Karen Ayling, The White House, Dixter Road

There was an enthusiastic turnout for the lighting of the village Christmas tree last Tuesday followed by carol singing and a convivial glass of mulled wine and excellent nibbles.

And on Saturday, the Conservation Society held another successful live opera event. This time the venue was the beautiful setting of the music room at Brickwall. Soprano, Thomasin Tresize, performed once again, joined by tenor/baritone Paul Hopwood (who had stepped in at the last minute when tenor Jim Heath came down with pleurisy). The audience was treated to a programme which included Bizet, Dvorak, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi. There was not a dry eye in the hall when Thomasin sang the beautiful moving aria “la Wally” and Paul gave an excellent rendition of Nessun Dorma. The night finished with carols (with the audience joining in for “the twelve days of Christmas”).

I have had a message from our lovely volunteers at Northiam Library, wishing all their supporters and users a Happy New Year. How fortunate we are to have them and this handy facility! Thank you to them and to everyone who keeps this village asset alive (Thursdays and Saturday 2-4pm next to the Parish Office, if you haven’t found it yet!)

The junior badminton clubs will be having one last session before Christmas this evening (Friday) at 5.30pm and 6.30pm, and Dance Club meets in the Village Hall.

The wayward sheep are out around the village, and if anyone would like to help locate them, there is a list in the Parish Magazine, or Sarah White (253118) can supply one. There are 22 sheep hiding in various places and I understand one has got as far as Beckley, and they need to be brought back to the fold in time for the Crib Service.

Carols by Candlelight will be held in St Mary’s Church on Sunday, beginning at 6.30pm, a traditional service of lesson, readings and carols, and then there will be our new popular tradition, the Crib Service, which is held on Christmas Eve at 4pm. This year, there will be the return of the lost sheep as well as candles, singing, stories and general ahh factor!

Midnight Communion starts at 11.15pm on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day, there is the one service – a Family Celebration - at 10.30am. Rod looks forward to playing with toys at this service, so please bring along your presents (the noisier the merrier!!).

Following the success of last year’s New Year’s Eve party in the Village Hall, the Conservation and Bonfire Societies are joining forces to offer a Glitter Ball, which will cost just £12.50 a head, to include music from the same excellent DJ and finger food. Please bring your own drink (and glasses). Tickets are available from Mervyn Hayes at Rose Cottage (253443) and selling fast! For safety reasons, the Glitter Ball is unsuitable for small children.

On Tuesday 21st January, Shirley Saeed will be returning to Northiam to run another Spice up your Life evening, teaching the basics of an authentic curry. Tickets are available from me – 01797 253375 at £5.

Rye & District Lions host their annual Nearly Burns Night Concert with Sussex Brass on Friday 24th January, with tickets on sale at Beckley Motors £6.50. This is usually a sell-out event so it would be wise to get your ticket early!

The Conservation Society will be holding their ever-popular Quiz Night on Saturday 25th January, so gather your teams for a contest!

Showtimers are already planning their next extravaganza, and are looking for people to join this lively band. If you fancy joining the group, people are needed for on-stage, backstage, front of house or technical. Auditions will take place in January. For more information phone Geoff or Caroline Poyton on 01797 252918. (under 18s will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian to participate)

If you enjoy hearing the church bells over the Christmas period, perhaps you might fancy having a go yourself? Alan, the Tower Captain, is looking for more ringers to join the team, and would welcome complete beginners or returning ringers to practice nights on Tuesdays in January (not the 1st, there may be headaches to nurture) at 7.30pm. Either turn up at the main entrance to the church, or phone Alan for more information – 01797-253580.

Before all this excitement in the New Year, we have the joy of Christmas, and I do hope you have a very Happy Christmas, however you celebrate it.

Services (22nd): 8am Holy Communion, 10.30am Morning Praise 6.30pm Carols by Candlelight