Alfriston

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EWES AND LAMBS: Driving home on a sunny evening over High and Over I was thrilled to see the ewes with lambs at foot and it brought to mind the Arthur Beckett poem Spirit of The Down’s.

The distant down is dappled with a thousand grey-white sheep, the tuneful tinkle of their bells steals from the far-off steep; And as you watch the shepherd calls, ‘goo fetch them home, good Tray!’ The faithful collie folds the flock at purple close o’day.

BELL RINGING: Whilst modern shepherds no longer adorn their favourite ewes with canister bells, the six bells of St Andrews, Alfriston can be heard regularly ringing for Sunday service and all manner of special events. Uniquely the bells are rung from the floor of the Chancel crossing. Our bell ringers are hooked on it and practice regularly, although it is no longer accompanied by large quantities of ale. You do not need to be strong, musical or brainy to learn. If you would like to know more about our bells why not pop into St Andrews and pick up a leaflet.

ST ANDREWS RESTORATION: Launch update. The Arts, Crafts and History Festival will take place on April 9 between 10am and 4pm as part of the weekend’s restoration launch. The Heritage Centre upstairs at the Gun Room will host displays and groups talking about the history of the valley and how to get the most out of this Downland playground. The War Memorial Hall will include crafts people demonstrating skills such as wood turning, trug making, jewellery making, bee keeping and quilt making. The church will host guided tours at 11am and 3pm with Kevin Gordon and there will be crafts on display such as flint work and stained glass window making, musical interludes throughout and of course tea and cake. On Sunday April 10 there will be a celebratory service with all invited to be involved.

AFTERNOON TEA: The trails around the village are filling with people eager to get fit either for personal improvement or to complete a challenge for a good cause. Stephanie and Jayne are running the London Marathon in aid of the Stroke Association. To support them they have invited the village to The Old Chapel Centre tomorrow, Saturday, between 2pm and 4pm for afternoon tea. There will also be a raffle and tombola.

MUCH ADO SOUP FOR SYRIA: As the sun pokes its head out, so do the downland explorers, hikers, bikers and runners. After a bracing Downland walk who is not ready for a hearty bowl of soup? Especially when you can enjoy great soup and aid a good cause. Our fantastic bookshop have been inspired by the fund raising cookbook Soup For Syria and are holding a soup lunch to support the Refugee Community Kitchen, a group set up by chefs, journalists and volunteers serving more than 2,000 meals a day to refugees in Calais. Stop by Much Ado in West Street on Sunday March 13 from 11am to 3pm to chat to volunteers about their experiences and enjoy a delicious lunch. Choose between Thai coconut with mushrooms or Indian lentil soup served with breads from Judges Bakery in Hastings. Round off your meal with cake made by owner Cate Olsen. A £10 donation is suggested and every penny will go to the Refugee Community Kitchen. Copies of Soup for Syria will be available and as a thank you will include Cate’s Banana Bread recipe. No reservations are needed.

EASTER EGG MAKIING: With the sight of newly born lambs on the Downs, thoughts turn to Easter and chocolate and the fun that is Easter Egg and Chocolate Making. Smartcookies will be helping kids, big and little, make their own hollow chocolate eggs filled with homemade chocolates. Everything will be provided. Children’s sessions will be Saturdays March 19 and 26, 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm. Adult’s sessions, complete with the enticement of bubbles and nibbles, will take place Wednesday March 23 and Saturday March 26, 7pm to 9.30pm. Children £15 and adults £20. Booking is essential. Contact smartcookiesliz@gmail.com.

DIARY DATES: Today, Friday, and Tuesday. Fabulous local music can be found at The Star Inn. Mother’s Day, Sunday. The village shops are full of creative gift ideas and cards.

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