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Church matters: There is one service in the parish this Sunday, which is Holy Communion at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am.

MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, January 27, Celia King will be along with her chair-based exercises, with the promise of an excellent lunch of roast lamb, and rice pudding with jam to follow. On Friday, February 3, the entertaining visitors will be the Friends Unlimited Choir. Also available that day will be Nicola’s toe nail cutting, and a star raffle prize. Lunch will be fish and chips, with a delicious pud of Black Forest gateau with cream for afters.

Gardening Club: The Club commences its 2017 activities on Monday week, February 6, at 2.30 pm in the village hall with their AGM followed by their traditional ‘Bring and Share’ nosh and a chat. If you’re planning to queue for the Club Hut re-opening tomorrow week, you’ll be in for a long, cold wait, for the date is not the first Saturday in February this year, but March. That’s the date, then – Saturday, March 4 from 10 am to 12 noon.

How about joining the Royal British Legion?: The local Branch meets on the first Tuesday of each month, which means there’s a meeting on Tuesday week, February 7, at 11.45 am for 12 noon at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel. Just take yourself along there and you will be made most welcome. The meetings last about an hour, and light refreshments can be purchased afterwards. If you’re interested and would like to join, please ring John Pulfer on 814866. And that number is correct. For a while, John’s number was publicised with a 2 where the 4 should be, but that preceding number is accurate.

Players’ auditions: Last week’s audition evening attracted a goodly turnout, but it was still insufficient to complete the task. The casting committee was not dismayed, however, as they were aware of people who had to work on that occasion, those who were unwell, and those who were otherwise unable to make it. This will make the first rehearsal, on Monday next, a supplementary audition call too.

Red Riding Hood: It’s pleasing to be able to get a review of the Fairlight Panto Group’s current production into the paper while the show is still running. However, if this tempts you to see it, you may well be too late as you only have tonight, Friday, and tomorrow, Saturday at 7.30 pm, as well as tomorrow’s matinee at 2.30 pm, and there is really no saying how many, if any, tickets remain unsold. I’m sure tomorrow they are very thin on the ground. This week’s show is the 38th annual effort since the Group’s inception in 1978, and it is the 28th different title or subject they have offered. Lucinda Mantel directs a smallish cast of eleven principals and eight in the chorus and dancers efficiently and effectively. The piece is very well served by some excellent playing from the evil Squire Bullymore of Tom Miller, Peter the Wood Cutter of Chris Goring, a sparklingly full-on dame, Granny Knott, from the returning Ian Mantel, and the howling success of Ben Burford as the Big Bad Wolf. Each of these four is working at the top of his form. Wendy Hatch, as the Kind Fairy, is quite used to balancing the good against the bad, and Matthew Barry in the Buttons role of Patches, plus Emily White as Pinny, make telling contributions, both of them at their most effective yet. Reddy and Willin give the exceptionally young Will Giles and George Morland an early chance to be the ‘broker’s men’ of the show. Each has great stage presence and a confident persona which will stand them in wonderful stead in the years to come. Penny Kenward’s Miss Took is amusing in her various entrances and characters and, last but certainly not least, Esmee Willson, promoted to the title role at the eleventh hour, does her absolute best, coping extremely well in a difficult situation. The chorus did well too, and the costumes were all that one would expect from this company, with its formidable reputation. Lighting and sound were both effective, with Keith Miller ensuring the latter keeps the Goons alive with his now traditional inclusion of ‘he’s fallen in the water’. As usual here, you get countless settings for your money, all changed smoothly and hitch-free. And it must be said that the original script, by Peter Long and Keith Rawnsley, is a cut above the average.

An expanded and more detailed version of this review should appear in the next issue of Fairlight News, provided they have the space and I have the time!

Did you hear about this?: East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre is a registered charity providing a free mobile information and advice service for deaf and hard of hearing people living in East Sussex. The vehicle is equipped to offer demonstrations of assistive equipment and hearing screening tests. The mobile centre bus will be visiting Fairlight on Thursday, February 2, and will be in the village hall car park from 1.30 to 3.30 pm.

If you didn’t hear about this, the East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre is just what you need…!

Ten out of ten: Some pot hole filling of the highest order occurred in Waites Lane last week. Unfortunately, only some 30 per cent of those areas marked for attention actually received any, so predominantly on Waites Lane, and certainly on the south side of Battery Hill, with zero attention, fitness for purpose continues to elude the road surfaces in and around the village.

Southern Water: The water company had access to most of Battery Hill and beyond for ten of 2016’s twelve months and, indeed, the actual water main replacement was achieved with great efficiency by a small number of workers, though the patching through to each property took more people much longer. It is disappointing, then, to see traffic lights on Battery Hill once again, and digging in progress. It struck me during last year’s efforts, that there’s something a bit special about imported temporary lights when they’re used three-way. You pull up and watch traffic coming towards you, and suddenly it ceases. And what commonly happens next is nothing, because that is what emerges from the joining road in its allotted time span until, finally, with your petrol nicely depleted, you get the green.

Was that you, BT?: A long stretch of Battery Hill was coned off for no parking, including three or four cones round the corner into Waites Lane, last Friday, I believe. Nothing else happened, and it was readily apparent that no one was expecting to work in the vicinity in the foreseeable future. The annoying thing about this is the fact that the ‘normal’ parking spaces for those wishing to patronise the Post Office and General Stores were deemed to be out of use. Very soon a small number of cones had found their way into the greenery on the side of the road, while others had been shunted together to make more space for parking. Graeme and Leonie Gambrell are working hard to make a go of their new business in the village shop, and to supply what their customers want. Since their starting date last summer, they have lost an astonishing amount of turnover to the whims of temporary traffic lights and enforcement, which have precluded all normal, legal, casual parking.

Extensive work on the footpath down the Hill, for instance, finished with the drawn-out job of replacement of a number of granite sets along the kerb line, a very labour intensive task. Of course, a well-maintained footpath should ensure we can walk safely without tripping into the road – and down a ruddy great pothole!

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