Church Matters: This Sunday at 10.30 am, there will be the Monthly Communion – with carols – at St Andrew’s. And four days later, there’s Christmas Eve Communion at 11.15pm on Thursday, December 24 (!), again at St Andrew’s. The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ event at St Peter’s last Wednesday was a great success and several people have said how much they enjoyed it. Almost 40 people went along to sing carols, hear poetry and funny stories and eat the food and drink the mulled wine, putting them right in the mood for Christmas!

MOPPs: Today, it’s the MOPPs Christmas Party, where the entertainment will be given by popular organist Brian Howard. Also on the cards is free hearing aid maintenance available, too, so you’d better get that seen to before you listen to Brian. There’s a complete traditional Christmas Dinner lunch, with all the trimmings. Which is just as well, really, as there is no MOPPs meeting next Friday, on yer actual Christmas Day.

The RSPCA Christmas Fayre: Tomorrow, it’s the RSPCA’s Fayre, in the village hall from 10 am to 1 pm. Enjoy your 50p cuppa tea or coffee plus biscuit as you enter, and then have a good browse of the stalls for Christmas gifts, china and glass collectables, toys and games, dress jewellery, and see Father Christmas and a clairvoyant, and participate in the raffles. Proceeds of the Fayre will go to the Sussex East and Hastings branch of the RSPCA (Dogs and Cats), whose work is so worthy of your full support. Give them a look – and spend a bit while you’re there!

Speakers Corner: At their last meeting of the year, the excellent husband and wife team of Laton and Kathy Frewen told the harrowing history of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary became Queen when she was a mere six days old and was sent to France where she had a happy childhood, learning the French language and the etiquette of the Court. But after that it all went downhill with disastrous marriages, imprisonment and of course her beheading at Fotheringhay Castle, and that was true to form with the executioner trying to hold up her head by the hair only to discover that it was a wig! All in all this was a very sad story but Laton had illustrated it with music, slides and videos of Fontainebleau Palace.

New, or newish, readers should start here. Speakers Corner meets at the village hall more or less fortnightly throughout the winter months and is fantastic value at £9 for 12 meetings. They are fairly newly named after having been The Literary Society for several years, with the new title reflecting the fact that their talks are given by experienced speakers and cover a wide variety of subjects – there is something for everybody. There is a lot of interesting information and fun, but not frivolity or triviality.

The Wine and Social Club’s Christmas Party: With the numbers in attendance reaching the mid-70s, the village hall was healthily full last Saturday for this annual fun, food and frolics. Mike Rose was the indefatigable, polished vocalist at the organ, and the evening’s raffle, on its own, was a veritable Lord Mayor’s Procession, as thirty prizes were claimed by a succession of winners.

The Run-up to Christmas at the Cove: Next Wednesday, December 23, you’ll be able to make sure your little grey cells are all working well before they get obscured by a pea-souper of alcoholic murk, because there’s a special quiz at the Cove, starting at 7.30 pm. Probably do you a lot of good to get down to our local, very recently short-listed for Pub of the Year in the Observer, and undertake a little mental exercise, gently lubricated the while. You never know – you might run out winners!

Carols in the Barn: Wrap up warm and join in at Carols in the Barn at Pickham Farm, Pett tomorrow, Saturday, December 19, starting at 6.30 pm. There’ll be mulled wine and mince pies to hand, too, and, as has happened on previous such events, the opportunity to make donations to ‘Farm Africa’.

The Pantomime Group: There’s a village tradition reaching back way over thirty years, and that’s the Pantomime Group’s annual offering at the end of January. For 2016, it’ll be Beauty and the Beast, which is being directed by Jennifer Annetts even as I write, and choreographed by Emily Wood. This season’s dates are Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 January, with the customary three evening performances at 7.30 pm and a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. Tickets are priced from £3 to £7, and you can see more details on their posters. Meanwhile, traditionally again, many tickets are bought before Christmas and given as presents. They will be available at the Post Office, if they are not there already.

Some New Year news about our clubs: Speakers Corner: The next meeting will be in the village hall on Wednesday, January 13, and will be all about Blue Plaques with local speaker Edward Preston. As usual, the meeting starts at 2.30 pm and visitors are welcome for a mere £2. Attendances recently could have been greater, and those who have considered giving them a look but have done nothing about it, are invited to make a New Year resolution to join the in-crowd – and not to break their resolve!

Floral Club: Their first meeting of the year comes towards the end of next month, on Thursday 28, when the demonstrator will be Lynn Carter, of Fleur de Lynn in Hastings. Lynn is always a treat to watch and listen to, so that’s an early entry for your new diary.

The Gardening Club: The Club has no meeting in January, but opens its account with their AGM on Monday, February 1. Details will follow later so you won’t have had time to forget them when it gets here.

Tuesday Ladies Club: The ladies, too, have no January meeting, but their February speaker, Terry Kane, promises to be interesting and evocative with ‘Radio programmes from the War and the fifties’. It’s in the village hall on Tuesday, February 8, starting at 2.15 pm. Visitors are, as usual, welcome, and that includes the menfolk.

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