Keith Pollard, Brookfield, Broadway

In our churches this weekend… we have an All Age service at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, and an Informal Communion service at St Peter’s at 4 pm (I expect you’re getting hang of that time now!)

It’s behind you…! That’s Sinbad, this year’s offering from the Fairlight Pantomime Group ran last week. Neatly and jointly directed by siblings Ben Burford and KerriAnne Goring, it was a very colourful affair, with many thanks due to Liz Gilbert, with Sheila Fellows-Turnbull and helpers, for a great set of costumes, and Roger Bird and his crew setting the scenes, immaculately painted by Terry Noakes.

Chris Goring’s laid back Ali Drachma got the audience responses going, while his ‘mum’, Mark Pearce as the Dame, was a no-nonsense ‘woman’. Jack Roud was a personable Sinbad, understandably keen on the Yasmin of Lydia Gilbert, in a polished showing. Her ‘little helper’ was Emily White as Rose, another good performance. Peter Spencer’s Vizier was a hand-wringing nasty of the highest order, aided, but not much, by his ‘big helper’ Kumquat from Steve Hill. Ken Hall as the Sultan and Carole Miller as the Sultana were spot on, as was Fairy Seaweed by Tom Miller, who had a problem with all the rhyming business – very funny. KerriAnne Goring as Neptune and Wendy Hatch as Pearl were another effective pairing, as were Kate Bruce and Wendy Clark, firstly as the two ends of Humpy the Camel, and then as Captain and Bosun. Young Matthew Barry became Abdul, playing his guitar for the song sheet, with the tall Pauline Lucas as the very High Priestess, and Ollie Spencer as the Policeman.

The twelve children in the chorus, several of whom had lines to say, acquitted themselves well, especially in Vivienne Bond’s choreography. Keith Miller’s sound added to the fun, as did John Dyer’s lighting. An enjoyable evening overall, then, though the plotline meandered a bit and was not the easiest to follow.

News on the Parish Council front… starting with the fact that the parish precept, the bit of your Council tax that actually goes to the village, is to be increased by approximately £4.25 per Band D house per year, bringing the total precept to some £36.35. For those in Band D properties, this is obviously just under one penny per day, to live in our favourite village. Bargain! What it is planned to spend it on, will be outlined next week.

We have a new Councillor, co-opted to fill the vacancy that arose on the resignation of Richard Pollard. He is David Thatcher, about whom, more anon.

Councillor Rev Val Gibbs has been working her socks off in attempts to resolve the very poor digital TV signal we receive in much of the village. Writing, particularly if it is done by a number of people at once, seems to chivvy up the powers that be, and Val reports that the only address she has been able to find for BBC TV is BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, W12 7RJ.

Next Monday, February 4… is the Gardening Club AGM, when members will be able to vote for (or against) a constitution change to Rules 5 and 8, which determine for how long the President and Chairman may stay in office. This change is important for the future functioning of the club, and as many as possible should be there to cast their votes. Oh, and that way there’ll be more people to participate in the Bring and Share social which follows the meeting!

Next Wednesday, February 6… sees the Literary Society in action in the village hall at 2.30 pm, when Michael Hoad will give a talk entitled Aspects of New England and Boston. Not a member? Never mind, go along and pay £2 for a sampler session; you won’t be disappointed.

Technically speaking… when does a pothole become an open cast mine? There’s a great running sore some 50 yards (or maybe metres) north of the Cove on the west side of Waites Lane. The underlying concrete layer is breaking up and spilling out. A letter (from two Fairlight residents) in last week’s Observer also highlighted the pothole problem. A number of almost perfectly round holes have developed down towards Ore. They are also nastily deep. As there has been some excellent infilling done along Martineau Lane, one may hope they are getting there – though this is a ‘painting the Forth Bridge’ job, at least how it was back in the days when they never actually finished it.

Today at MOPP… there will be an opportunity to learn about mobility equipment with Comfort Plus. This subject promises to be of high interest, whipping up an appetite for lunch, which will be a fish pie followed by fruit crumble.

MOPP meets at Fairlight Village Hall every Friday starting at 10.30am, and it covers the Marsham district. Transport can be arranged for a small charge. More information can be obtained by ‘phoning the organiser, Sheila Thomas, on 01304 219767.

Here’s hoping… A black, adult female Cocker Spaniel named Kizzy has been missing from Peasmarsh, since Wednesday, January 23. She’s black with a docked tail, shaggy coat and white stripe down her chest. Contact 07733 797451 with any news you may have, please. Meanwhile, do keep a close watch on your own pets – they can be away in an instant if spotted by an unscrupulous snatcher, and there is no doubt there are many about.

Go to the website… increasingly, you are recommended, if not actually commanded, to go to ‘our website’. Well, now the order comes to our village. Damian Bunn did much sterling work in setting up www.fairlight.org.uk, but was forced, most unfortunately, to give it up. His place has now been taken by Bill O’Reilly as our Webmaster, and I would urge you to give it (a) a look and (b) your support, by feeding through to Bill all the details of your club or group. There is little that is as disappointing as an out-of-date website – it screams that nobody cares, and you can’t wait to leave it. Fairlight’s site, as hard to say she sells seas shells, can only ever be as good as your contributions make it.

Did you miss it…? Last week the Floral Club played host to Mrs Brenda Wilson, owner of Shirley Leaf and Petal Company in Hastings, who gave the members present an extremely interesting and informative talk on her work. This unique company came to the Hastings area in 1910 from a family-run business in London, and in 1981 it was later purchased by Mrs. Brenda Wilson. She has also opened The Working Manufacturing Museum to the public, with smaller premises in the Old Town of Hastings in 1993. Brenda told us of the many theatre and film productions for which she has supplied the flora and fauna backgrounds. Television advertisements, museums and multiple retailers are all users of their colourful artificial petals and leaves of all shapes and sizes. If excusive designs are required by Fashion Houses, Milliners and Costumiers their orders are also met.

This unique business still uses the antique tools and machinery, and Mrs Wilson told of the various velvet, silks and satins that are used – do you remember the small bouquets of violets attached to Woolworth’s products of Devon Violet perfume, soaps and so on? Nowadays, with strict Health and Safety rules, everything made has to be flame-proofed. The ladies who attended the talk would willingly have stayed an extra hour, so fascinating was both the subject and the talk itself

Next month, on the February 28 in the village hall, there will be a practice meeting at which members will be making arrangements entitled ‘Shrove Tuesday’. What will be an essential part of each arrangement? The answer is, of course, a lemon!