Fairlight news
Fairlight news

Church matters: As we forewarned last week, there is no service in either of the two churches in the Parish this Sunday, April 30, as there is a Benefice Service in Pett’s St Mary and St Peter’s church, commencing at 10.30 am.

Get your name down for church information: Fairlight churches have started compiling a list of village residents who would like to be kept informed, by email, of forthcoming church activities. Please contact admin@fairlightandpett.com and you will readily learn of services, fun events, fund raising and so on.

MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, April 28, it’s Produce Day and Bingo, together with a talk about the orchids at Kew Gardens by Felicity Bullock. Busy, busy – there’s also free hearing aid maintenance that day, and that maintenance is also available to those who are not MOPPs members. The lunch, however, is for MOPPs members and their helpers. It will consist of steak and mushroom pie, followed by fruit crumble and custard. Next week, on Friday, May 5, there will be Tai Chi with Sarah Kimber, as well as Nicola’s Age UK toenail cutting. Next Friday’s lunch will be steak and mushroom pie, with fruit crumble and custard for pud.

Cranford: As you read this, the opening night of the Players’ Cranford has come and gone, and there are only three more performances to go – one this evening, at 7.30 pm and two tomorrow, the 2.30 pm matinee, and the evening at 7.30 pm. At the time of writing this, the Saturday evening tickets were all already spoken for, so you have to hope there are still tickets for tonight, Friday, or for tomorrow’s matinee.

Cranford was introduced to the masses ten years ago on the telly and in Hastings, pleasingly, five years ago at the Stables, when the cast included our own Aisling, then Tigwell. Here, Fairlight is very well served by an eleven-strong cast of able actors and actresses. There are no fewer than nine of the latter, led by the Miss Matty of Jennifer Annetts in a sharply drawn characterisation sustained over immense length, partnered by Martha, the gormless open-mouthed and very funny tyro maid from Aisling Edie on top form. Miss Pole gives Charlotte Eastes the chance to show her drive and versatility to great effect. It is extremely pleasing to see Alice Tigwell on a Fairlight stage once more after too long an absence, and she is calm and collected as Mary Smith. The Hon. Mrs. Jamieson is imperious in the form of Luci Mantel, and Charlotte Miller is as courageous as she is effective with her accurately Scots Lady Glenmire. Claire Murray, as Miss Barker, and Penny Kenward, as Mrs. Forrester, vie for the title of Cranford’s Gossip-in-Chief, while Pauline Lucas sets the scene and later sums up in three front stage appearances as authoress Mrs Gaskell, making the whole play a flashback. For the men of the village, Steve Hill is very valuable to the plot and balance of the piece as Mr. Hoggins, and the accomplished Thomas Edie cleverly blends comedy with pathos as Martha’s intended, Jem Hearn. The foregoing is a potted character analysis, albeit very brief, and no dramatic plot twists are revealed, so no ‘spoiler alert’ is necessary!

The costume plot is stunning and, sometimes difficult for amateurs, well worn. The set is very pleasing to look at, if a little more posh than one expects. The new lighting certainly gives a greater degree of control than was possible before. Judy Welsh, making her debut as a Fairlight Director, ensures that the play moves along very well, maintaining its grip on the audience, and making it clear that this is a play that is as funny as it is engrossing. Just watch, listen and laugh!

Tuesday Ladies Club: The scheduled speaker for Tuesday Ladies Club’s April meeting was unfortunately taken ill and the club was lucky to be able to bring forward the November speaker as a replacement. Ian “Spike” Milligan gave us his second batch of hilarious stories about the good old days in the police force. Ian dresses up as a ‘proper’ policeman complete with helmet – and what a difference that makes; he becomes a different person. I didn’t see Ian I’m afraid, but it sounds as if you get the full ‘knees bend, evening all’ routine. One of his stories was about what can only be described as a UFO experience at Cooden after which he phoned the weather centre who told him that they had received lots of calls about this phenomenon – which has never been explained. Ian was warmly thanked for stepping in at such short notice and for giving those present such an entertaining afternoon. The next meeting will feature the excellent Judith Kinnison Bourke, who this time will be telling of her Oxford Canal Family. The meeting starts at 2.15 pm in the village hall on May 16 and menfolk and others are invited – and urged – to give it a go. After all, it only costs £2!

White lines: The roads are alive with newly sprayed white lines round a multiplicity of potholes, principally in Waites Lane and up Battery Hill, of course, and also, falling to pieces in sympathy, Martineau Lane. As usual, what is puzzling are the nearly-potholes, which are about 24 hours away from possessing the area and depth that would make them fully-fledged, proper holes in their own right. Don’t be surprised when they sulk and get deeper and wider out of sheer spite. They’re determined to win in the end.

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