Church matters: Celebrations and services for the Christmas weekend start tomorrow, Christmas Eve, with the singing of carols to diners at the Coastguard Tearooms at 12.30 pm. If you missed our service, or enjoyed it so much you’d like another helping, there’s the Pett Christingle Service at St Mary and St Peter’s, at 3 pm. Then, the highlight of Christmas Eve is the Midnight Communion service at St Andrew’s at 11.15 pm. By which time it will be Christmas Day, with Holy Communion at 8 am at St Peter’s, and Family Communion at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am.
There’s one service in the Parish the following Sunday, the first day of the New Year, and that’s the 10.30 am service of Family Worship at St Andrew’s starting at 10.30 am. A little later that day, they’re planning on holding a Bonfire Party in celebration of the New Year, and they’ll burn all the rubbish piled in the field. Starting at 4 pm at St Andrew’s there will be food, fun and fireworks
(all thanks to Alan!) to start the New Year. Everyone’s welcome!
MOPPs today and to come: MOPPs will be closed today, Friday, December 23, but will be back in full swing again the following Friday, December 30. I’m not sure of the entertainment, but it is one of the regular days for free hearing aid maintenance. They’ll probably need it if you’re going to have a noisy and musical Christmas! Lunch will be coq au vin, and banoffee pie to follow. On the following Friday, the first in the New Year, members will be thrilled by ‘The Tale of Lady Valentina’, a pantomime by the Ladies of the Tuesday Ladies Club. There will also be an opportunity to partake of Nicola’s Age UK toe-nail cutting service and, what is more, a star prize for the raffle. Food for the day will be roast pork, and then fruit meringue.
Speakers Corner: The group was honoured by a visit from Rudyard Kipling – actually, Geoff Hutchinson doing a remarkable impression of him. Each of Geoff’s talks, or should we say acts, is a tour de force and this one was memorable. Mr. Kipling (strictly no jokes about cakes allowed!) was born in Bombay in 1865 and his unusual Christian name is the result of a happy holiday his parents had at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. His parents sent him to a brutal boarding school in Southsea and after 6 years of misery he returned to India and worked on a local newspaper. He married his wife Carrie and lived in Vermont for a time. His beloved daughter Josephine died on a voyage to New York and that was the last time he visited the country of his wife’s birth. They went to live in Rottingdean, but the family’s lives were made intolerable by his fame and they were constantly pestered by sightseers. At last in 1902 they found Batemans which they loved, but again their lives were blighted by the loss of ‘My Boy Jack’. Rudyard Kipling died in 1936 at the Middlesex Hospital.
On Wednesday, January 11, Speakers Corner will enjoy a talk by Phil White on the History of the Winkle Club. Visitors welcome for £2 admission and the meeting will be at the village hall at 2.30.
A light-hearted outlook for our Parish Council: Fairlight was really plugged in for the occasion, and there remains a superb show of light displays over most of the village. The judging panel which did the rounds consisted of Cllrs. Val Gibbs, Dave Thatcher and Andrew Mier, and they chose as Highly Commended 35 Smugglers Way, the whole of Knowle Road, and Fir Crest, Gorsethorn Way. The winner is 55 Lower Waites Lane, a truly magnificent show, very imaginative and creative, combining lights with an artistic effect which draws the viewer into the picture, making the result so much more than the sum of its parts, and well worth taking a look. A cheque for £50 will go to their favourite charity ‘Desperate Greekies’ a dog rescue charity.
As for Knowle Road, having several houses in a row lit up magnifies the effect considerably (a la Westfield effect. q.v.), and there are certainly more lights around in the village than has been the case in previous years.
Red Riding Hood: It is to be hoped that you have been persuaded by the advice given either in this column or elsewhere, and have already staked your claim to tickets for Red Riding Hood. Yes, I, too, can remember her when she was but ‘little’, but not any longer. These panto tickets tend to sell out for the Saturday evening first and then back through the rest of the total of four shows. With the show being directed by newby director Luci Mantel, there’s definite buzz in the air. I am assured it has nothing to do with the drains, ho! ho! It’s all happening from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 January, which is not quite as far away as some of the line-learners might have hoped. Tickets, priced between £3 and £7, are on sale at the Post Office now.
The Post Office and General Stores: Graeme has circulated the opening times for the Post Office and Shop, which are Monday to Saturday: 7am to 6pm, Sunday: 8am to 12 noon. Mind you, having said that, there are one or two wrinkles in the hours around Christmas and New Year. Starting with Christmas Eve, tomorrow, when the closing time will be 5.30 pm. On Christmas Day Sunday, the shop will be closed, while on Boxing Day Monday and the day after, Tuesday 27, opening hours will be 8 am to 12 noon. No Boxing Day dash to Ore or Winchelsea for the papers! The New Year weekend will have Saturday closing at 5.30 pm, closed all day Sunday, January 1 (though there are papers elsewhere that day!), and open Monday morning from 8 am to 12 noon.
East Field: Many local residents were shaken – and stirred – to see the consultancy’s three proposals for discussion, and have been seething ever since. The first is for a development of thirty 4 or 5 bedroom houses on the part of the site known locally as East Field. The second is for a development of fifty three houses on East Field, made up of forty 4 or 5 bedroom houses and thirteen 3 bedroom bungalows. And the third is for four hundred and ninety two properties over the whole of the farm to the south of Pett Level Road, with a range of sizes and types plus commercial, industrial and retail space, allotments, a village hall and play and leisure facilities. Although this is building on a scale greater than that in London in1667-8, we should forget for a moment the advantages of the almost 500 new properties scenario – an Olympic-sized swimming pool, multiplex cinema, theatre and concert hall, a branch of Harrods and Ikea – you name it, it would all be there, possibly even with a real, live policeman in the village. I understand there is an alternative proposal, which is not, of course, a planning application, just running this up the flagpole, like the other ideas, to see who salutes it. It’s for four hundred and ninety two Leylandii monstrosus aggressivae, each 60 foot tall (at the time of ordering. They’re worse than rabbits!) If the consultants think this is ridiculous, they started it… Just saying.
Pub: And in all the pipe dreams of a rosy Fairlight future, above, no thoughts of a pub? Well, no. It seems as if there may possibly at last be some movement in the Cove area, after months of eddies and flurries of nothing but rumours. We should all be glad. The village needs a thriving pub, and the recent evening appearance of the place, with bitingly cold fog, soaking wet – but without the willpower to get together and be a proper shower – and a lack of light, all suggested that the next probable licensee would be Norman Bates.
Happy Christmas: I’d like to thank all those who plough through the Fairlight Voice each week, no doubt praying that sooner or later something focussed and coherent will appear in the column. To all the readers and residents of Fairlight, I wish a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year, wishes that go as well to my long-suffering editor Colin, whose patience may be sorely tried but is never found wanting, and always allows the odd gust of surrealism! Further seasonal good wishes and particular thanks go to Shirley, Karen, Robert, Kath and Richard, Val, Andrew, Stephen, John, Bob, Jim, Wendy and Jennifer and many more, valiant stringers who willingly pass me carefully crafted copy in the sure knowledge that I will ‘improve’ it – and mutilate it!
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