Anne Reed,

It seems quite a while since I last wrote in this column and I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas without too many problems howsoever caused by this horrendous weather we are enduring at the moment. The ‘Shortest Day’ has been and gone, and ‘they’ say that Spring is just around the corner, if we could only see it through this horrid rain !. Still look forward, we must, and all the lovely things that we can enjoy within our parish, by way of social groups, sports and pastimes, and other societies that we belong to,~ or are contemplating belonging to ~ will be sure to start beckoning us and before too long we shall all, once more be enjoying a new whirl of ‘out and abouting’ as the New Year of 2014 unfurls.

Many of these groups have already resumed their activities,~ Our lovely little Primary School in Staplecross has started it’s new term, full of stimulating and wondrous things for our little ‘Caretakers of our Future’, to become involved in The 3 ‘R’s have never been so exciting and learning has never been such fun. ~ The Pre-School Playgroup, has also re-opened it’s doors to begin it’s new year and which I’m reliably informed has still a few places available. This happy and friendly little playgroup, which has a very good Ofsted report can offer excellent care and attention to your little one and for further details, just contact the proprietor Jo Perkins on 07979~481383 She’ll be very happy to tell you all that they get up to and the smiling faces of the wee ones will confirm it. ~ the W.I. started their new programme last Tuesday when the ladies all met up again to enjoy each others company and of course, their yummy afternoon teas. A full and varied programme for this year has been drawn up and is certain to be of interest to a great number of ladies out there who may not have ‘discovered’ for themselves the fun and friendship that being a member of this super little social group entails. As well as the usual activities associated with the W.I. this particular group are also pleased to offer; ~ the ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ group, the Book Club and naturally, the Craft Group. The ladies meet at St.Marks’ Church Room, Northiam Road, Staplecross on the first Tuesday of each 2.30pm. Easy, free parking is directly outside and to find out what’s on offer and anything else you’d like to know, and what their programme for 2014 holds please contact their President, Mrs Ann Prodinger on 01580-831944.

Another hugely popular group that has re-convened is the local Staplecross Art Group. Gently and with kindness and consideration for all levels of ability and competence this warm and friendly little group is very ably led by Hilary Ganly. It doesn’t matter if you favour Picasso, Constable, Lowry or Banksy, or whether you prefer oils, acrylics,chalks or water colours Hilary will help you achieve a masterpiece of your own making and in your own time. This group is open to all and they meet at Staplecross Village Hall on Thursday mornings between 10am and 12.30pm. So if you fancy having a ‘dabble’ then just give Hilary a ring on 01580~830704 for all further details and information. This could open up a complete new pastime for you, but beware, it could become addictive !

The Mobile Library will once again be wending it’s way through our country lanes bringing endless pleasure in many forms to all our residents. Already this New Year in particular is posing many driving problems, weatherwise, for all motorists, so let’s hope that this special van will still be able to arrive at it’s chosen destinations safe and sound. As in the previous year, this service, provided by East Sussex Library Service will be operating a fortnightly programme on Thursdays and will again be visiting Cripps Corner, Staplecross and Ewhurst. This much enjoyed and valued service provides more than just books to read. Look out for the van and take advantage of what is on offer.

Let’s hope that this awful weather will have calmed down or even blown itself out by Sunday in order that those “Hikers of the Highways” will still be able to enjoy their hobby. Surely even they haven’t been out and about in this treacherous wind and rain that has been causing so much trouble to all and sundry?. We shall see !. Three interesting walks have been arranged for our anticipated pleasure commencing on Sunday January 12th when the group will meet for a 9 mile circular walk of Rye Harbour to Winchelsea. Congregating at the Rye Harbour car park (TN317TZ) at A pub or picnic lunch is suggested and as usual your doggy pal can accompany you. Please contact Richard on 01424~892865 for all further details. The second of our walks sounds very interesting and is a Hawkhurst ‘Figure of Eight’ of just 10 miles. and is proposed for the following Tuesday January 14th. This group will meet at 10am in the car park adjacent to the Hawkhurst Primary School off the A268 (TN184PQ) Again a pub or picnic lunch is suggested and again you are welcome to take your dog along with you. Please telephone Carol for all further information on 01580~852432. Last but certainly not least is a smaller jaunt of a mere 6 mile circular tour of Wadhurst and Woods Green. These fellows will all meet in the large central car park in Wadhurst (TN56DR) at 9.30am. A short refreshment stop is planned midway and naturally man’s best friend will be allowed to accompany you on this trip. Please contact Lionel for more detailed information on 01424~752452. Please ensure you telephone the Leaders of these rambles to ascertain that these trips are still going ahead. Safety first !

If you have had enough of being indoors and you feel that you’ve exhausted all of the television channels available, this next item might be just what you need to blow away the cobwebs and get those “little grey cells” up and working again. Ewhurst, Staplecross and Bodiam Garden Society are holding a “Quiz Night” on Saturday January 18th at 7pm in the Staplecross Village Hall. All and any teams of 4 to 6 will be made very welcome. Tickets are £5:00 per person which will include a supper of hot soup and crusty bread. If you fancy a tipple during the evening, please bring your own wine and glasses. To pre-register your team, please ‘phone Pam Dance on 01580~830320 or Ruth Close on 01580~831918. Payment will be taken on the night. This has always been a good nights’ entertainment with good hearted rivalry all round, so please this year, don’t just think about it, ~ do it.! You must know more than 3 other people who would make up a great team and who would enjoy a good evening out amongst congenial company. So get up a team, have a go and have a great, inexpensive evenings entertainment and start off the New Year by creating fun, enjoyable memories to look back on.

The Ewhurst Parish Council have also re-commenced their sittings and following on from Thursdays meeting (9th) have made a statement requesting all those that are interested in having an allotment plot at the new ‘Knowle Corner Wood’ allotment site in Lordine Lane, Ewhurst Green are invited to attend the first AGM of the Ewhurst Parish Allotments Association at St. Marks Church Room, Northiam Road, Staplecross on Tuesday 21 January 2014 at 7pm. You will be able to join the Association on the night ( ~ you need to be a member to work a plot) find out more about progress and plans for the site ~ which hopefully will be ready for cultivation in the Spring of this year ~ and will have the opportunity to put yourself forward for the Management Group. Members/Plot holders must be at least 16 years of age and be a resident or owner of property within the Parish of Ewhurst or an adjoining Parish. If you have any questions or queries or comments regarding this, please contact in the first instance, the Acting Secretary, Richard Farhall on 07775~333096 or contact him via the parish email at where he will be pleased to assist you in any way he can.

Church services for Ewhurst parish will commence on Sunday January 12th. Epiphany 1. 9.30am at St James the Great in Ewhurst Green. The service will be Holy Communion (BCP) There will be NO SERVICE at St. Giles at Bodiam An Epiphany Praise service will be conducted at St. Marks church in Staplecross at 11.15am. All services will be taken by Reverend Gordon Winchester and if there is anything that you need to discuss with him, please don’t hesitate to contact him at the Rectory on 01580~830268. He will always do what he can to be of assistance.

If you have an event coming up, or a celebration, or any ‘Do’, and you’d like extra publicity, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help give you extra coverage. You can contact me via my email or by telephone 01580~831881.

I look forward to hearing from you.