Church Matters: This Sunday, January 24, St Andrew’s 10.30 am service will be a Holocaust Memorial Service. The service will, naturally, have a strong Jewish flavour, and well-known Fairlight resident Dr Ruth Kosmin will be strongly featured. Members of her family were among those lost in the Nazi Holocaust. Later in the day at St Peter’s, it’s time for another in the popular series of Sunday Live, starting at the ‘proper’ evensong time of 6.30 pm, not the earlier start most services have at St Peter’s in the gloomy winter months.

On Saturday week, February 6, there are two events to catch your imagination. First up, at St Peter’s from 9 until 10.30 am, there’s a Men’s Breakfast with guest speaker Roger Murphy of the Through Faith Mission. If you’re interested in taking part, contact Val Relfe, or call 812799 or email admin@fairlightandpett.com

And that evening, there’ll be a Barn Dance in the village hall at 7.30 pm. This event is sponsored by Fairlight and Pett Churches, and features the very popular Catsfield Steamers. Tickets, which have already passed the half-way mark and includes visitors from as far away as Essex, gain you not only admission but food and drink as well! They will cost you £10 in advance or £5 for 8 to 12 year olds, unless you leave it until the last minute and pay on the door, when they will rise to £12 and £6 respectively. Availability, until they’ve all gone, is at the Post Office or by phone from Kath on 812799. The ubiquitous Roger Murphy will pop up here, too, as guest speaker during the interval.

MOPPs: Today, Friday, January 22, singer Sharon Sellens will be along, and after Sharon, it’s a lunch of roast chicken, followed by trifle. Next Friday, January 29, the entertainment will be Keith Osbourne with his Music for Health. Carol Lewis will be along, too. Next week’s lunch is to be fish and chips, with spotted dick for afters.

What goes around…: Time flies, does it not? It seems like a mere couple of weeks since the last Bowls Club fortnightly Whist Drive at the village hall, and here it is again. Regulars will know the drill anyway – 6.45 for 7 pm start, and a full evening’s play in prospect. And all in the small hall, where it will be warm, bright and full of like-minded souls. What’s not to like?

Beauty and the Beast: Tickets are still available for the Panto Group’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, now just under a week away from opening night. Jennifer Annetts has been directing for all she’s worth, and Emily Wood has been ensuring the cast have mastered her choreography. And effort on a heroic scale has gone into the settings and the costumes, the sound and the lighting, all of which we tend to accept as excellent, without much thought as to what has led to that excellence. Get your tickets and go along and see the show. But be warned, tickets for both performances on Saturday are rarer than hen’s teeth, and Friday is close to being the same. But for Thursday, there is very good availability, and there is a bar on that night, too, should that influence your decision…!

Parish Council: Anyone got withdrawal symptoms? It’s nearly a full two months since the last parish Council meetings, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge – or up through the manholes – in that time. But next Tuesday sees us back on track at 7.15 pm with the first meeting of the new calendar year. And as the Parish Clerk, the estimable John Edmunds, says, there is plenty for everyone to get their teeth into. Always provided, of course, that they have put them in. Early on, the current Chairman, Cllr Andrew Mier, will tender his resignation and the meeting will elect a replacement to hold the position until the end of the municipal year. They will also elect any officers as may be necessary following the election of the new Chairman.

There will be a discussion and agreement on the amount which they may be required to contribute towards celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday in the village. They will discuss and vote on the proposal ‘to increase the precept for 2016/17 to £47000’. There is a need to discuss and approve a suitably worded sign for Lower Waites Lane to deter large vehicles from entering the lane and agree approaching ESCC about the sign.

It is intended to discuss the recent flooding issues in Lower Waites Lane and Southern Water’s response, and also recently made Tree Preservation Orders. There will be an update on the Warren Estate. Items due to come up shortly the forthcoming Adult Social Care Savings proposals and RDC 1066 event funding.

A final Council memory jog. If you have details of a site or sites in the village that you would like to see considered for development, you have only until January 31 to let Cllr Stephen Leadbetter know. Best give him a quick call in the first instance, and get your skates on. Stephen is on 812890.

Speakers Corner: The group started the new year with a talk by the learned Edward Preston entitled ‘The Writing on the Wall’ – not graffiti but blue plaques. These plaques started off being made by stonemasons and were eventually changed to the more colourful Oxford blue. The idea of commemorative plaques was that of William Ewart, an early 18th century MP. In 1940 there was a pageant in Hastings to mark the celebrities who had lived in Hastings, one of whom was General Murray who had taken control of the battle of Quebec after the death of General Wolfe. General Murray built Beauport Park (now of course an hotel) which was named after a place that had featured in the battle of Quebec. Another notable resident was the very first lady surgeon Elizabeth Blackwell, who lived and died at Rock House in the Old Town. Later, the stone plaques were replaced by metal ones, though these did not wear well and eventually gave way to the bright blue with which we are so familiar. Unfortunately, some of the wording on these is very ambiguous. Mr Preston has himself been responsible for the research and erection of 10 plaques including some in London.

Speakers Corner next meet on Wednesday, January 27, featuring Len Cornwell speaking on Local Archaeology. As with all the group’s meetings, this will start at 2.30 pm in the village hall and visitors are welcome for a mere £2.

Floral Club: The ever-popular local lady, Lynn Carter, who can usually be found at Fleur de Lynn in Hastings, will be along on Thursday next, January 28, in the village hall at 2.15 pm. This, the first meeting and demonstration of the year, is entitled ‘Style, Simplicity and Sophistication’ – very appropriate for Fairlight, but go easy on the Simplicity… New members are, as always, most welcome.

40 weeks: In 40 weeks, Phileas Fogg could get around the world three and a half times. And this is how long it is planned for Southern Water to effect the replacement of the village water main down Battery Hill, a little under a yard a day. The fact that it is being started when the weather could easily turn bad is unfortunate, but realistically 40 weeks is likely to touch on all four seasons anyway, especially as we seem to get all four in a day quite often. What is going to be predictable is the traffic lights cycling through their phases monotonously, relentlessly, while there are long periods without a human being in sight actually working. Watch that fairly extensive space carefully.

Roads Up: The left-hand side of Martineau Lane continues to become more and more treacherous with ever passing day. And so, too, does that notorious stretch on the opposite side of the road between Hysted and Pineridge on the top of Fairlight Road. Battery Hill is a disaster area, though one wonders if Highways are going to say ‘Southern Water are going to be digging it up, so we needn’t bother with the rest of it for 40 weeks’. But it’s Waites Lane that is crying out for more than just the odd patch or two. The hole opposite Farley Way is a life-changer, and gets deeper with every passing hour – and car. If you hit this one, it’s worth notifying the County Council that you or your dependents are about to sue. The road has actually had a good going-over with an aerosol, and now looks like an early Jackson Pollock drip painting session. But it would probably save a lot of paint to outline the areas that don’t require attention.

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