It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: And it's certainly time to wish all readers of Village Voice a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with thanks for sticking with us through thick and, sometimes, pretty thin. Personal thanks go to the small but ever-reliable platoon of stringers, who can be depended on to deliver interesting news and reports for publication week in and out throughout the year. The local paper provides a useful aide memoire on all sorts of subjects, longer lasting and wider reaching than an ephemeral bit of social media. The old adage applies to your Observer now more than ever before '“ use it or lose it! (And persuade others to buy it and try it!)
If you are reading this on the day of publication, you’d better read it quickly – it’s the shortest day of the year! It’s also the official first day of Winter. Mother Nature hasn’t been observing the rules.
Pews News: This Sunday, December 23, there is to be a service of Morning Praise with Carols at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am. The crèche and Junior Church will both be available. Then, on Christmas Eve and still at St Andrew’s, there will be Carols by Candlelight at 4 pm, and the traditional Midnight Communion service commences at 11.45 pm. At Pett Methodists’ Sunday service at 10.45 am on Sunday, December 23 the visiting preacher will be Tony Collins.
On Christmas Day – in the morning! – there will be a United Holy Communion service at Pett, starting at 9.30 am.
MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, December 21, you will be entertained by Little Uke, and there will be a full Christmas dinner for lunch (!), with roast turkey and all the trimmings, and Christmas pud for afters, just as it should be! Don’t forget that MOPPs will be closed next Friday, December 28.
The Pantomime Group: The tickets are now on sale at the Post Office for Rumplestiltskin, which will run at the end of January. They cost £6 for adults and £3 for children for most of the run, although it’s £7 for all on the final Saturday night. It’s all shaping up very well, so you ought go along and see for yourself…
Our local branch of the Royal British Legion: Branch meetings are usually on the first Tuesday of each month, but this rule would make January’s date fall on New Year’s Day. So it has been postponed for a week until January 8 at 11.45 am for 12 noon at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel, as is customary.
The drop-in session on Wakehams Farm application: The Parish Council’s update session was well-attended, certainly at the beginning, when I gave it a look. The interesting coincidence highlighted in the village hall concerned the lorry and bus jam-up on the Fairlight Road on the Tuesday, which trapped passengers in the east-bound bus for more than an hour. Cllr Andrew Mier had obtained one photo of the incident, and has since accumulated more from various other incidents too. Visible proof that the difficulties on this road are not merely disgruntled residents. Remarkably, East Sussex seem to see no problem concerning the safety aspects of the ingress/egress to proposed Wakeham’s site, or with the extreme congestion at many points on the top road, or nearer to Ore, or further onwards towards Pett Level. Add ready-mix lorries and large materials delivery vehicles during site construction for a really unholy mess. The decision makers involved must have a proportion of ostrich genes in their make-up.
It is to be hoped that many more people will record their constructive critiques of the application, with numbers already climbing nicely. Those in favour are represented too, though it is only being realistic to state that they are unlikely to attain parity with those against. This whole question is not merely about Fairlight, but other rural localities as well. If it happens in Fairlight, it could happen elsewhere in your back yard days later, despite all the AONB and regulations this plan destroys or breaks.
Meanwhile, a well-known dictionary of synonyms has a new entry this year under ‘disproportionate’ – Wakehams Farm planning application!
The Lane that Time Forgot: There are a number of totally unacceptable points along the Fairlight Road. To name a few, there’s the Hysted-Pineridge stretch, the sinking gutter portion which is nearer last week’s lorry/bus jam site, and most of the wooded section of Battery Hill. All these were put into unpleasant perspective on Sunday last, when driving parts of the route was dim, depressing and dangerous in the middle of the day and with little other traffic about. Road professionals are keeping their eyes on the state of these problem spots, we are told. Seems more like a re-make of Eyes Wide Shut, but without the eroticism.
FRA Christmas party: The FRA’s Annual Christmas Party was a great success, with East Edna in top form as she scared some of our menfolk into taking evasive action, lest they suffered a fate they would probably have enjoyed twenty-five years ago!
Speakers Corner: There was a very disappointing turnout for what should have been the highlight of the current season, the visit of a real, still alive, film stuntman for Speakers Corner. Unfortunately the stuntman couldn’t make it as he was on the top of a mountain in Stuttgart doing his thing in place an actor. Luckily Ian Everest stepped into the breach and saved the day with his talk about the history of the Newhaven Fort. This fort was originally built as part of the defences against an invasion from across the Channel and was one of 72 ordered by Lord Palmerston from Milford Haven to the Thames estuary. Gladstone was totally against the expense believing it to be a waste of money, which in a way turned out to be correct – as there was no invasion. However in WW2 the Germans had intended to use the Seaford Bay as an ideal landing place for Operation Sea Lion, which Gladstone had not foreseen. The Fort suffered many attempts at turning it into a visitor attraction resulting in much damage to the building. Eventually Lewes Council started to restore it and advertised for somebody to run it. Ian applied for and got the job and it is now run as a military museum with relevant attractions. The Fort is well worth a visit.
One sympathises with those behind the planning of Speakers Corner, faced with the mystery of where everyone has gone. Alan Sutton has arranged top class speakers for this season, and it is notable that nobody knew the stuntman had found it necessary to cancel his appearance, which should have attracted multitudes