CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, Offham, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee/tea, cake/biscuits in the church hall.
CHURCH ELECTORAL ROLL: It is the Church of England policy for electoral rolls to be renewed every six years. This year it means that the roll of St Peter’s Church, Offham needs to be completed. All those on the current roll who wish to remain on it are obliged to complete an sign the short form. One for each family member who is baptised and over the age of 16 years. There should be forms available at the back of the church and you need to complete and sign the form and post it to Jenny Money, Electoral Roll Officer, St Peter’s Church, Offham with Hamsey, 61 Hawkenbury Way, Lewes BN7 1LT email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01273 483424 mobile 07709 939780. Get your forms in by March 10 at the very latest.
PLANNING MATTERS: I have had so many calls telling me that people are very unhappy with the way planning applications are dealt with and how they are fed up with trying to get through to LDC Planning Dept to talk to someone. I can understand fully as I also feel very frustrated with how our beautiful countryside is being turned into a concrete jungle with not much help when it comes to the powers that be. When it comes to a sensitive application that needs a site visit, especially to undertake an environmental survey, it is now carried out by looking at maps etc from someone sitting at a desk. How can they possibly know if there is a sensitive issue unless they actually visit the site to see and speak to the people who live there, or close by. I, like many, thought that being in an AONB or National Park area meant that there was protection for our lovely countryside. Recently I had a call from a couple of Derek’s old shipping friends who we use to visit frequently. Although I don’t want to disclose where it is, it is very sad as they now have to sell their house, which is on the side of the South Downs, because 600 houses are going to be built on the Downs at the pack of their property. We used to visit and it was always a great joy to go for long walks with their delightful family an dogs on the Downs and it was the same when they came here. The first place they wanted to go was a walk up to Blackcap. When they called me they asked if I still had the lovely article and picture from The Times dated Wednesday April 27, 1938 entitled Blackcap: A Famous Downland Landmark which my father-in-law had saved. I have copied it so many times that it is now getting a little bit delicate. It is the most beautiful black and white picture taken by a Times staff photographer and headed Safe From The Builder. It was taken during an enquiry at Lewes on Downland Preservation where it was described as the fairest and most famous Downs. At that stage it was included in the 26,779 acres of Downland now preserved in perpetuity in its natural condition. In the picture is a gentleman and two boys who Derek recognised as Major Strickland who lived at Warningore House, and one of the boys was Ian Strickland who read my piece in the Sussex Express and wrote to me from France. He kept in touch right up until his death as he loved the Downs here, especially Blackcap, and said he hoped that it would never change. I hope too that it will be safe from these greedy developers that seem to think that they can get away with blitzing through our heritage. There are so many planning applications being given the go ahead, such as development too close to peoples property where there have been no site visits from the planners to see what is going on. Because I have been asked again if I can copy the picture of Blackcap from 1938 and it is as I have said delicate, I think I may have to get in touch with the Times to see if they have an archive so that I can have a copy to keep for future generations. I think that Ian Strickland would probably turn in his grave to see some of the developments around our district that he loved so much.
EARLY VISITORS: I am so used to seeing a lot of pheasants in my garden which have been joined by five guinea fowl, which belong to my son, but I feed them every day when they come down from roosting in the trees overlooking my patio pond. They are very good watch dogs as they always make a loud noise if they hear someone in the bridleway or anyone coming to the door. Last week I was surprised to see some very early visitors from last year. Instead of one pair of mallard ducks there were three pairs who were not too pleased to see pheasants and guinea fowl at the feeding place. I hope that they will return later.
STILL DANCING: With all the inclement weather: snow, wind and rain the patch of early daffodils that have been in bloom since early December are looking lovely again, in spite of being weighed down by snow and battered by rain and wind. Like my favourite poem I can now say that ‘and now my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils’.
DAIRY FARMERS: Militant vegans are accused of exploiting grey areas in the law, as a website has published a map showing the locations of thousands of dairy farms, with advice on what to do if caught trespassing.