Pews News: This Sunday, April 8, there is a 9 am service of Holy Communion at St Peter’s, and then, at 10.30 am, there will be Morning Praise at St Andrew’s. The theme here will be Luke’s first Easter, and they will also be taking another look at the wonder of resurrection. Meanwhile, over at Pett Methodist Chapel, the Rev Ian Pruden will be leading the 10.45 am service ‘in café style’. Sounds tempting!
MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, April 6, Keith Osbourne’s music is the healthy option – it’ll really do you good! There’s shepherd’s pie for lunch, with gateaux to folleaux.
On Friday, April 13, singer Sharon Sellens will be the guest artiste, and also present will be Sandra Stunt, demonstrating greetings cards. It looks as if we cheated to keep the alliteration going, but it’s pure chance! Lunch is gammon and cauliflower cheese, with apple crumble for afters.
Bowls opening: Fingers crossed for the Bowls Club, only a week away now from the opening of the green on Saturday, April 14. May the sun shine as if it really means it!
Fairlight Players: Tickets are on sale for the Players production that will conclude their 2017-18 season – ‘The Edge of Darkness’, a thriller by Brian Clemens, which is being directed by Charlie Miller on her Fairlight debut. Tickets are a mere £6 for the umpteenth consecutive season (just compare this with what many other local amateurs are charging).
The story concerns a young lady called Emma who is returned to her loving parents after a mysterious three year absence. She remembers nothing of this missing time. At first all appears well but things are not as they seem. Why has Emma an absolute dread of knives and why is she so obsessed by the family portrait? Also, what are the Russian phrases she keeps saying. All this is mixed with Hardy the handy man who just turns up, and a mysterious visitor. All becomes clear as the plot twists and turns and the story unfolds in an exciting climax. The play runs at the village hall from Thursday to Saturday, April 19 to 21, at 7.30 pm each evening, and with a 2.30 pm matinee on the Saturday.
The Parish Council’s March meeting: Ten days ago, the PC meeting was a vigorous and busy affair, with seemingly more agenda items than usual. For the third and final experimental time, public involvement came under Item 3, and not via an Open Forum. And the first point raised was highly relevant, concerning the Market Garden planning application, where a resident pointed out that GemSelect appeared to have been selective in the paperwork supporting their application, which included a 2011 assessment of badger activity on the site, but failed to mention a 2017 update which had shown some 50% increase in that activity, and would appear to preclude the planned build of two properties at the top of the site, to the east of the existing garages. Gem Select own this survey. Cllr Leadbetter covered this site more fully under Item 11b, and said there are many conditions attached to this application, to which at present he is unable to direct our attention. As soon as he can, he will advise all residents through the FRA email system. Please study it when you get the chance.
The Parish Assembly was confirmed as being on Friday, May 18, starting at 6 pm. The judges for this year’s John Lutman award, given to the Fairlight resident who has done the most in support of the community, were determined as Cllrs. Andrew Mier, David Shortman and Tony King.
The recent failure of our water supplies was discussed, as it was apparent that information did not get to those who needed it sufficiently quickly. Cllr Annetts, whose responsibility includes the Emergency Plan, was, in an extraordinary quirk of fate, not without water at her home, and was therefore unaware of the extent of the problem at first. One who knew what was going on was new Parish Clerk Pauline Collins, who had been contacted by Southern Water, and promptly spent almost all her day at the village hall water distribution point. This action, way, way beyond the call of duty, earned her many thanks and some very nice flowers. Also thanked was Lisa at Hairbase who, unable to do much professionally without any water, took the trouble to ferry water supplies to those of her customers she knew would be most in need.
A small hiccup occurred when the matter of the licence and rent for the next five years for the tennis court came under discussion, as the Tennis Club had requested that the PC should reduce the wandering greenery that made it difficult to enter the court. Cllrs Mier and Horsley, being tennis aficionados, declared an interest and left the room, but those remaining were unable to resolve either question (although they are not interdependent) A proper quote will be obtained for the April meeting. In the meantime, new balls please! The question of a risk assessment for those volunteering to help manage Knowle Wood was discussed, in the light of the fact that these volunteers would be using chain saws.
The cessation of the mobile library service was discussed, and there were questions of what financial or other support could be given to a village library run by volunteers. The question of where this might be housed seemed to be the first insurmountable obstacle, and the entire affair smacked of being about horses and stable doors.
The Council, grasping the nettle, then had a discussion on the relative merits of the Item 3 public involvement vs an Open Forum. Cllr Jones spoke first, followed by others who said he had made the points they had intended to make, and Cllr Horsley observed that the Chairman should police the Open Forum to prevent repetition, an ill that certainly can creep in if unchecked. Voting was all bar one in favour of the both the agenda item and the Open Forum being retained, the sole dissented opting for Item 3 involvement only. Many in the public seats will have been satisfied that a healthy chunk of pragmatism saved the day. One can’t help thinking that similar non-pedantic common sense late last year would have avoided all the fuss and upset that existed.
Speakers Corner: If you weren’t at Speakers Corner on March 28 then you missed what was arguably the best meeting of the season. Alan Haines had been due to give his ‘talk’ last year, but had to cancel due to health problems; and here he was, back in great form. Alan is a magician, comedian and all round entertainer and his presentation this week was mainly nostalgia for the Sixties, with audience participation. Gales of laughter ensued all afternoon.
The Speakers’ AGM will be held on April 18 and this, too, is a fun afternoon with a tea and a quiz. This will round off the current season but, rest assured, they’ll be back once more come October.
The Gardening Club: While the rain turned Easter Monday afternoon into a washout for most, members of the Gardening Club enjoyed the sunny climes of Sydney with a slideshow of some Australian Flora and Fauna, courtesy of Club regulars Paul and Karen Draper. Those present were treated to slides showing a large variety of colourful wildlife from Rainbow Lorikeets to Purple Swamp hens and trees from the stunning purple Jacaranda to the Strangling Fig! To those who had visited Australia, the photos conjured up happy memories and for those who hadn’t, a wish to go and see it all for themselves. To finish off the afternoon, Easter treats of hot cross buns, simnel cake and Easter eggs were available with tea and coffee.
For their May meeting, coming up on another Bank Holiday, Monday May 7, the club will be visiting Butler’s Farmhouse near Herstmonceux, home of National Garden Scheme Organiser Irene Elltringham-Wilson. The 16th Century farmhouse has an acre of grounds and views over the South Downs. (Details are in the NGS brochure). The cost will be £10 person and this will include a tour of the gardens, plus tea and cakes. The trip is open to all Club members so if you would like to join them, please call Karen Draper on 814154. The closing date for numbers, so they can stock up on cakes, is Wednesday, May 2.
Road up. Again: As you are no doubt aware, East Sussex Highways carriageway contractors are having a third attempt at doing a proper repair job on Waites Lane, starting last night and continuing and completing the job tonight. Hours of work are from 8 pm to 5 am. Once again Graeme and Leonie are making the Post Office and Stores car park available for use during the road closure for those arriving in the village and unable to get through to their homes. If you do use these facilities, please park only in the marked bays, as delivery access can be required throughout the night. And please vacate your parking space by 7.30 am on Saturday morning, as the business expects this to be an extremely busy period. Thanks, Graeme and Leonie, for your offer.
Fairlight Road: of course, the incessant rain has left our favourite bit of road in a quandary. Driving along now you’re faced with the Russian roulette with the puddles. Are they thin films of gentle droplets, or are they six or seven inches of jagged-edged, gut-wrenching hole? A clue to help you. There’s nothing gentle about these vicious pits.