Alfriston news
Alfriston news

SEPTEMBER: ‘It was a lovely afternoon - such an afternoon as only September can produce when summer has stolen back for one more day of dream and glamour’ JM Montgomery.

A SOUTH DOWNS ALPHABET: What an afternoon it was last Friday as we strode ‘along the running Downs, high above the patchwork plain’ with Clare Balding and BBC Radio 4 Ramblings. Our journey followed the footsteps of Eleanor Farjeon to arrive back in Alfriston ‘by an ancient hostel, even saw demons in the street, a rabbit at a Bishop’s feet, angels and dragons and St George….’ You will know the ancient hostel as The Star Inn with its brightly coloured carvings. Along the way we had shown Clare and the Rambling’s listeners the wonderful variety the downs has to offer, the wildlife, our snake river, the farming landscape, ancient burial mounds even a hint of Tuscany as the wild bird friendly verges full of sunflowers and poppies welcomed us to Rathfinny Wine Estate. Ramblings had been inspired to join this walk to walk the landscape which had inspired Eleanor Farjeon to write A Sussex Alphabet, she also wanted to chat with the team behind The South Downs Alphabet. This is a Heritage Lottery supported partnership venture between the South Downs National Park Authority and The Write House, an independent group of local historians and writers, founded by Alfriston resident Dr June Goodfield and also Dr Peter Robinson, who conceived this alphabet project. School children from across Hampshire, West and East Sussex have joined with retired and semi-retired people from the University of the Third Age, to think and write about the landscapes, wildlife and people that we value most about the South Downs today. The fabulous submissions received are being developed into a new poetry book, to be published in December 2016 by local publishers Snake River Press, along with a reprint of Eleanor Farjeon’s original wonderfully illustrated collection. The Ramblings programme will be broadcast on Radio 4 Thursday October 13 at 3pm and repeated Saturday October 15 at 6am. It was unanimously agreed that we are incredibly lucky to have all this beauty and heritage on our doorstep. I do however wish I had taken a copy of September’s Cuckmere News and asked for Clare’s help with the Olympic Quiz on page 25.

HERITAGE OPEN DAY: To discover more of the valley’s heritage, tomorrow Saturday, St Andrews will be exhibiting volumes recording all the artefacts in the church. The work took a team of volunteers three years and will be on display between 11am and 3pm. Bell ringing and refreshments will be provided. Why not combine a visit to the church with a visit to The Clergy House next door as they will be free entry on this day.

CURLING UP WITH A GOOD BOOK: As smells of autumn begin to fill the air, I am looking forward to hours curled up with a good book in front of a fire. Exciting things are happening at Much Ado. They will be occasionally closed over the next week or two for reorganization and some refurbishment but if inspiration strikes and you need a book they have assured me they are never far away and can be contacted 01323 871222. One book I have added to my very long reading wish list is

THE STAR WITNESS: the story of one man’s descent into disgrace and his journey back to join the human race. A pin-sharp satire on the shallows of modern media culture and the dysfunctional relationship we have with the idea of ‘celebrity’, it will keep you laughing, cringing and guessing until the very last page. Andy Hamilton will be discussing the book at Deans Place Hotel in Alfriston on Wednesday September 21. Doors will open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets cost £10 and include more than 20 percent off the book on the night.

We recommend securing your tickets in advance, either in person at Much Ado, over the phone (01323 871222), or on-line

HEARTSTART: Relaxing with a good book or striding the downs are good for mind, body and spirit. However emergencies can strike at any time, irrespective of how well we take care of ourselves. Heartstart First Responders are trained local volunteers who respond to emergency calls and provide vital life support prior to the arrival of an ambulance. David Watkins has recently taken over as team leader and is keen to increase the numbers of volunteers. ‘Obviously we cannot have an ambulance on every street corner, but we could have lots of volunteer first responders. I am keen to get more volunteers, they need to be over 18 years, have a vehicle and driving licence, be willing to perform at least six hours duty a week on average and attend regular training meetings. There is no upper age limit. Responders receive a mileage allowance, equipment and uniform. It can be most satisfying knowing that you have helped people in our community. It is even more satisfying to know that you have saved the life of someone who would not have survived without your intervention’. Please contact David on 07515 282074 if you want more information on joining the group, wish to make a donation or feel you can contribute to the group’s success.

DON’T FORGET ALL THE C’S: Coffee, Cakes and Computers. Wednesday, Deans Place Hotel 10am to noon. Free event with no need to book, pop along for help, advice and tips for improving your online ability.

CRAFTS, CAKES AND COLLECTABLES: Sunday September 25, Old Chapel Centre 10am to 4pm. Bring your precious goodies to be valued or just come to watch the valuations. Refreshments and stalls available. In aid of St Andrews Restoration.

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