Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway

In church this Sunday, December 9… There is Holy Communion at 8 am at St Peter’s, followed by Morning Praise at 10.30 am at St Andrew’s. Both services will be led by the Rector, Richard Barron.

And some further noteworthy forthcoming church dates in this special season… Wednesday, December 19 will see Carols for All from 7 to 9 pm at St Peter’s Church. This is an informal evening of carols, Christmas readings and music to which everyone is welcome. There’ll be mulled wine and mince pies, too. Then, on Sunday, December 23, there’s Morning Praise at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, and, at 6 pm, Carols by Candlelight, a chance to sing your heart out with choir, trumpets and organ!

On Monday, December 24 - getting really close now! - St Andrew’s will have the annual Christingle service for the family at 4.30 pm, and at 11.15 pm, Midnight Communion.

At 10.30 am on Christmas Day at St Andrew’s, there’s Jesus’ Birthday service for the family, which will be a joyous family celebration followed by optional Communion

After Christmas, on Sunday, December 30 at 10.30 am at St Mary & St Peter’s, Pett, Fairlight and Pett churches join together for a Communion service.

Try to make at least some of these services – they’re what Christmas is about!

Busy, busy… if last weekend was busy – and it was – we’re now in the quiet before the storm of Christmas. Except that there is a Grand Christmas Fayre on the horizon. The local RSPCA, whose rescue centre is run in the village by Ann Craske, will be holding their Fayre on Saturday next, December 15 from 10.30 am to 1 pm. Many in the village are the loving owners of one one of Ann’s rescued animals, and they will want to be there. As you would expect, there’ll be all sorts of stalls, raffles and the Star attraction of Jenny’s Tarot Card readings. It’s 50p, but that gets you both in and a cup of tea or coffee, plus biscuits. If you find something nice and saleable that you no longer need, call Ann on 813434. She may even be able to pick things up.

Last Saturday’s Cheese & Wine Party was the latest Fairfest incarnation, and very popular it turned out to be, with those attending raving but never ravenous about it. The Fairfest organisers thank all those who went along and enjoyed themselves, leaving the committee with a small profit to set towards the next Festival in 2014. Their especial thanks go to Ken Hall, purveyor of all the music for the evening. There was praise for a ‘fantastic ploughman’s supper’, though in fact this may well have been a ploughman’s fantastic supper! This shows again that Fairfest is not just for every other summer on Wood Field, and make yourself a note to support their next offering. You won’t regret it!

Prior to the Cheese and Wine Party… we had the Village Hall’s Christmas Fair, always a popular event, but seemingly with more and greater throngs massed in both halls this month. No word yet of the results, but it is entirely possible that business was so brisk that Treasurer Frank James is still counting the proceeds!

The Parish Council…met last week, and probably the most interesting topic was the possible downgrading of the Ridge Fire Station. The Fire Service’s Head of Community Risk Management was present, as was the Deputy Fire Chief. Complaints about the proposal, and Fire Brigade responses flowed, or possibly flawed, until there was little left to say. It seems the £300,000 to be saved is but 0.75% of their annual budget, but they need to save 10%. The underlying message is, if postponed, the Ridge move will certainly be at the forefront of the next round of cuts. A report from Cllr Linda Eades confirmed the move of ‘our’ Conquest based stroke unit to Eastbourne DGH, which will be able to supply much better specialised treatment. Which, of course, it will need to be if it’s going to take an extra half an hour to get there.

Parking, on the corner of Broadway with Waites Lane, exercised the meeting somewhat, for despite the village hall providing new, lighter weight cones for event organisers to use, hall and church users ignore them, especially on the east side of Waites Lane going south. Perhaps a few quiet words from our PCSO during a badly parked event would act as a warning.

Not the meeting itself, or its content, but its infrastructure came into question again, with the audibility of the Councillors being slated. Numbers have been high during the East Field and the Market Garden sites discussions, but there are many fewer now the public know they will not be able to hear what is going on. The hall does not require, or want, vastly expensive sound amplification, but it would cost nothing to experiment with the layout of the meeting. Norman Dengate has made one valid proposition, and there are others.

The Art Club… have had their traditional December get together, and now have only one more Thursday meeting before they break until the New Year. Nearer the time, we’ll let you know what’s coming up from this group which is packed with talent (said he, a little green-eyed.)

The MOPP meeting today, December 7, will feature Keith Osborne with Music for Health. Keith is a popular contributor to MOPP and is always very entertaining. The members will also enjoy a lunch of fish and chips and jam roly poly. MOPP meets every Friday at the Village Hall and if you are interested please phone organiser Sheila Thomas on 07774 573086. Sheila will be pleased to give you more information about MOPP - they have recently welcomed two newcomers, one from Fairlight and one from Guestling. Give her a call and you could be next.

The meeting on January 15 of the Tuesday Ladies Club will feature Andy Dinsdale, who lives in Fairlight and works for the RSPCA at Mallydams Wood. His talks are always fascinating and usually about the sea and sea shore.

The Club will be celebrating reaching its fourth year in January and the meeting will start at 2.15pm. Visitors, including the menfolk, are very welcome at £2. Subscriptions, of £18, will be due at this meeting.

The dark ages… with the fire service we get possibly going to be less effective in future, and our medical needs steadily dripping some twenty miles away to Eastbourne, it was encouraging to get our first power cut of the winter at tea-time on Sunday. A practice run for what is to come perhaps, with a recorded voice saying the fault was Underground. I bet it’s that blasted Northern Line again (and I put that in for ex-Londoners). Coming down Battery Hill at 5.20 pm to visit, my grandson William said ‘We are now approaching Fairdark.’ A bit like Poldark, but much further east and lacking the delectable and sadly missed Angharad Rees.