Alfriston news
Alfriston news

AFTER THE MADNESS: ‘There is no great genius without some touch of madness’ Aristotle, there was a lot of madness in January in the village culminating in a touch of genius with the brilliantly produced and performed Once Upon a Time Panto. Thanks go to all who took part or supported and brought a lot of laughter to dull January days raising a lovely amount of money from the raffle for SUDEP, Sudden Death from Epilepsy. Now to February, generally the time for calm reflection and clear thinking. Brexit hasn’t affected the wildlife or plants and our gardens and downs are showing green shoots so perhaps all politicians should go for a nice walk on the South Downs. Even the mobile signal free spots (most of the village) can be a blessing sometimes.

EXPLORING HOMER: For those in the village still holding out for a hero, Much Ado books invite you to their barn, Thursday February 23, 7.30pm where David Soulsby will introduce the two epic poems of Homer. Tickets cost £10 including a glass of specially chosen Greek wine. There are limited spaces available. Purchase your ticket in advance at Much Ado. Or reserve a place by calling the shop on 01323 871222 or popping in after they reopen this weekend. This event will raise funds for Alfriston Village School.

QUIZZICAL TIMES: A great way to finish of a walk at this time of year is with a pint and hearty stew. At The Sussex Ox, Monday from 8pm, you can test your little grey cells as well. Teams of up to six, £1 entry with beef stew and a pint costing £9.95. Booking is essential. Call on 01323 870840 to secure your teams place. Look out also for regular quiz nights held at The Smugglers and The Plough & Harrow.

SMELLING THE COFFEE: Agatha Christie said that ‘Coffee in England always tastes like a chemistry experiment’. As a coffee lover I am delighted that this is not the case in our village. Exciting blends of coffee can be found in all the local watering holes, hotels, village tea shops and village store. Rathfinny Gun Room sells my personal favourite to go, you can even get a decent coffee in St Andrews. I feel my own coffee experiment coming on in February, I challenge myself to samplificate all the lovely coffees but for the sake of the waistline must avoid the cakes.

LOVE YOUR CHURCH: St Andrew’s Consultation Day. Saturday March 18, 10am to 5pm. Drop in and share your views about the future of The Cathedral of The Downs. Whatever your religious persuasion. Look out for the questionnaire in the March edition of the Cuckmere News. Your feedback will inform our bid for funding.

OH YES WE DID: The Alfriston pantomime is the annual marker that Christmas festivities are over, evenings are getting lighter and it can’t be too long before we celebrate the arrival of the first snowdrop. Once Upon A Time by Paul Barron and Sarah Dyson and performed by the Alfriston Players made the recent icy temperatures fade from memory. The show opens when Cinderella’s daughter is about to marry Snow White’s son, but in Pantoland , though it may look like paradise, evil, wickedness is abroad and for a time, Evelyn, the most evil witch in pantoland, has her way. The cast of 29 romped through the trials and tribulations of being kidnapped, meeting the Mad Hatter (having tea), bloodthirsty Pirates and being made to walk the plank, spending sometime at the bottom of the sea, getting lost in the woods and meeting up with a Big Bad Woolf, but, with Prince Marvellous leading the rescue mission, all ended happily. At the end of each pantomime season the Alfriston Players have their own Oscar awards giving the Glass Head to the actor who gave that extra something. This year the decision must have been particularly difficult. Sylvie Daw was extremely evil as the wicked witch; Anne Shaw (Cinderella) and Sarah Keith (Snow White) and their (Prince) Charming husbands, played with charm and wit by Debbie Greenfield and Adrian Butcher, were the parents of the betrothed couple; Debbie Exley and Kay Loadsman were the next generation of charming young, thigh slapping men and Roland Couch had everything a good Dame should have. Amanda Philpott played a delightfully polite and innocent Alice. Seraphina and Xanthe Watkins, now senior members of the youth section making Ruby Matthews the little one who we will no doubt watch grow up in subsequent pantomimes. Patrick Jackman, Tobias Lloyd, Connor McKenna and Sid Raisbeck joined Eliza Lloyd, Isla Jackman and Macy Spencer as the talented chorus of dancers and singers. However the Glass Head award this year went to Leona Davide who as the kidnapped bride- to- be brought the house down with a very fine rendition of a love song, sung in the style of Florence Foster Jenkins. Dan Raisbeck, Court Jester, received the newcomers Glass Head. Picking out any actor in this production is a difficult task. The age range of the Players is from 4 years old to 80, and each and everyone gave entertaining, polished performances. And all of this was musically supported by The Band of Liz Archibald, Robin Steadman and Cate Couch. The ultimate success of the evening, however must go to the Director, Cate Couch who brought this large, diverse group together to give an evening of the most enjoyable community entertainment. (Ann Bryan).

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