Richard Holmes, Beauchamps

Having been away on November 14, I’m grateful to the Parish Clerk for letting me have sight of her draft minutes of the Parish Council meeting, enabling me to report briefly on the Council’s proceedings that evening.

The chairman, Cllr Turgoose, reported that ESCC had declined to accept our suggestion that Float Lane and Dumbwoman’s Lane should be closed to HGVs except for access. Instead, “Unsuitable for HGVs” signs had been placed at the entry points of both lanes: any of us who use these lanes regularly are asked to report to Cllr Turgoose how effective these signs prove to be. At the junction of Church Lane with B2089 there are some matters still to be resolved: the long overdue realignment of the road markings, advance junction warning signs on B2089, and an improved signpost to the Church and Community Hall. Other highway matters discussed included missing cats’ eyes, pedestrian safety, possible footways where verges are wide enough to accommodate them and various roadside trees in poor condition. (This last item was highlighted early on Sunday morning, when an ivy-covered tree was blown over, threatened to bring powerlines down onto the road and obliged Highways to close the road for the rest of the day).

Cllr Leahy reported that the ESCC Rights of Way team is seeking volunteers to survey parish footpaths, help with their improvement and report problems to them. Anyone interested in joining this group should consult Cllr Leahy (01797 227488) for further information.

Reporting on behalf of Rother District and East Sussex County councils, Cllr Maynard said that Central Government had capped increases in expenditure at 2% for next year. By expansion in its scope, with large expected savings, the joint waste management contract had become the largest in England. It had been awarded to Kier Group.

The next Parish Council meeting will be in the Hall on Wednesday January 16.

Tomorrow morning (Saturday) be sure not to miss the annual parish Christmas Fayre, in the Hall between 10.30am and 12.30pm. If you get there in good time, you’ll see a special opening performance by six members of the cast of Dick Whittington and His Cat. Other attractions will include mulled wine and mince pies, other refreshments and a range of well-stocked stalls: cakes and preserves, gifts, decorations, jewellery, books, bric-a-brac, new-to-you, and a tombola. Among the many tempting raffle prizes will be new posters by the local photographer, David Purdie, and tickets for the opening night of the Hastings Stage Studio show at the Phoenix Gallery next week. If you would like to donate items for sale on any of the stalls, or raffle prizes, if possible please bring them along to the Hall this afternoon (Friday). Nan Hacking (01424 882348) will be delighted to answer any other queries you may have.

The 11.15am service this Sunday will be the usual monthly Family Service for All, followed by a social get-together, with refreshments.

At 4pm on Tuesday (December 4) the monthly meeting of Messy Church will take place in the Hall.

If you qualify for a ‘flu jab but have missed it so far, your last opportunity will be next Friday (Decenber 7), between 2 and 3.30pm at the Northiam surgery.

At 7.30 that evening in Brede Church there will be a concert by several local choral groups, at which our own group, Vocality, has been invited to perform. The programme will include favourite Christmas carols and other songs for the season. In the interval the audience will be able to enjoy a selection of seasonal nibbles, mulled wine and a preview of the decorations for the Brede Christmas Tree Festival. There will be a modest entry charge.

The following Tuesday evening (December 11) between 7 and 9pm there will be a Festival Market in the Hall. Among the delicious delicatessen goodies on sale will be: all sorts of cheese, bacon, ham, hand-raised pork pies, preserves, pickles, hampers, oils, some sugar-free products, home-made Christmas puddings, cakes and mince pies. Gifts, cards, Christmas trees, door wreaths and fresh foliage decorations will be on sale too. The £3.50 entry ticket will also qualify you for a glass of mulled wine and cheesy nibbles. Please note the date in your diary!

On a less festive note, I’ve heard that an old scam is going the rounds again. You may receive a card from a firm called Postal Delivery Services advising you of a parcel they were unable to deliver and asking you to ring 0906 6611911. On no account do so. This is a Belize number, a call to which would cost you a minimum of £315! If you receive one of these cards, please notify the Royal Mail Fraud Squad (0207 239 6655).