Alfriston

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MONTH OF FLOWERS AND SHAMROCKS: It is St Patrick’s feast day on March 17, I thought I should find out more about the patron saint of Ireland so hit google and spoke to a few Irish chums about what this national day means to them other than feasting and Guinness (not that there is anything wrong with that). I now understand he embodies the month of March with his fighting spirit, innovation and passionate approach to bringing awareness to the Christian faith despite some very very tough odds. The shamrock itself as a plant is a doggedly determined survivor enduring droughts, poor soil and grazing stock to survive and indeed thrive. The perfect partnership.

CELEBRATE THE CRAIC: The Star Inn invite you to gather family and friends for the craic and head on down for Guinness and Jamesons promotions on St Patrick’s Day itself.

PLANT A FLOWER DAY: (That’s a world day) takes place on March 12. Who doesn’t love flowers? We grow them, buy them, wear them and generally surround ourselves with their appearance and fragrance. Growing your own can make you smile and I know the shepherd will be once again tending our plot this weekend in support.

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Steven Moore owner of Rapkyns Nursery will once again be visiting the Cuckmere Valley Horticultural Society on April 13 from 6pm AWMH with plants for sale. The speaker on this occasion will be Dr Sarah McKenzie on the subject of Ancient Woodland. To join this fabulous group and learn more about the woodland we are surrounded by costs just £5 per year.

COUNTRYFILE: ‘Dithering blaze of flowers and butterflies and apples’ said Vanessa Bell. Charleston was portrayed in all its beauty on BBC Countryfile on Sunday, amongst a number of other wonderful South Down stories (still available on catch up if you have missed it). John Craven focused on the artwork but Vanessa was also a garden maker and one garden that is worth a visit is The Clergy House, the garden is springing to life and you can take a little piece of it home with you as many plants are for sale.

SOIL CYCLE: I had a real ‘I want’ moment this week while thinking about the landscape around us and especially the native species on the South Downs, I wandered into Alfriston Arts and found work by Adele Scantlebury titled soil cycle, so detailed and gorgeous and it could be yours because apparently I am not allowed to wander randomly into the village shops any more.

GEOLOGY AND ARCHITECTURE: The geology of Sussex has dictated the styles of building around us from Wealden sandstone to coastal communities. Dr Geoffrey Mead will give the first Alfriston and Cuckmere Valley Historical Society talk of 2017. Entitled Hearth and Home: Sussex building materials, Dr Mead will look at the sources of Sussex building materials and their impact on building styles. Thursday March 16, AWMH 7.30pm. Admission Free for members, non members £5. All welcome.

ARCHITECTURE TO ARCHAEOLOGY: Cultures change and evolve and what was once great architecture eventually becomes archaeology. Lent talks for 2017 are themed on Archaeology and the bible. Talk 2 takes place on March 15 at Alciston and Selmeston Village Hall and will start at 7pm with a simple meal. The subject for this talk is Jericho, David and Solomon and The Prophets. Contact lindahallums@hotmail.co.uk to express your interest. There is no charge but donations are gratefully received as always.

CRAFTY: Stanton Collins one time owner of what is now the Smugglers Inn may have had something to say about a gathering of people enjoying a convivial evening of sewing, knitting, quilting and playing with fabric. The first gathering was a great success and so pack up your craft, whatever it is, and on Sunday March 19 join this informal get together sponsored by Much Ado and The Smugglers Inn. 5.30pm onwards. Future gatherings will happen on the third Thursday of the month. They do have an exceptional shelf of rum for the pirates amongst you.

VITA SACKVILLE-WEST: Was decidedly not a Bloomsbury despite being the Hogarth Press’ top author, terming them the Gloomsbury Group. She and Harold Nicolson did however collect books creating a fantastic library, a treasure trove for scholars and a headache for conservators. John Finch who works with NT book conservators at Sissinghurst will be discussing the team’s delicate, challenging work at an informal talk at Much Ado on Sunday March 19 from 3pm. Tickets cost just £5, light refreshments will be served and everyone attending will be offered 10 percent discount on Much Ado purchases that day. Space is limited so secure your place in advance by stopping by or calling 01323 871222.

FAMILY SUPPORT: This Sunday at the 11am service in St Andrews the Director of Family Support Work, Martin Auton will talk about their work and how the village food collections and their work within the diocese help families. Afterwards in AWMH from 12.30pm there will be a superb lunch costing just £8 pp and £5 for children. Book your lunch with Sherry 870478.

MUSICAL DATES: Andy and Mac plus guests will be at The Star for their popular folk night on March 14. There is an open mic night at Smugglers on Thursday March 16. Looking ahead Alfriston Summer Music dates are July 18 to 23; to obtain your season tickets go to http://www.alfristonsummermusic.co.uk/

WHATS ON: There are many ways to find out what is on in the village including the random musings here. The village website last year had over 100,000 visitors and it is that time of year again for the preparation of the paper brochure which will contain the usual maps, business details and contact numbers but most useful village dates for the diary. The brochure goes far and wide and this year 30,000 copies will be printed in time for Easter. If you are looking to advertise or renew contact mark.exley@alfriston-village.co.uk or visit the website www.alfriston-village.co.uk

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: ‘Oh do you know the downland where the sward is short and sweet, where the gorse is like a golden flame, where fairies you may meet? You may see them dancing on their ‘rings’ or swinging from a spray of bramblebush, If you go there at the purple close o day’. As quoted by a certain shepherd but originally written by Arthur Beckett in The Spirit of The Downs.

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