Piddinghoe

FRESH AND CLEAN: It is a joy to see the village in such good shape at the moment. There is a just-brushed feeling on the ground and a freshness in the air despite the recent stifling heat and humidity. There are only about 260 of us here and we don’t have many facilities. Let’s face it, we are never going to win one of those trendy Village of the Year awards or attract the attention of Penelope Keith (aka Margot of The Good Life or Audrey of To The Manor Born) on one of her summer season engagements. And yet something seems to come over Pidd at this time of year which makes it a wonderful place to be. It all started, it seems, when the council gave us our first grass-cut of the year and it seemed to inspire residents to examine more closely the appearance of their own patches of properties and surroundings. Two huge trees have been cut down from front gardens in one the closes, not before time, and the paths underneath them appear to have been power-swept. The village’s two building-sites have also been hidden from view by extra protection this week and the pathways behind The Hoe and on the riverbanks have been beautifully cleared. We should try to make the very most of it while it lasts.

NOT FERRY GOOD NEWS: Is the fact that the sea-crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe has been a no-go this week thanks to the ramp, which loads and unloads the cars at the Newhaven end, going wonky. Several people in the village love their trips over to La Belle France where some of them even have property but a few plans have been scuppered recently and we can only hope the service is back in action by the time they read this. The last time your correspondent attempted the trip, the bus which takes foot-passengers down to the dock wouldn’t start and the old Shanks’s Pony had to be summoned at about 7am. This latest stoppage is more serious, of course, and we must. believe it is just unlucky because nothing ever seems to go wrong on the other side. It seems that big French money is keeping the service alive and that is heartening thought but after Brexit several people will be wondering what happens.

PIP AND DON: Are apparently still happy and enjoying life in their respective care-homes in Eastbourne and Alfriston but we certainly do still miss them so much in the village. It seems desperately sad that two excellent people like this have succumbed to debilitating illnesses when they still would have so much to give and so much in front of them to enjoy.

THANKS: Are due to whoever came to remove the old white-ish duvet that was unceremoniously dumped by a dreaded fly-tipper at the south triangle entrance to the village a week or so ago. We are told that this sort of thing is a growing menace and costing the authorities throughout the country a considerable fortune to combat. To be fair, it has not been so bad lately in this locality because it seemed to happen on a regular basis, with old fridges, cupboards and all sorts littering our hedges. It was in the Sussex Express last week how one miscreant was fined £400 for dumping a disused mattress in another part of the county. He was spotted by a passer-by who took the registration of the culprit’s van and reported him to the police. What is so amazing when it happens here is that there is a huge refuse collection facility within one mile.

QUIET WEEKS: Can be expected in the village for a while now with people going on holiday and no Piddinghoe Parish Council meeting planned until Tuesday August 7. After that, though, we can expect a hive of activity with various projects coming to the boil and our four-strong parish council representatives will no doubt find much to engage them. There really should be five of them to share the load and, in truth, they are looking for an addition. How good it would be to see perhaps a relative newcomer to the village get stuck in and take up the cudgels. There is so much good to be done.

CHURCH SERVICES: Are on the second Sunday (8am) and fourth Sundays (9.30am) of the month and it’s for sure that Reverends Tim and Mary feel that they are at least pulling in a few more to the congregations. Full details on the St John’s Church and Village centre noticeboards.

PILATES: Most Saturday mornings in the the village hall with Rebecca’s three sessions of one hour each beginning 8.15am.

INDOOR SPORT: This is not watching the World Cup or Wimbledon on TV but actually table tennis, darts, chess, draughts and cards all available in the village hall free of charge every Wednesday evening from 7.30pm. Villagers can bring friends.

ART AND KNITTING: Jill and her ladies will welcome those of similar bent between 2pm and 4pm in the village hall where tea and biscuits (and sometimes cake) are also available. Small donation expected.

YOGA: With Tim from 7.30pm in the village hall on Thursdays.

NEXT WEEK: Perhaps some tales from the Himalayas following the return of James the Cycling Adventurer.