Christmas Fair: It’s time to start thinking Christmas and the gifts you hope to get each other. So tomorrow (Saturday) the New Hall Society has as usual arranged the annual Christmas Fair which will take place between 10am and 1pm in the New Hall and all are invited. There will be stalls selling pottery, jewellery, Christmas decorations, woodcraft, handicrafts, home-made produce, glassware and ceramics, plus a really great raffle and tombola.

Advent Carols: St Thomas’ Church will be celebrating its annual Advent Carol Service on Sunday November 30th at 6pm. It will be a joint service with St Richard’s Church Winchelsea Beach and Icklesham Parish Church. Canon Robin Whitehead will be leading the service which will include music and reading to mark the season of Advent.

John Betjeman: The Literary Society will be meeting next Friday December 5th in the Lower Court Hall. Doors are open at 7 for 7.30pm for a talk by Denis Moriarty on poet laureate John Betjeman. Denis Moriarty has been a BBC director and producer in television Music and Arts. His programmes included the series on English Towns with Alec Clifton-Taylor; Face The Music with Joseph Cooper and Joyce Grenfell; One Hundred Great paintings; Edwin Lutyens Master Architect; The Triumph of the West; and films on Egypt in the Chronicle and Timewatch series.

Great Expectations: This year’s Christmas play performed by the Rain or Shine Theatre Company will be Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This will be on Sunday December 14th at 4.30pm in St Thomas’ Church. Tickets are £10 adults and £6 children (6 to 14yrs) and for bookings please contact the Bonfire Boyes on 01797 224446 or visit Grammar School Records in Rye.

Pirates talk: What have France’s version of Robin Hood, a Calico Jack character which inspired Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow and a Dartmouth politician got in common? Yes they were all pirates travelling across the English Channel in the years 1200 to 1408 when trading and sea battles were at a peak. The three were Eustace the Monk from France, John Crabbe and John Hawley respectively and their activities were the focus of Jill Eddison’s talk on Medieval Pirates, last Saturday, arranged by Winchelsea Archaeological Society. A rogue in monastic attire Eustace served King John in 1204 then switched allegiance to King Philip of France where he set about helping him to invade England by transporting troops, as well as performing acts of piracy. At the Battle of Dover he and his crew had powdered lime thrust on them and eventually he was executed. John Crabbe had a varied career as a pirate and seafaring mercenary. From the Bay of Biscay where he torched a ship having stolen its cargo of wine, his exploits took him to the Straits of Dover where he pursued a ship with a richer prize which was sailing peacefully. After descending on it Crabbe’s crew stole goods worth £2000 and he was adept in escaping the clutches of the law. The third pirate, John Hawley from Dartmouth was a wealthy merchant and local politician. During the Hundred Years War privateering was profitable. It was a means of attacking the French ships with the King taking a percentage of any enemy cargoes seized. This often led to piracy and Hawley was imprisoned briefly in the Tower of London until he agreed to compensate some merchants. Whether or not he was a privateer or pirate was uncertain, since during the war rules were seldom kept and it was generally considered that there were few honest characters on either side of the Channel.

Carol Service: There will be a joint Advent Carol Service at St Thomas’ Church with St Richard’s and Icklesham on Sunday November 30th at 6pm. The service will be led by Canon Robin Whitehead and there will be music and readings.

Cash Bingo: Eyes down at 7 for 7.15pm in the Community Hall in Winchelsea Beach when all invited to the next fortnightly Bingo. The date for this event is Wednesday December 3rd and light refreshments available.

Art & Craft Fair: ‘Winchelsea Beach Art and Craft for All’ group are holding their first Christmas Craft and Gift Fair at the Community Hall from 10am till 3pm on Saturday December 6th. Everything on sale has been produced by the stall-holders, with nothing bought in and local craftspeople have been given preference for table space. Admission is free, parking easy and there are refreshments and seasonal edibles too. The stalls include furniture and upholstered items; cushions, bunting, table mats and runners; soap, lavender bags; gift ideas and home improvers. There’s painted glass for use and decoration; hand-made cards; walking sticks; cakes and sweets; decorations and more.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham