Parish Pump Lewes - February 1, 2013


QUIZ NIGHT: Barcombe Tennis Club is holding a Quiz Night at the village hall tomorrow, Saturday, at 7pm. Tickets costing £10 (to include food) are now on sale in Barcombe Village Stores. There will also be a licensed bar. All welcome.

THE VILLAGE HALL have a gathering of Clubs and Societies tomorrow, Saturday, with an explanation of their activities. Come at 10am to see the vast variety of gatherings. See last week’s pump for some of the clubs etc. Refreshments will be available, coffee tea and bites.

SNOOKER: Monday, January 28, away to Uckfield A: James Stewart 67 (35) Steve Roberts 25, Jack Schaufler 27 Sam Mitchell 56, Tony Deakin 54 Adam Dadswell 38, Derek Stewart 9 Andy Carn 52, Harry Stewart 32 Dave Edwards 54. Club lost 2-3.


WHISKY BEATS are at the Five Bells this evening, Friday, starting at 8.30pm. The Whiskey Beats are an authentic sounding blues band, playing both original, contemporary blues songs along with an infectious mix of blues classics.

JUMBLE SALE in the village hall tomorrow, Saturday, at 11am and donations of jumble would still be much appreciated. Please take jumble to the hall on the morning or call 01825 723727 for collection. The sale is to support Chailey and Newick Rainbows and Brownies fundraising for their young leaders, Cassie and Catherine, who have been selected to go on Girlguiding London and South East Region service trips this year. Please support the Rainbows and Brownies and attend the sale, from what I’ve heard there’s lots of bric-a-brac so you’re sure to find a bargain.

FIND OUT MORE days are the first Sunday of every month from February to November at the Bluebell Railway. If you have ever wondered how to become a volunteer at the Railway, what it entails and who to contact then this is for you. Meeting time is 10.30am, at the classroom at Sheffield Park Station, and the day should end around 4.20pm. For those who are over 16 to help narrow your choice of departments you can receive a volunteer recruitment pack and/or join one of the find out more tours. Book your place on a tour by contacting the General Office on 01825 720800 or e-mail the Volunteer Recruitment leader Clive Soper. Clive can also answer any queries you might have.

CHURCH SERVICES: St Peter’s Church services on Sunday are Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion at 8am and All Age Family Service at 10am. After this service there will be a Traidcraft stall. Please support this stall if you can as this project fights poverty through trade, helping people in developing countries to transform their lives. The Revd John Maskell will also be in church on Saturday from 8.30am to 9.30am and everyone is invited to join him in prayers. Transport can be arranged by calling Peter Martin on 01825 722680 or Teresa Wenban on 01825722586. A reminder that photographs depicting the church, this month, need to be submitted to by Tuesday for the photographic competition. Free Church services on Sunday are at 10.30am and 6.15pm with Jane Grist. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served after the service. Also on Wednesdays at 10am there is a prayer meeting and Thursdays at 7.30pm bible study and prayer.

PARISH COUNCIL: The Planning and Environs Committee meet at the Reading Room on Tuesday at 7.30pm. Members of the public may attend and will be given an opportunity to make representations if they so wish.

THE WI meet on Tuesday at 7.45pm in the village hall when the speaker will be Dr John Kay. His talk is entitled On the Parish and will look at a time when there was little help for the poor in the community, with the workhouse as a last resort. Prospective members and guests are always welcome. For more information call Margaret Smith on 01825 723519.

LOTUS Cortina Club meet at the Five Bells on Thursday. More details are available on 0182572 2259.

RACE NIGHT on Saturday February 16 at Newick Village Hall starting at 7pm. This is being organised by Chailey and Newick Colts Football Club and tickets can be obtained from Steve Allan, the Under 13 team manager, on 07710 388069 or at They cost just £1 per person which includes a free bet. You can also sponsor a race for £20, buy (and name) a horse for £5 at odds of 3:1 and if the horse wins then you win £15 and/or buy a jockey for £3 at odds of 3:1 and if the jockey wins then you win £9. In addition there will be a licensed bar.

cooksbridge, offham & hamsey

LAMBS: We have had our first lambs and so far all seems to be okay, but it is still an anxious time when reading about the dreadful virus that is still affecting so many sheep farmers around the country. It was heartbreaking for us last year when we lost so many lambs and ewes. If the reports are correct that ewes that produced deformed lambs last year may possibly be immune this year then we can only hope and pray that they are right.

BACK TO NORMAL: After the winter wonderland scenes here under the Downs where we get snowed in, it is quite strange sitting here writing the column this morning and looking out at green grass again, and the not so hungry birds all swarming around the bird feeders. Hauling out buckets of water is not the easiest of tasks on my patio following a heavy snowfall and very hard frosts as it does become like a skating rink. Although the landscape does look very beautiful when it is covered in snow under the Downs it is a relief when it thaws. Although we have an excellent postal service I, along with several other residents, did not get any post for over a week and I am still waiting for letters that were posted on January 11 which have not arrived. In spite of the severe frosts and heavy snow my first daffodils, which have been in bloom since the end of December, are now standing proud again to cheer up any dark days, and I was surprised to see the foliage on the honeysuckle has appeared as has some of the flowering currants which is very early.

TODDLER TUNES has resumed following the Christmas break and takes place every Thursday from 10am to 11am in St Peter’s Church Hall. Further details call Judith on 01273 474356.

ADVANCE NOTICE: Ash Wednesday is on February 13. There will be a special service in St Peter’s Church at 11am. This will be followed by a lunch in the church hall at noon. Please let Judith know on 01273 474356 if you would like to attend in order to know numbers for catering in plenty of time as these lunches are very popular.

SKITTLES: Also very popular is the skittles evening arranged by Judith. This will be on Friday March 1 at the Chalk Pit Inn. Please let Judith know if you would like to be in on of the teams on 01273 474356. More details later.

ROBINS: Having had several cards with the cheerful little bird the Robin, it was good to read that it is one of the few feathered creatures not to have been adversely affected by the cold, wet 2012 breeding season, which was the worst on record for many species. Robins, along with blackbirds and song thrushes, have thrived on the mass of worms and molluscs which have been slithering around the gardens in last year’s soggy conditions. Robin numbers had been declining after several cold winters. It will depend on the weather conditions over the next few months whether it will help to slow the decline. I was surprised to read that as even during the bitterly cold spell I have seen more robins than usual around the feeders. A visitor who had been for a walk on the Downs recently was very excited to see a lovely barn owl when he came back down the bridleway and passed the old cart shed.

BLACK CAT: Someone may have lost quite a large black cat as I keep seeing it around here and have had to chase it away from the bird feeders. It keeps appearing in the old orchard and at the bottom of the drive and last week I saw it near the farmyard eating something. It will have a nasty shock if the geese confront it. If someone has lost a cat get in touch and we will try and catch it.


SATURDAY saw the Arsenal Football Team coming to play at the Amex Stadium, and I would have liked to have known what their supporters or even the team members thought of the stadium and the surrounding fields covered in snow. Travelling down from London, I hope they appreciated the beauty of the setting. I was walking up the lane when one of the goals was scored, and the sound of the cheers always makes me smile.

SNOW: Now the snow has gone, and yes, it did look very picturesque but after a while it becomes irksome. I know one resident at Mary Farm was trapped there for seven days, it was impossible for her to get out with an ordinary car. I remember when we first moved to Falmer, the farmers were paid to clear the snow off the road in the village, but that was stopped over 10 years ago. The 15 year old lab enjoyed it though, she remembers her youth running and throwing herself in the snow to slide, these days she can’t quite get the speed, but she still managed to slide and students who saw her thought she was ‘real cool’.

CONCERT: I am really looking forward to the concert tomorrow, Saturday, when the Falmer Court Musicians will be presenting an exciting programme at St Laurence Church at 5.30pm.


FIRLE CC: Preparations for the season have started early with nets at the County Ground on Wednesday evenings now taking place. However, we are looking to fill the role of club secretary and the combined role of fixture secretary/midweek and Sunday captain. The club also wishes to start up its junior section again in 2013, and is looking for volunteers to help our local aspiring cricketers. If you or anyone you know fancies any of these roles, please drop us a line These are pivotal roles at the heart of a club with a long history, but looking to grow.

VILLAGE HALL: FVHPFC AGM November Chairman’s Report 2012: It is hard to believe that 18 months ago,when we had our last AGM, work on the hall refurbishment had not begun. It was with some bravery that volunteers started to take down the old wall at the back of the property, despite some doubting thomases, the time for talking was done. To be sure, the process from then to now has not been easy, legal issues, VAT issues, who actually owned the land, sale of the plot at the back to Charlie Bridge, cash flow, applying for more funding from LEEDA and The Henry Smith Trust, negotiating how a sizeable donation from the Gage family would be most effective, the relationship with the parish council, the list is endless. It is only the dedication and voluntary spirit of those involved that has kept this project on track, you know who you are, thank you very much. So far I have not even mentioned any building work. A team of volunteers cleared the back wall and demolished the tin sheds. The Firle Estate team removed the roof with Polegate roofing, and demolished the chimney, the ground was dug away at the back for the new build, leaving the site ready for Martletts Builders. Worries about the street being blocked were largely unfounded. The build seemed to go remarkably quickly and we thought we would be open for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, but the parquet flooring failed to arrive and the decorating took a lot longer to finish than expected, also being in such a small village everyone was involved elsewhere, so reluctantly the opening was put off. Then it started to rain. Having had one of the driest winter and springs on record, this summer has been one of the wettest and most of that rain seemed to be coming into the hall, eventually it was found that the overflow from Charlie Bridges pond was blocked and the Victorian brick drain was leaking, Martletts put a pit with an overflow in place, which seems to be working. There has been an awful lot of work going on inside the hall for some time. John Parnell and his team stripped out the old decorating, others have scrubbed windows, painted, individually planed each flooring block, built and re-built the stage, painted the walls and ceiling again and again. I must mention Steve Ware who I think is intending to move in when he has finished. Thank you. The electrics are a work in progress by Richard assisted by Matt. So you can see much has been done, mainly pushed on by our project leader Ian, but egged on by Steve. While on the subject of thanking people, mention must be made of Penny, Mary and Damien who have done so much unseen work behind the scenes and of course all those who have given up their time over the last 18 months, you know who you are. Thank you. There is still much to do, but we are getting there. (Andrew Barr, Chairman).


DISCO FOR ALL: Come and enjoy a swinging Disco to be held in Kingston Parish Hall on Saturday, February 9, from 7.30pm. Dancing to all types of music with Jaycee, whatever you want from the Sixties to Gangnam Style. Tickets at £10 each include fish and chips and desserts at an interval. Cash bar open all evening with Harvey’s beer, wine by the glass or bottle and soft drinks. Everybody from in or outside Kingston very welcome to this lively evening. Hurry to get your tickets from Brenda Neller (472720) or Brian Simmons (474303). Net proceeds to Kingston Church.


SOUTH MALLING SCHOOL: At the beginning of this week, all classes were involved in the Big Schools Bird Watch organised by the RSPB. They had prepared for it by making bird feeders and hanging them outside their classrooms. Then, binoculars at the ready, each class carried out a survey of all the birds who visited the school grounds outside their classroom during one hour. The results from each class will be submitted to the RSPB. The children have already become very good at identifying different birds and they enjoyed taking part in the Bird Watch and contributing to this very important national project. Congratulations to the swimming team for the great enthusiasm and enjoyment they demonstrated in the schools Swimming Gala at the Leisure Centre last week and also because, once again, they were complimented on their exemplary behaviour. The school was delighted and very grateful to receive funding and support from the Malling Matters project run by Lewes FC. The project was launched by Darren Ford (Education Officer for Lewes FC) at an assembly on Monday. From this week all the football clubs run by Lewes FC at the school will now cost only £1 per session. In addition, the Year 5 children are all going to receive Sports Leader training this term. Not only will this be a valuable training in itself, it will also enable them to support the younger children with sports activities during the lunchtime break. On completion of their training, Year 5 children will get the opportunity to represent the school as School of the Week at a Lewes FC match. There is also going to be a reduced price Soccer School for Malling children in the February half-term. More details to follow. Check out the school website New this week are reviews of the Young Voices concert and Be week, information about the Big Schools Bird Watch and information for parents from last week’s workshop on the new handwriting scheme and the school’s approach to teaching spelling. The head teacher wants to put on record a huge thank you to all the staff at the school for making it possible to stay open throughout the recent snowy weather. It was a real team effort.

COMMUNITY CENTRE: Work has now started on refurbishing and developing what used to be the Bridge View Social Club part of the building, to create a Children’s and Family Support Centre for local families. East Sussex County Council are taking the lead in providing this much needed facility. Their investment in the Community Centre is part of the joint plan for its development already mentioned in these columns, in partnership with Lewes Town Council and the Management Committee. The committee is preparing the next stage of refurbishment for the rest of building, this time working on the main hall, using funding donated by Sussex Police. Anyone who can help the committee by joining the refurbishment team or helping to raise funds will be very welcome. Contact names are available on the

PARISH CHURCH: The Service on Sunday is the monthly Family Service which is extra child-friendly in this very child-friendly church. All are welcome. The service begins at 9.30am and lasts about an hour including refreshments.

mobile library

THE LIBRARY will be visiting the following areas this week. Tuesday: Village Hall, Ditchling 10.35am to 10.55am; Dumbrell’s Court, Ditchling 11.15am to 11.45am; The Fountain car park, Plumpton 12.10pm to 12.45pm; Old School lay-by, Plumpton 12.50pm to 1.20pm; Grantham Close, Chailey 2.25pm to 2.50pm; Little Mead, Cooksbridge 3pm to 3.30pm; Delves House, Delves Close, Ringmer 3.50pm to 4.20pm. Thursday: Opposite the Post Office, Firle 9.15am to 10am; Weald View, Barcombe 10.45am to 11.15am; Mill Lane, Chailey 11.45am to 12.05pm; Markstakes Corner, Chailey 12.15pm to 12.40pm; South Rough, Newick 1.50pm to 2.20pm; Oldaker, Newick 2.25pm to 2.55pm.


MY BLOG: We had a fantastic time in New York and Vegas. With so much to see and do in both places we came home quite exhausted. We visited Ground Zero memorial for the people who lost their lives on 9/11 which was quite moving. We met some lovely people but New Yorkers in general need to learn some manners.

MORE DISCOVERIES: It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser; I wish the buck stopped here, I sure could use a few; Kids in the back seat cause accidents and accidents in the back seat cause kids; It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere; I’m retired, go round me.

NEVILL SHARES: I went to see how this new group was doing on Sunday and was pleasantly surprised how well attended it was. I spoke to Sarah who said Nevill was like a small village, and consequently we could pool our resources and help one another. For instance, if someone has a hedge trimmer they could maybe lend it out or offer to cut someone’s hedge for them or a small group of like mind people could get together to help do some gardening for someone who is sick. Still in the planning stages but a lot of organising needs to be done. Very encouraging.

SAVE ST MARY’S: I went to the Nevill residents meeting before we went on holiday. There was an excellent presentation on what is achieved in this wonderful community organisation. For some reason known only to themselves, the council are thinking of destroying it to build 14 houses. When this government came to power it talked about the big society of everyone working together to build a strong community spirit. This is exactly what St Mary’s have been doing for 50 odd years. Please sign the petition in the Nevill shop,and show your support and let’s hope we can save St Mary’s in the same way as the Railway Cafe was saved.

GARDENING CLUB: St Mary’s Gardening Club’s next meeting will be at 7.45pm on Monday when the speaker will be Kevin Gordon. His talk, entitled The Cuckmere River, promises to be a lively one with pirates and smugglers as well as the river itself. Do join us at St Mary’s Social Centre.

CHRIST CHURCH: Today, Friday, Christ Church Tots has a cake sale with proceeds going to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit this will be between 9.30am and 11.30am. On Sunday worship at 10.30am will be led by Stuart Dew and evening worship at 6.30pm will be led by Dr Tony Law. Next Friday after Tots there will be our monthly Friendship Lunch between noon and 1.15pm. Do drop in and see us for lunch, just £2 for a ploughman’s lunch.


THE COUNTRY MARKET will be open from 10 till 11am today, Friday, in the village hall. There is a good selection of winter vegetables and cakes plus savoury meals. You can also enjoy coffee and a chat.

RUGBY: There are no rugby fixtures for Newick this weekend as the Six National Championship commence on Saturday with Wales v Ireland and England v Scotland. On Sunday Italy V France. What a great weekend to look forward to. hopefully I will be watching all the games.

SUNDAY SERVICES at St Mary’s are 10.30am Holy Communion and at 10.30am Family Service. Everyone welcome. If you should require a lift to church, please book in advance by telephoning 01825 722582.

THANK YOU to the East Sussex Highways gritter lorry drivers for the splendid job they did keeping the main road clear during the snow. I would also like to say a big thank you to the two gentlemen who gritted The Rough so that vehicles could continue to go both up and down this treacherous road. They gritted with their wheel barrow and bucket and did a great job. If this also happened in other areas of Newick, thank you to all that helped.

REPORTS: If you need a report to go in the Newick Village Pump in the Mid-Sussex Times and the Sussex Express, will you make sure that the details are with me by 5pm on Thursdays, a week before the paper is published. Thank you.


FEAST OF MUSIC: Tomorrow (Saturday) in the village hall be prepared for a fantastic display of local musical talent at Plumptonfest 2013. There will be 19 different acts to entertain you with classical music, folk, rock, pop, jazz and even a three-piece ukulele band. Just forget Glastonbury and enjoy a feast of music with a roof over your heads and loos that flush. There will be a cash bar and you are welcome to take along your own nibbles and snacks. Tickets at £6 are available from the village shop and, if you are lucky, there may be a couple available at the door, but my advice is, judging by past similar events, don’t risk it and hurry on down to the shop today. Doors open at 7pm for a prompt 7.30pm start and it all finishes at the bewitching hour of midnight. Steve Hayman will be there on his zimmer, but do humour the old chap and give him some applause.

SPOKE TOO SOON: Following 22mm of overnight rain last weekend, racing at Plumpton had to be abandoned on Monday. Just as I had said how seldom racing was cancelled at the course nowadays. What a disappointment after all that has been done at the course to prevent what were once frequent cancellations. The drainage works have well and truly paid off and the entire course can now be covered to guard against heavy frosts. Nature always seems to have the last say and mere mortals are no match for it.

POLICE PRESENCE: Plumpton Panto performances last week meant that we had two coppers permanently stationed in the village all week, something usually unheard of. However, I do not think that Carol Symes and Sarah Purdy (Nick and Nab) were a patch on the real thing, although they did make some arrests, but one of those was wrongful and they enlisted a highwayman as a special constable. I do not think that your job is threatened PCSO Steve.

FRESH AIR GALORE: Do you fancy an exhilarating seaside walk? If so, meet up with the Footpath Society at Brighton Marina car park (TQ337 034) on Sunday at 2pm for a stroll along the seafront to Rottingdean and then back again along the clifftop. Total distance about five miles. That should blow away the cobwebs. If you need to know more ring 01825 722649, If that isn’t enough, there will be another walk on Wednesday, this time starting at Wivelsfield church at 10.15am. Then it will be off on a four to five mile jaunt through Wilderness Wood and Slugwash Lane, taking lunch at the Fox and Hounds and then a final mile back to the church. More detail on 01273 890450. You do not have to be a member of the society to join in as they are a very friendly bunch and welcome newcomers.

POTHOLES GALORE: If you are driving back to Plumpton from Wivelsfield Green along South Road, do beware on the bend as you approach Lambourn Farm as there are some very nasty potholes at the roadside again. The Highways Authority has been alerted. There are some hazardous stretches along that road. Either it is menacing, oversized kerbstones or deep potholes where the verge is undefined. I gather those massive kerbstones continue to take their toll on vehicles. ESCC must have bought a job lot as surely no-one would wantonly have installed them.

JUMBLE ALERT: Get in training for the village hall management committee’s sale next Saturday (February 9). Scrum down will be at 2pm and there will, of course, be refreshments, cakes, tombola and other diversions for you after the thrill of the chase. Donations of jumble will be gratefully received on the morning of the sale. A great opportunity to have a clear out after Christmas as well as a chance to snap up some great bargains. The sewer contractors have been alerted and they said they would dismantle their temporary traffic lights to let the traffic flow.

CASH FOR HOSPICE: The Station Partnership Scheme, part of the Village Action Plan, has so far donated £267 to St Peter and St James Hospice thanks to the library facility in operation at the station. If you have any unwanted books please leave them at the railway station so that those bored commuters can have something to occupy their minds during their travels. It really is a great recycling exercise that cuts down on the eternal wastage of modern day living. Rail travellers buy the books at a very modest price, read them and often hand them back for further use and so it goes around and raises cash for hospice care, a commodity very much in demand but funded largely through the voluntary sector. Every little helps and all such seemingly minor efforts add up to larger sums. It makes meaningful sense.


FOOTBALL CLUB: Tomorrow, Saturday, the first team are away to near neighbours Hailsham FC in an SCFL Div One league fixture. Kick off at The Beaconsfield is 3pm. On Tuesday they are away in the league again, this time at Sidley FC with a 7.45pm kick off. The second team are at home on Saturday when they entertain LIttlehampton in the Reserve Section premier league and kick off at The Caburn is 3pm.

FAMILY QUIZ: A reminder of this event which is being organised by Ringmer Primary Home School Association tomorrow evening, Saturday, at the school from 6.15pm to 8.15pms Please either contact the school on 812343 or Angela on 813860 for information or tickets.

EXTRAORDINARY Annual General Meeting being held by Ringmer Twinning Association in the St Mary’s Room of the village hall on Tuesday, commencing at 7pm. Advance notice that this association will be holding their first fundraising event of the year which is a coffee morning/bring and buy sale in the village hall on Saturday, February 16, from 9.30am to 11.30am. Please do try to support this event.

EVENING WI: At its meeting on Tuesday at 7.30pm in the village hall Richard Ratcliffe’s talk is entitled Musicals, Madness and Mayhem. New members welcome.

FLOWER CLUB: On Wednesday at 2pm in the village hall Stephanie Laing will give a demonstration entitled Turning the Table. Visitors (£4) and new members welcome.

ACOUSTIC MOODS: Probably the last Acoustic Moods to be organised by Loft and Barbara Longhurst is at the village hall on Saturday, February 9, with the proceeds going to Breast Cancer Care. Over the last few years Loft and Barbara have raised a great deal of money for various charities with the Acoustic Moods which have proved so very popular.

TABLE TOP SALE at Ringmer Community College and Sixth Form on Saturday, February 16, between 10am and noon. If you would like to book a table or would like further information please contact Ruth Whitlock on 01273 812220 ext 253 during school hours, or e-mail Table top pitches are available at £5 if pre-booked, so don’t leave it too long if you wish to have one as the college are already taking bookings. Set up is from 9am but the college regrets that they cannot accept individual food stalls. Refreshments will be available and free parking on site.

DRAMATIC SOCIETY: The society’s spring production will be Strictly Murder by Brian Clemens which will be directed by Jayne Marshall-Roelich and will be performed in the village hall on the evenings of Wednesday to Saturday, March 20 to 23, commencing at 7.45pm each evening. It is 1939, where an English couple are living in idyllic isolation in a rustic cottage in Provence. The peace is about to be shattered, and not by the coming war. Tickets now available at £8 in one of three ways: Online with a debit or credit card; by phoning Denis Drinan on 07753 317373; or by e-mail Please ensure you clarify which night and which seated area (front six rows or raised back six rows). Tickets will also be available from Middletons later this month.

rodmell & southease

LIFE IS MANIC at the moment, as I’m clearing an office of around 37 years, and making it into a downstairs bedroom so Mike can come home from hospital. I would advise anyone who does not have a regular clear out to do so, and not leave it to friends and family, because it is an awful thing to have to do especially when you are on a time limit. Without all the help from wonderful friends I think I would have ended up in Never, Never Land, if you get my meaning.

FRIENDS and my lovely god-daughter Sharon have been keeping an eye on me, and making sure I had some breaks, one being a great night out at Ringmer on Saturday night to a Ploughman’s Supper and entertainment by the wonderful singers of Lewes Operatic Society, organised by Lewes Rotary Club.

RODMELL PANTO: The other being The Great Rodmell Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk. It was a wonderful Panto and was enjoyed immensely by the audience. Richard Roberts (with hair) played his part with gusto, David Stearman, the new Dame, was great and obviously enjoyed the part. There were gripes from the Old Dame, Paul Mellor, who was having a break this year apart from writing and directing. I understand from wife Liz that stress was of a much lower factor in their household this year. Paul’s daughter Libby was Mandy and obviously loved her part especially the singing, as did Spencer Prosser who played Jack Strapp (Dames older son) he has a great voice and stage presence. Lindy Smart played the Dowager Countess Abergavenny (is it Downton Abby next Lindy?) Jo Wettern was made for playing the part of the Dowager’s headstrong and beautiful daughter. Georgina Prosser was Fannie, the village blacksmith in leather apron and short shorts. If she was our blacksmith it would be a very popular venue for the male riders and Steve would retire on the profits. Scott Sherwood, the massive muscle bound Aussie, sent women’s temperatures rising as Bernard Birdbrain (the giant’s dim henchman). Calm down girls he’s taken, and you didn’t stand a chance! He’s a great character and played the audience well. Richard Sellick (the giant’s slimy henchman) obviously enjoyed playing an out-of-character part as he’s part of a lovely family, and daughter Rowan is following in dad’s thespian footsteps and has beauty as well. I loved the harp played by a cool Wendy Shaw who also happens to be very glamorous. Jane Finch (Nurse Tilly Lint) buxom and bold, whose going to be ill next. Guy Smart who is actually growing at an amazing rate at last, played the Giant. At long last I can say that my admiration went to Jacob Prosser and Henry Last who played Buttercup the Cow. I don’t know which one was the back end, but to be bent over in a hot costume with your face near someones backside for quite some time takes courage. Well done lads. Now to thank all those behind the scenes without whom this panto would never have happened. Set, design and production Celia Berridge, Eleanor Le Patourel, Claire Young; music, uncle Andy Stewart and Tim Rabjohns; lighting Martin Burnaby Davies; wardrobe Kim Mercer and Pat Alcorn; front of house Liz Mellor, Fiona Roberts; raffle organiser Sarah Last; raffle administrator Lesley Prosser (what, no Ian Bell); stage crew, members of the cast. PA to the director Sarah Jay; cast hospitality Pauline Burnaby Davies; the bar The Abergavenny Arms, our local pub. Jack and The Beanstalk was sponsored by Hilton, Sharp & Clarke. Hopefully I’ve included everyone and my comments will be appreciated in the right sense.

BIRDWATCH: I’m sure a lot of readers have taken part in the Big Garden Birdwatch run by the RSPB and the world’s biggest wildlife survey. I did my hour and have sent it off. There is a lack of wrens and starlings in my garden this year. In fact I can’t remember when I saw a starling and they used to be everywhere at one time. Sadly a pheasant hit by a car going to Newhaven got clobbered by my car as well, and the car behind yesterday. I hate hitting wildlife but pheasants in the Piddinghoe area seem to be extremely stupid and just run out in front of you, probably to escape the shooting parties. The C7 road is littered with bodies of pheasants, and magpies are doing very well with road kill.

QUIZ NIGHT: There is a Quiz Night on Saturday February 23, 7.30pm in the village hall. Tickets from David Stearman 471181 and Susan Brickell 858628.

PLANT SALE: The plant sale at Southease is fixed for Monday May 6.