Pews news: There’s just the one service in the village this Sunday, and that’s the 10.30 am Holy Communion at St Andrew’s. Next Wednesday, February 18, is Ash Wednesday, and there is to be a Holy Communion service, led by the Rev Kay Burnett, at 7.30 pm at St Peter’s.

Of course, Ash Wednesday is preceded by Shrove Tuesday, when thoughts turn to Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes! And there will be a special Pancake Social at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel from 5 to 7 pm. So, why make pancakes at home when you can have them made for you in the company of others? The cost is £1.25 for children, £3.50 for adults, to include 2 pancakes, a choice of fillings, plus tea, coffee or squash. Extra pancakes are £1 each and the bar will be open too. Gluten free will be available too. Please take along a spare frying pan, because if the weather is good, the plan is to have children and adult pancake races before it gets dark. Get there and join in - all are welcome. There is no need to book, but it would be helpful to know if you are definitely going so that adequate preparations can be made. Just a brief email to admin@fairlightandpett.com will suffice.

The Benefice of Fairlight and Pett has announced this year’s Lent Course, which will be taking place at St Peter’s Church each Wednesday from 7.30 - 9 pm, with the session repeated the following day, Thursday, from 2.30 - 4 pm. Under discussion will be ‘hot issues’, which will be thought provoking, stimulating and perhaps a bit provocative at times. Among this year’s five speakers are two new presenters, Marcia Russell and John Geater. Members of St Helen’s church on the Ridge may occasionally join the discussions. Take your bible! The first session is on Wednesday week, February 25 at 7.30 pm, entitled ‘Handling Hypocrisy’, to be led by Rev Kay Burnett. This session will be repeated the following day, Thursday, February 26 at 2.30 pm.

The Parish Council meets again!: Nine days after their regular Tuesday meeting in January, an additional meeting was called so that the Councillors might determine the question of whether or not they would proceed with a requested £30,000 grant in support of the proposed Community Shop and Post Office. The reprise was made necessary as there had not been sufficient time for the individual members to study the figures behind the proposition in the depth necessary for a reasoned response and, indeed, when the meeting began, it was evident that the councillors had used that extra time wisely. Council Chairman Andrew Mier declared the meeting open, and almost at once suspended standing orders in order that Heather Black, Chair of Fairlight Village Shop Ltd, could clarify a number of points that had arisen at the ‘Have your say’ meeting on the previous Saturday. The floor was then opened to, firstly, opponents of the proposed shop, and well reasoned arguments were put forward by a number of courageous residents. Courageous because, in today’s climate, it appears to be the unfortunate norm to vilify and pillory those whose views differ from your own. In fact the whole public session was far less impassioned and fervent than had been the case a week previous. Finally, each and every Councillor had his or her say on the matter, well and concisely argued, until the matter was put to the vote. The decision to grant the Post Office and shop the £30,000 requested was carried by four votes to two, with one abstention. The money will not be paid until all the other funding is in place, and should be protected against a failure.

District Councillor Roger Bird, commenting on the fact that Rother has received a similar request, which was partly dependant on matched funding by Fairlight PC, observed that Rother’s Community pot was fed by Council Tax received from second homes, and that there was not, at present, more than half the required amount available in the immediate time span. Possibly an awkward shortfall there, then.

Post Office and shop update: Coming in to the January council meeting, the Post Office had received pledges for £3,000 to buy shares, which start at £10, and by the end of the Saturday open morning at the village hall, this had risen to £6,000. By the time of the second council meeting, the total stood at £8,000 – that’s in just over a week. The appeal for people to purchase shares will continue until March 31, by which time it is hoped to have raised £30,000. The more the parish and district councils and, most importantly, local residents get behind the scheme, the more likely it is that the larger, national fund suppliers will proffer their support. It’s a sort of ‘Put your money where your mouth is’ approach, a sensible and stimulating idea.

The committee organising the community project could do with another volunteer member, someone who is au fait with marketing and social media. If you’d like to get involved please contact collette.slack@fairlightvillageshop.co.uk, the group’s secretary. This is also the contact you’ll need if you fancy a little door-to-door canvassing to point out the advantages in becoming a shareholder. Don’t be shy - every little bit helps immeasurably with the community aspect of the project.

MOPPs now and then: Today, Friday 13, it’s singer Ben Glavin to entertain you, followed by roast pork and then trifle for your lunch. Next Friday, 20, Celia King will be along with some chair-based exercises (and there’s the free toe-nail cutting service!), and it’s a pie day at lunch time, with

first cottage pie, and then banoffee pie.

The Rock-a-Nore story: will be recounted by popular local speaker Ken Brooks at 7 pm this evening at The History House, Courthouse Street in the Old Town. This event is organised by Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, and Mr Brooks will tell the history of this fascinating area, including tales of the net huts, fishing boats and local characters such as Biddy the Tubman. There is a £2 charge for non-members, and if you’d like more information, please call Jill Howell on 815256. Get your skates on – time’s getting short!

The Tuesday Ladies Club: meet next Tuesday, February 17 in the village hall at 2,15 pm. Their speaker will be well-known local historian Haydon Luke, talking about ‘Fairlight Revealed’. He will no doubt be taking along copies of his recently published book about our village, ‘Fairlight – a Sussex village by the sea’. Non-members are welcome to attend on payment of £2, and this is likely to be a very popular occasion.

Speakers Corner: This coming Wednesday, February 18, will see Michael Hoad at the village hall with his talk on ‘Roaming the Cuckmere’. This fascinating subject should attract a good turnout and, if you are not a member, you will be welcome on payment of a small guest fee. Starting time is 2.30 pm.

The Playgroup Jumble Sale: will ensure the village hall is packed a fortnight tomorrow, Saturday, February 28 from 10 am to 12.30 pm. Make a note of that date and be sure to go along – it’s one of the few events that usually has a queue waiting for the doors to open!

A Local Variety Show: Organised by the Residents Association, there’s a grand Variety Show coming up on Saturday, February 28 in the village hall at 7.30 pm. Appearing will be Fairlight Juniors, Ken and Wendy, Bill Sapsford, the Rye Ukulele Band, Jim Saphin and an unnamed magician. There’s be a hot buffet supper, and a reasonably priced bar. The FRA has generously sponsored both food and drink. Tickets are £8.50 each, and they’re available at the Post Office. Numbers are limited, as there is the large cast to be accommodated as well as the public. The vital raison d’être of the whole affair is to ensure that funds are added to those already being accumulated for the third stage of the Sea Road berm. Have a good night out and help stop your village from falling in the sea.

Let’s hear it for Kier: Broadway residents, whose belief in the recycling system was shaken at the start of the year, can report that Kier are right back on song. The way they mix recycling and glassware may be hard to understand, but they know what they’re doing …

Panto Group AGM: This year’s AGM will be held in the village hall on Friday, February 20 at 7.00pm. After the business end of the meeting, those present will be able to enjoy the video of the group’s 2014 production, Sleeping Beauty. Make a note of that date, you members, it’s a week today.

Don’t fence me in!: A number of residents have reacted to the fencing which has been erected in Knowle Wood, cutting off access to large parts of the wood where villagers have been accustomed to walk. The fencing has been erected by the landowner of the greater part of the wood, The Warren Estate / Capital Estates (London) Ltd. This follows last year’s decision by a Government Inspector, at a public hearing held in the village hall, that the path through the wood to Warren Road is not a public right of way. The estate has had its boundary professionally surveyed, and the Parish Council is employing a surveyor of its own to confirm and ensure the boundary is correct.

The loss of access to the wood is very sad as, too, is the closure of the Knowle Road twitten by another landowner. Our Parish Council has already approached the Warren Estate with a view to purchasing land on behalf of the village. Negotiations are at a very early stage. Should this proceed, it is highly likely that much of the money would have to be raised by public subscription. It is, however, far too early to say definitively how finance might be arranged or whether the purchase will go through.

These boots were made for walkin’ in: Every evening, last thing, I take our dogs out for a last sniff and what-have-you before bed. Last Saturday, they did what dogs have to do but I, with the moon shrouded behind much low cloud, stepped in something an earlier dog had deposited, and then distributed it evenly around the house. It took two of us a long time and much unpleasant work to remove the offensive matter. The dog was blameless, its owner despicable. I shall study my CCTV and, if I can identify the human culprit in the prevailing poor light, endeavour to return the lost property to whoever was responsible. Through their letter box.

Pothole puzzles: The newly crowned worst hole, in Waites Lane, remains untouched. Fortunately, a car has been parked nearby over the weekend, preventing moving traffic from hitting the hole. But this vehicle has now moved on, exposing the hole to all comers once more. Meanwhile, in Broadway, two areas were in need of urgent attention and, indeed, one them, an L-shape round some ironwork in the road, about 15 inches by 10, has been filled in. The hole between these two infills has still not been touched. As this latest repair was effected by two lorries, each with two men on board, it is a puzzle as to why the other, duly spray paint marked, has not been dealt with. The second lorry contained a profusion of portable signs – road narrows, men at work, road closed and the whole gamut. I’m told they’re getting a new one ready, probably for the south side going up Battery Hill, that says ‘Never mind heavy vehicles, road unsuitable for ANY vehicles’. You read it here first!

Keith Pollard

Brookfield, Broadway