Church Matters: This Sunday, November 20, there will be one service in the Parish, being Holy Communion at St Andrew’s, at 10.30 am.
Today at MOPPs, and next week, too: Today, Friday, November 18, ‘Wills and Inheritance Tax’ is the title of a presentation to be given by Richard Ostle, of solicitors Gaby Hardwicke. There’s a Christmas Tombola all lined up, and then lunch will be bacon pudding and trifle for sweet. Next week, which will bring us to Friday, November 25, it’s the turn once again of Keith Osbourne’s Music for Health. There will also be free Hearing Aid Maintenance that day, and lunch will be the old Barbara Windsor favourite, chicken casserole and dumplings, and banana custard is the day’s pudding.
A Hidden Agenda?: The Parish Council meets for the second time this month on Tuesday next, November 22, in the village hall at 7 pm. Do try to be there as our worthy councillors, plus their District and County counterparts plan our future, right our wrongs, and generally make things a whole lot better for those of us delighted to be living a Fairlight life. As we go to press, the agenda for the meeting is not yet finalised, but you can rest assured that the Open Forum will be on the list and it could grant you your Andy Warhol Minutes of Fame. Just make sure you don’t make it as long as 15!
And don’t forget, after next week there will be a natural break for the Council, who will not meet again until January next year. They’ll still be beavering away behind the scenes.
Fairlight Playgroup and Nursery: The Playgroup will be holding a New and Nearly New sale in the village hall on Saturday next, November 26, from 9.30 am until 12 noon. While this will not be on the same scale as the Group’s renowned Jumble Sales, for which you’ll have to wait until next spring, there is a strong likelihood of many desirable goodies being available.
However, some of them will not have materialised as yet, as worthy donations are invited next week. You can deliver them to the village hall next Monday to Thursday, November 21 to 24, between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm. please let them have items you are really fond of, but for which you no longer have the space. They cannot accept audio cassettes, videos or electrical goods. The playgroup has been running in the village for a long time, and is one of the four most favoured organisations in the Fairlight psyche.
Preservation Trust AGM: As previously intimated, the AGM of the Preservation Trust will be held a week tomorrow, on Saturday, November 26. As soon as the Playgroup have cleared away their morning sales event, the Trust will able to hold their business meeting, and to celebrate a highly successful year, which has culminated in the building of the third stage of the cliff-protecting berm. The meeting will start at 2.30 pm.
Village Hall Christmas Fair: This is on Saturday, December 3 this year, in the village hall, of course, from 12 noon until 3 pm. Hot food will be available from the start at 12 noon, which is when Father Christmas will arrive (he’s an experienced Fair-goer, and doesn’t want to miss his nosh.) All the stalls you love re-visiting will be there, so make a diary note and go along to see old friends and spend a few bob, in old, real money.
RSPCA Fayre: Another popular event is the Fayre – not just a common or garden ‘Fair’ – in aid of the local branch of the RSPCA, the bit of that organisation that behaves as we all believe it should, rather than climbing on various ultra politically correct animal initiatives which have tended to cast a shadow over a once revered outfit. The local enthusiasts often have on sale items which other Sales cannot reach, so check out the offerings. The date is Saturday, December 10, and their opening hours are from 10 am to 1 pm, all in the village hall.
An unexpected call: Last Saturday, I had a phone call from a resident of more than forty years standing, George Morris, whom I had never previously met. He had something which, he said, might interest me. He brought it round, and I was astonished to learn that 93 year old Mr Morris had, that week, been appointed a Chevalier (or Knight) in the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur. The letter is sent in the name of the President of the Republic, and the citation offers Mr Morris ‘the warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War.’ George also had with him the beautiful insignia of his award.
During the war, George Morris was in the Royal Navy, and served aboard HMS Bulolo. This had been MV Bulolo, an Australian passenger vessel of some 6,400 tons, which was converted to become the HQ Ship on Combined Operations, the brilliant idea of Lord Mountbatten. It may seem obvious today that a massive and complex amphibious operation needs to be controlled from a vessel which remains offshore after the landing, which is not liable to be removed to take part in some naval operation and into which all the communications from land, sea and air are channelled.
George Morris has been told that a large number of decorations has to be awarded between now and the end of the year, and that it will not be possible to present this honour to each veteran personally.
However, his award letter goes on to say ‘as we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and sec urity to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.’ As fine and deserved a tribute as anyone could wish for.
Fairlight Players: The Players’ 2016-17 season opened with train noises and steam as Arnold Ridley’s renowned Ghost Train took to the rails. The cast, under the direction of David Burchell, built plenty of tension along with some very credible characterisations. Thomas Edie took the eye with his Teddie Deakin, a pushy silly ass so beloved of the twenties, with Roland Garrad all dour doom and gloom as Stationmaster Hodgkin. Tom Miller and Aisling Edie were the married couple at odds with each other, while Vicky Veness and Jake Huggett, in a promising Players debut, were spending their first night in a nicely distressed country railway station – though certainly not a train station! Judy Welsh couldn’t hold her liquor as Miss Bourne, and so slept through most of the excitement. Peter Spencer, as Herbert Price, and Steve Hill, as Dr Stirling, were suitably mysterious in their quest to look after Herbert’s sister, Julia, a role played with considerable panache by debutante Amber Rampling on the face of it too young and inexperienced, yet she was able to bring real depth to the part.
Apart from the good set, I was puzzled why so few, on a biting cold winter’s night, were wearing overcoats. I didn’t like the covered caged bird being parked on the mantelpiece, or the downstage door being hung on the wrong side, but the group met the major challenges presented by this difficult choice head on, and sent their audiences home happy.
Martineau Lane: A dereliction of duty on my part because, apart from all the overgrowing vegetation, which tends to mean you can’t see round corners to where there are appalling road surfaces, I have made no note whatever that umpteen excellent patches have been applied in Martineau Lane, principally on the west side of the southern end of the road. The only small snag seems to be that they have not, in fact, discovered and rectified all the potholes – a difficult task given the quantity of fallen leaves along this road. But it does leave the motorist wondering which little pile of leaves is hiding a ruddy great hole!
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