Church Matters: This Sunday, the first after Epiphany, there will be Holy Communion at St Peter’s at 8 am, and then Morning Praise at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, when the guest will be Andrew Thomas. And a Methodist reminder tells of the Covenant Service at Pett Methodist Chapel at 10.45 am

Today, Friday, January 8, there is a Women’s Fellowship meeting at St Peter’s at 2.30 pm. They will be asking ‘What do you do with your old Christmas cards?’

Two reports from John Relfe, the PCC Treasurer. Firstly, he reports a Top Tower Total for 2015 of £1,075, and says a sincere thank you to all members and friends of St Andrew’s who acted as stewards and thus enabled St Andrew’s Tower to be open during weekends, and Fridays during August, from May through until September. The sum raised is a welcome boost to church funds.

Then there’s the appeal for St Andrew’s Gift Day, which came on St Andrew’s Day, (Monday, November 30, if you remember), which led to donations, including Gift Aid, totalling a magnificent £3,000, and John thanks everybody who contributed.

MOPPs: Already up and running for 2016, having functioned on the first day of the year by popular demand, meet today, Friday, January 8, when the entertainment will be by EKCetera Barber Shop Quartet. The EK in their title means East Kent for this Ashford based group, though this quartet comes from around Tenterden. They’ll be making good on their catchphrase – from Oast to Coast. And after that, you can enjoy your pork casserole followed by fruit flan. Next Friday, January 15, sees the return of the ever-popular Celia King with her chair-based exercises. And there’s free toe-nail cutting, too. Luncheon is liver & bacon with lemon meringue pie for pud.

Panto: Tickets are going, going, but not yet gone for the group’s 37th annual offering. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is led by Megan Barham and Ben Burford, though there are no prizes for guessing which of them will be playing which role! And whereas Cinderella has a mere two cross-dressers in the misshape of the Ugly Sisters, Beauty and the Beast boasts three of ‘em, with Greg Slaughter, Steven Hill and Tom Miller all donning feminine attire! The Post Office has those tickets you want, so get hold of them as soon as you can!

Open Gardens 2016: The organising group will be meeting mid-January to discuss further planning for the June event, which has received generous sponsorship from Just Property and also attracted an anonymous donor to support the advertising. All participants will be meeting in February to discuss final arrangements, and a suitable and timely reminder will appear in this column nearer the date. Meanwhile, the organisers and some participants are looking for helpers, or marshals, to assist in various tasks over the weekend of 11/12 June… If you are would be willing and are able, please contact Denise Lamb 01424 814196 (or email dwlamb9@gmail.com) if you would like to volunteer to whizz around the village in support of this Stage III fund raiser.

Rother Rubbish: Rother’s My Alerts is one of the most useful services the District Council provides on a weekly basis. However, with the office shut from Christmas to New Year and a bit beyond, an error crept in, leading some of us to think the lorries would be round on January 1. Not so, of course, but speedily corrected, so that the heavily laden green bins, and very heavily laden bottle boxes, were duly emptied last Monday. Just as a helpful reminder, for those whose black refuse usually gets done on Friday, it will be collected tomorrow, Saturday, January 9. Subscribers to the brown bin garden waste scheme will have their collection resume on Wednesday, January 20. If you have anything other than soggy leaves to put in it!

Parish Council: An announcement has been circulated this week from Cllr Andrew Mier, Chairman of the Parish Council, in which he offers thanks to all who have worked so hard on behalf of the village over the past twelve months and citing, in particular, the input of John Edmunds, Clerk to the Parish Council. He also mentions the fact that, at January’s meeting, it will be necessary to set the precept for the ensuing Council year, and goes on to say that, should you have any ideas of works that could be done for the good of the village that would involve expense, it would be appreciated if you were to inform him direct, prior to that meeting.

All of which may seem par for the course at this time of the year, but Andrew’s message includes a surprise, which is that after four months short of five years at the helm, it is his intention to stand down from the chair at the start of the January meeting, which will then be chaired by Vice-Chairman Cllr Rev Val Gibbs. The Council members will then elect his successor. Andrew observes that the length of his term in office is a fair stint, and with his current domestic responsibilities he is finding it hard to devote the time and energy to the post which it deserves.

He has certainly devoted plenty of time and energy to the job, especially in the past year, which has seen him take numerous bus journeys to assess their efficacy, plus stints in our two phone boxes, which were unfit for human habitation. It is Andrew’s intention to remain as an ‘ordinary’ council member, if there actually is such a creature!

There is still a vacancy for a Parish Councillor, who can be co-opted as soon as he or she is identified. Those who would like to find out more about what your PC does – and how it spends your money – can visit the Chairman’s Report to the 2015 Assembly, which can be found on the village website.

Activity at Activate: Activate Youth Club and its accompanying BusyArt both resume their operations next week, starting on Monday, January 11. I expect keen youngsters will know this already, but the note may have slipped off the fridge in the past fortnight!

Wendy is always on the look-out for more volunteers, either as club helpers or leaders or to take part in the management, so if any of you would like to know more please contact her on 812297 or familyhatch1@gmail.com

Speakers Corner: Local historian Edward Preston will be the group’s first guest speaker of the new year on Wednesday next, January 13 in the village hall at 2.30 pm. Entitled ‘The Writing on the Wall’, the subject matter does not encompass graffiti, but … blue plaques! An interesting afternoon in prospect, then. Give it a look; visitors are welcome at these fortnightly events.

Rain: Thanks to the persistent downpours, a manhole cover in Lower Waites Lane has been dislodged, allowing a mini-deluge to swamp the road. Although this in no way compares with the water-bound disasters blanketing the north of England and much of Scotland, it does bring its own specific problem to Fairlight, in that the flood water is not just water, if you catch my drift. The cause is possibly due to the seven inch pipe being restricted further down the line by the intrusion into the pipe of various roots. Crises, whether relatively minor like ours or major as up north, always seem these days to be dealt with reactively, rather than proactively as they surely should be in the 21st century. No doubt when the famous referendum finally takes place, some people with a vote will remember that the EC has apparently put some sort of block on river dredging.

Wind: We’ve all welcomed the mildness this winter, even though this may lead to an unacceptable increase in bugs and insects next summer (look out, you Open Gardeners!) and, down south at least, have suffered the incessant wet stuff , not that there’s anything we can do about it. But although we don’t mention it in polite circles, we are all extremely troubled with wind. Oh, for a few days when it’s white over, with clear blue skies, a watery sun and an absolute stillness. And no papers, milk or buses – a small price to pay!

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RyeandBattleObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @RyeObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.