacon at the peak of Peter James Lane!) A picture of George shows him be-suited, and one of the few men present who could find a tie and tie it!
Village Hall Summer Fair: In a way, the Summer Fair in the village hall tomorrow, Saturday, June 6 from 12 noon until 3 pm, is like another Parish Assembly in its own right, when possibly twice the number of local residents who attended last week’s formal evening will pass through the doors in support of the hall, thus helping with maintenance of the hall itself and of reasonable hiring fees. Those attending will avail themselves of something to eat - lunch or cakes, and drink - tea, coffee or Pimms, a chance to buy books, plants and other assorted goodies, and, above all, the opportunity of winning some decent prizes on raffles, tombola and several other games of chance. Great fun, then, and a very good cause!
DEFRA in the village: No, not our grandiloquently named Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but the Descendants of Ex-Fairlight Residents in America. And on the afternoons of Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 June you might see a minibus stopping at various places around Fairlight. The minibus will contain eleven Americans, all descended from the Sargent family who lived in Fairlight between 1818 and 1858. Their ancestors emigrated to the USA to start a new life with their eight children, and were then joined by a further five children born in the States.
If you’d like to learn more about the Sargent family, their lives in Fairlight and in the USA, don’t miss the FRA exhibit at the Village Hall Summer Fair. It will be in the Committee Room showing extracts from the FRA archive, old and new, plus Haydon Luke’s work on the other Fairlights around the world. Please make sure you see this. Meanwhile, my thanks to FRA archivist Paul Draper for this gem.
Floral Club: The Club’s May meeting attracted a goodly number of members, who merely had to turn up with their creative powers at the ready, and make their own floral arrangements using everything they needed having been provided for them, apart from imagination and nimble fingers. An extremely pleasant afternoon was the result.
Gardening Club outing: On Monday, 50 members of the Fairlight Gardening Club made a special visit to see the gardens at Fairlight Hall. Peter Godwin, the Head Gardener, welcomed them all and then they were left to wander round at their leisure. The Club members found the variety of plants and planting inspirational and, in particular, many were envious of the raised vegetable beds in the Walled Garden - very helpful for those with bad backs! Peter and his staff were on hand throughout the visit to answer any questions and he has agreed to visit the Club in Fairlight next year to impart more of his knowledge. The Hall provided delicious refreshments which were a welcome end to a very enjoyable afternoon.
Hastings Country Park in June: ‘Photographing Nature in the Country Park’ is the title of a talk by local naturalist, Crystal Ray, on various aspects of natural history photography, to be followed by a practical session in the country park. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned professional, bring along your camera and pick up some useful hints and tips. It’s all happening next Saturday, June 13 from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. If you’re going, you need to meet up at the Milking Parlour, Place Farm, Barley Lane, off Fairlight Road. There is a charge: £2, though the event is free to Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve. Booking is essential for this event, and the person to contact is Jill Howell on 815256. Dogs, however photogenic, are not permitted at this event.
Mallydams in June: It’s a busy month for all at RSPCA Mallydams in Peter James Lane – but then, what month isn’t? A week tomorrow, on Saturday, June 13, there is an Open Wood event between 11 am and 3 pm, with a last entry time of 2.30 pm. The theme of the day’s event will be Wildlife Friendly Gardening, and it offers the chance to enjoy a walk in the lovely woodland and for children to follow a trail or join in one of the activities. It will only cost you £1 each to participate. Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome. There is limited free parking on site and, weather permitting, more parking will be available in Lower Mountain Field in Peter James Lane.
Further fun at Mallydams comes on the following Saturday, June 20, when the Friends of Mallydams Wood will be holding another of their popular Quiz Nights. It will run from 7.30 (with a prompt start!) to 10.30 pm and feature teams of up to six people each. The cost is £4 per head, and there’ll be a raffle during the evening, too. Take your own food and drink, and book early to avoid disappointment by calling Fiona Cannings on 0300 123 0750, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Begging ‘bowls’!: It is hoped that every member of the Wine and Social Club who is available will be part of the party at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel on Monday next, when they will be having their annual pétanque evening, together with a ploughman’s lunch, sorry, supper. This is always a fun evening, and those who miss it will be sorry! Call Jill Lewing on 812340 urgently if you would like to take part.
Rubbish service: Monday morning’s dog walking was interesting. No noisy but essential refuse collection going on, but quite a proliferation of bins at the kerbside in hopeless anticipation. Over-zealous green bins were out in force, a fortnight after their last emptying. Even now, after 18 days, you still have to wait another fortnight for their next clearance. Several black bins out, too, which was more nearly correct – they will be done today. And again next Friday. Please keep up at the back, there. However, I believe that all of our vast village may not have the same collection days henceforth. You may have bin had! Brown bins, if you’ve paid for them, will keep going every other Wednesday, and the next is coming up next week.