THE BEAUTIFUL EVERYDAY
All month I’ve been wandering around muttering (Robert Herrick’s line)
‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’. This is because our issue theme is Gather,
which has consequently got tangled in my mind with ideas of seizing the
day. Then again, maybe the two are related. Whether you’re gathering for
Women’s Walking Football at Lewes FC, or children’s dance at the Lewes
Dance Academy. A day of drumming at the Ham Lane Scout hut, a class in
festive baking at the Community Kitchen, or rowing on Piddinghoe Pond.
Or maybe you’re gathering with other parents of young’uns thirsty for a
(Wickle) coffee; or heading over to the Artists and Makers Fair in the Town Hall. Or
joining The Group to make some new friends. Or maybe you’re gathering with others in
a support group? This month, I met Peter Bridgewater, who runs one of these for people
bereaved by suicide – he tells me it can help.
Or, indeed, as Eleanor Knight poignantly captures it, gathering over festivities with family.
‘What matters is not what they’ve achieved but how they make us feel.’ Quite!
There are also one or two invitations in this issue. Once we’ve all weathered the election,
how about a bit of steering of things you can affect? The Friends of Lewes, perhaps – which
exists ‘to keep Lewes special’ – or a glorious Community Woodland near Laughton (see
‘My space’, on page 104). They are both looking for the right person NOW: could that be
you? Why not seize the day? And gather.
EDITOR: Charlotte Gann firstname.lastname@example.org
SUB-EDITOR: David Jarman
PRODUCTION EDITOR: Joe Fuller email@example.com
ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERTISING: Sarah Hunnisett, Amanda Meynell email@example.com
EDITORIAL / ADMIN ASSISTANT / HAND MODEL: Kelly Mechen firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRIBUTION: David Pardue email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS: Michael Blencowe, Mark Bridge, Hasia Curtis, Lulah Ellender, Mark Greco,
Anita Hall, John Henty, Robin Houghton, Eleanor Knight, Dexter Lee, Alex Leith, Lizzie Lower, Carlotta Luke,
Anna Morgan, John O’Donoghue, Galia Pike amd Scott Wotherspoon.
PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden firstname.lastname@example.org
Viva Lewes is based at Lewes House, 32 High St, Lewes, BN7 2LX, all enquiries 01273 488882
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thank you to all our wonderful customers.
We wish everyone a Happy Christmas - see you
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We close for business on Friday 20th December 2019 and reopen
on Thursday 2nd January 2020
THE ‘GATHER’ ISSUE
Bits and bobs.
8-29. Cover artist Scott Wotherspoon
on a varied career; Wendy Baker, who
set up her dance academy aged 19;
Photo from above; Five minutes with
Southover Head Noel Fadden; charity
card shop at Lewes House; The
Friends of Lewes bids farewell to their
Chair; Spread the word; greyhound
Maisie; how you can make a difference
buying a drink at the Depot; Charity
box visits this year’s Late Night
Shopping chosen charity, the Bevern
Trust; books on stunning knitting, and
local characters; meet The Group;
Carlotta Luke shares wild swimming;
Craig turns Walrus-and-Carpenter.
31-35. Eleanor Knight celebrates the
mundane and glorious; David Jarman
reminisces, with Michael Billington;
and John Henty gathers thoughts of
On this month.
37-54. A Christmas Carol
collaboration; Massive Violins =
cellos; Arthur Smith in Lewes for
election night; University of Sussex
Symphony Orchestra gathers
generations; Dexter Lee’s film roundup;
a day for Drumming; Thomas
McCarthy collects songs; Best
Foot Music gathers cultures; Super
Sunday Circus springs into action
at The Dome; and Amanthi Harris
remembers 1970s Sri Lanka.
57-65. Artists and Makers Fair; David
Jarman on Ditchling Museum; Art
and about including Chalk Gallery
2020 calendar, the Brighton Art Fair,
Martyrs’ Gallery and many more;
Caroline Lucas curates Brink at
67-83. Diary dates from the Raystede
Christmas Fair to The Crucible
to A Sussex Christmas talk, and
much else; Freetime listings include
Christmas at Nymans and Sheffield
Illustration by Hasia Curtis
THE ‘GATHER’ ISSUE
Photo by Petter Hellman
Park, and Cats Protection grotto;
plus, the Fireflies competition
for Late Night shoppers; book
review for a star-studded Children’s
Literary Christmas; and support
for teenagers – and their parents,
and teachers. Classical round-up In
the Bleak Midwinter! plus, Lewes
Chamber Music Festival, Esterházy
Chamber Choir’s Carols by
Candlelight, Handel’s Messiah, and
others. Gig of the month is Femme
Brûlée, plus gig round-up.
85-93. Depot at lunchtime;
Christmas recipe from the Jolly
Sportsman; join Community Chef
baking festive breads; Joe chooses
The way we work.
94-97. Photographer Cressida
Murray visits four Artists and Makers,
and asks where they might be
gathering for Christmas.
99-137. Our local Christmas gifts
guide; Marina Robb shows us round
Mill Woods; family day out at
Plumpton Races; Women’s Walking
Football arrives at the Dripping Pan;
Alex Leith talks Italy with Lewes
FC’s Tony Coade; support group for
people bereaved by suicide; Michael
Blencowe delivers the Holly; Lewes
town Business news; and the Late
Night Shopping Guide.
138. Four Man Manual Drill: firemen
at The Dripping Pan.
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Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content.
Viva Lewes magazine cannot be held responsible for any omissions,
errors or alterations. The views expressed by columnists do not
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Love me or recycle me. Illustration by Chloë King
If you have a degree you can train to teach in less than
a year. Plus, you could get a bursary of up to £28k
or earn a salary.
THIS MONTH’S COVER ARTIST
“I was lucky enough to cut my teeth working in
London at some top design agencies,” says this
month’s cover artist Scott Wotherspoon. “Eventually
I found myself specialising in packaging
design where I was working on global projects
for the likes of Benson and Hedges (this was the
late 90s after all), Budweiser, Mars, Heal’s, Unilever,
Stella Artois, Microsoft, Virgin and more.”
After contributing some drawings to Dazed and
Confused and Wallpaper* magazines, a chance
meeting at a Christmas party led to Scott being
represented in the UK and States as an illustrator.
“I packed in the nine to five,” he says, “bought
myself a desk and Wacom tablet for home, and
spent several years commuting to New York to
work with the modern-day Mad Men.”
In 2004, Scott and his wife Elisabeth also
started Wickle. “Originally we designed, and
wholesaled perfumes, toiletries and quirky
eco-conscious gifts. We got some good stockists
in Europe and America and as far afield as
Australia and Japan. And then our daughter
was born and, like so many, we decided the city
wasn’t for us, so we looked around for places to
up sticks to.” They found themselves in Lewes –
a decision they’ve never regretted.
“We never intended to open a shop”, says Scott,
“but when a unit came up in the Needlemakers
for some nuts reason we said yes. It was opened
on a shoestring and I remember how little stock
we had to start with – but we stuck with it and
quickly seemed to strike a chord with local folk.
We haven’t looked back.”
Busy times. Scott recalls serving customers,
while trying to hit an illustration deadline with
a two-year-old strapped to his chest. “Elisabeth
had worked as a retail trouble shooter across
Scandinavia – so she was the brains, taking care
of the buying and selling. It’s been touching and
rewarding becoming a small part of the Lewes
community – when we first moved here it didn’t
feel that there were many places for young
families so we set out to create a welcoming,
safe place where new mums and dads could grab
Scott’s still very involved with Wickle but
nowadays he’s mainly focused on Liquid Studio,
where he’s Creative Director. “I joined five
years ago after a chance meeting with Jem, the
founder. We’ve since grown into a small team
offering big city creativity with a south coast
attitude. We like being small: we’re light on our
feet and ideas flow. Also, selfishly, it means I can
keep doing the fun part – design.”
Liquid design everything from beer labels to
web banners, including locally for Gun Brewery
and Ancient and Brave. “Fortunately, Lewes
seems full of ambitious people with big ideas
looking for a little assistance!”
So, to our cover… How did Scott arrive at it?
“I had a simpler version of this image knocking
around for some time. It never felt complete
until a colleague pointed out that adding
mistletoe would make it festive. Hopefully it’s
not obvious immediately what’s going on: the
colours and shapes are enough to draw you. And
then, when your eyes make sense of the image,
a little smile rises up…. That’s the idea anyway!
UK BREWER OF THE YEAR 2017 AND 2018
SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM THE
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Photo by Charlotte Gann
MY LEWES: WENDY BAKER
Lewes Dance Academy was founded in 1998.
By you? Yes! I founded it when I was 19, having
qualified in dance with the IDTA at 18. My dad
ran a successful Lewes taxi firm, and had always
been self-employed, so I think I inherited that
ethos. I’ve been doing this all my life. I started
the Dance Academy dance classes at Malling
Community Centre (I grew up in Malling; my
parents live there still). Then I took a lease at
St John’s Ambulance in Timberyard Lane; then
North Street. Everywhere I went the building I
was working in was taken over and redeveloped!
So it’s wonderful to have finally found a
permanent home here in Landport. Pippa from
Pippa’s Nursery, the Youth Club and us have
together taken on the mortgage.
Community is clearly really important to
you? It is, and mine is a Community Interest
Company – which means not for profit, like
a charity, but with the aim of serving the
community. I’ve lived in Landport for 18
years: to be able to use a building in my own
community for my own community sits really
nicely. We do exceptionally well at creating
community in Landport, and at low cost. But
we’re working very hard to do this. Last summer
holiday, between us we offered two weeks of free
children’s clubs for all ages, thanks to the Pells
Pool Fund. There were 30 kids here a day. Our
doors are open every day now, and the kids are
free to join in whatever way is right for them. It’s
their space. Some of them are very serious about
dance – I think I’ve just got my sixth student
going to do a degree in it. But people join in
as much or as little as they want. We make
dance affordable to many families who might
not otherwise be able to access it. Two of my
teachers are ex-students. And I’ve also started
teaching second generations of some families
now! We all support each other, and we join in
as families (I’ve got four kids myself, including
baby Theo). When the Pells School closed, for
instance, that was tough on many children. But
they have a place to come to that remains their
own while other things change.
Have you lived in Lewes your whole life?
All but six months, when I moved out to South
Heighton. But I couldn’t settle! I just came back
to Lewes every day. I love it. Because it’s my
home. Because of the community, and the town’s
uniqueness. It’s not too commercialised, and
everyone can be themselves. And that’s what I
want to build here: a community where everyone
fits in. Dance was always important to me
because I felt free, and free to be myself. I started
dancing when I was eight, but it took a lot of
commitment from my parents, and I had to travel
to Newhaven five days a week. Lewes Dance
Academy is everything to me. This is my passion,
this is my life.
Interview by Charlotte Gann
Thursday 23 rd & Friday 24 th January 2020
1:00pm - 4:00pm
The Brighton Waldorf School – a two-day Showcase
celebrating pupil performance and academic achievements.
Come along and visit live classroom lessons, see pupil
performances and meet the Brighton Waldorf School Team.
For more information, please visit:
For any enquiries please call 01273 386300
Limited Company No. 2395378 • Registered Charity No. 802036
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
BIRD’S EYE VIEW
Phil Bodger sent in this wonderful aerial shot. He wrote:
‘I have a drone licence and produce aerial photography and video, mainly for surveying purposes
(coastsua.co.uk). In May this year, having recently moved to Lewes from Glynde, I was out early one
morning testing the software on a new drone. I live close to The Swan Inn and getting to that walk
across the Downs to Kingston only takes a few minutes. I love the view towards Newhaven, and that
morning the mist lay across the fields and it looked particularly beautiful and rather otherworldly.
Once the drone was in the air, I could see the view through its monitor and that aerial perspective, 50
or so metres up, was incredible. I soon forgot about testing the flying software and took several shots
from slightly different angles, hoping to capture the stunning scene. Once I arrived home, I did a
little processing, but it was really just brightening the shot, as the sun had been low in the sky.’
Please send your pictures, taken in and around Lewes, to email@example.com, or tweet
@VivaLewes. We’ll choose one, which wins the photographer £20, to be picked up from our office after
publication. Unless previously arranged, we reserve the right to use all pictures in future issues of Viva
magazines or online.
BITS AND BOBS
FIVE MINUTES WITH...
started his career in inner city Birmingham before
stints in Eritrea, Hastings and Vietnam. ‘I
have a passion for ensuring all children are involved
and that teaching is vibrant and as active
as possible’, he says. ‘I have been at Southover
for 13 years and enjoy the community and the
town; in all weathers the streets have character,
be it misty mornings or sunny evenings.’
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? At school,
seeing other people happy – children, staff and
parents, and when out on the Downs, the fresh
air makes me smile.
WHAT IS YOUR TOP FILM / BOOK?
Sherlock Holmes is a fail-safe option to read
– well written, clever plot lines and a bit of
science and psychology.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TV AND
RADIO SHOW? Peaky Blinders on the box and
From Our Own Correspondent on the radio –
stories behind the news that you could hear in a
café far, far away.
TOP PLACES TO EAT OUT OR DRINK,
IN LEWES? Chaula’s has the best Indian food
WHO ARE YOUR HEROES? David Attenborough
and then the staff and volunteers who
go above and beyond to help the school.
Do you have Workspace to Let?
Workspace to Let as a Desk,
Office or Studio?
I have a list of clients wanting
workspace in Lewes.
For more info visit:
GIFTS AND BOBS
CARDS FOR GOOD CAUSES
The Charity Christmas Card Shop is open on the
ground floor of Lewes House, on School Hill. It
will remain open (Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm)
until Tuesday 17th December. The shop will also be
open for Late Night Shopping (on Thursday 5th)
The shop sells Christmas cards on behalf of national
as well as local charities and at least 70p in every
pound goes to the charity. The charities include the
RNLI, Save the Children, SASBAH (Sussex Association
for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus), Raystede
and St Peter and St James Hospice.
“This year”, Shop Manager Wendy Stonestreet told us, “there’ll be this lovely new Christmas card
of Keere Street [pictured], illustrated by the very popular local artist Lyndsey Smith, sold in aid of
SASBAH. We’ve also a wide range of Christmas goods including advent calendars and candles, diaries,
wrapping paper, tags, gift bags and small gifts…”
Do pop in. And new volunteers are also always very welcome. Please either call in at the shop or ring
Wendy on 01273 472157.
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Set up by Lewes District Council, the LEAP Programme
is dedicated to champion new enterprise in the Lewes
district including Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven,
Chailey and surrounding villages.
Delivered by Edeal this FREE programme provides local
people with in-depth training to help them plan and
start their new business.
2016 Winner Tracey Horan
Dolly Fixtures Ringmer
2017 Winner Anna Lane
Olive Branch Mobile Spa
An initial one-day start-up workshop is open to all
residents (minimum age 18+). Following the workshop,
15 candidates will be selected to advance to a series of
short training seminars covering law, finance, marketing
and social media. Candidates will also receive one to one
mentoring from our team of dedicated experts to help
them create a viable and strong business plan to be
judged by a panel of experts.
The winner will receive £2500 and the runner up, £500!
Once the business plans have been judged, all candidates
will receive a mentoring support package worth £350 to
help them develop their business further.
The programme will build to a gala awards ceremony
celebrating the achievements of LEAP candidates in 2020.
All candidates will also have the opportunity to network
with LEAP businesses from previous years.
2018 Winner Sara William
The Patchwork Cat Newhaven
You can register for LEAP by visiting
or call Edeal on 01323 641144.
2019 Winner Nicki Whitehead
Homecare Business Support Seaford
BITS AND JOBS
THE FRIENDS OF LEWES
SEEKING NEW FRIENDS
Robert Cheesman (pictured)
has been Chair of The Friends
of Lewes for the last 26 years –
when he took over from Peter
Linklater in 1994 (saying, he
remembers, he’d “do it on a temporary
basis”!). Born and bred in
the town, he has lived here for
all but six years of his life (“From
1972 to 1978, I worked in Cumbria…”).
He knows this town.
But now he’s stepping down, and
The Friends – a civic society,
whose basic remit is ‘to keep
Lewes special’ – are looking for a successor to
take the reins. Who might that someone be?
“Maybe a change agent,” says Neil Merchant,
who’s leading the search. “Someone who’ll look
at what we’re doing, and what we should be doing.
How should we be reacting, for instance, to
climate change? Or the crisis in social housing?”
Neil and Robert agree The Friends need people
who are “familiar with, and sympathetic to, the
town”. But also realists. “I want to see Lewes
remain special,” says Robert; “I don’t want to
see it preserved in aspic.”
Looking back over his long tenure, one of the
things he’s happiest about is “the establishment
of the South Downs National Park – though
my friend, the late Paul Millmore, did a lot of
the legwork.” While he’s fine to see brownfield
site development within the town – existing
buildings redeveloped and repurposed – he’s
emphatic the town should not encroach further
in any direction into the Downs.
“Our re-established Trees Committee is also
doing really well – which I’m pleased about.”
All of these, and many more, are issues that exercise
The Friends of Lewes.
A retired civil servant, Robert
says a lot of his role as
Chair has involved networking
with local authorities
and with developers. “Good
design is one thing we want”,
he says, “so, for instance,
with the Premier Inn, we saw
various iterations; eventually,
we got a design we could
live with. If you go about
things professionally, the
people you deal with grow to
As the remaining committee turn their thoughts
to finding his replacement – as well as a new
Secretary, to replace Marcus Taylor (also
sometime contributor to Viva Lewes) who’s
stepping down at the same time – they want to
get the message out that they’d welcome new
blood: anyone who wishes to join The Friends
of Lewes – they currently have about 400 members
– but also, if there’s anyone out there who
might wish to play an active part in one of these
key voluntary roles?
“We really want to be proactively inclusive,”
says Neil. “We’re also proposing to limit trustee
tenure to eight years. And we’ve come up with
job descriptions for both the Chair and Secretary
role, for anyone who might be curious.
“Robert and Marcus are stepping down at the
AGM in March. We’d like their replacements
chosen by January – please, please, anyone local
with the energy and interest to do something
for the town, get in touch. We’d love to hear
from you…” Charlotte Gann
TRIPS AND BOBS
SPREAD THE WORD
Daire McGrath wrote: ‘Here
are my children, Mads and
Ewan Child, enjoying Viva
Lewes on the ferry from the island
of Brac to the city of Split
in Croatia. Janet Ward sent in
this picture of husband Dudley,
taken, she wrote, ‘in the
Elephant and Castle in Boston,
where we had breakfast in
September.’ And yoga teacher
Fiona Condie wrote: ‘Here I
am, taking a welcome break
from teaching in the beautiful
Keep spreading the word. Send
your photos, plus a few words to
BITS AND DOGS
PETS OF LEWES
Maisie, 6, Greyhound. Maisie wasn’t quite quick
enough to race, so she went straight to the Retired
Greyhound Trust without having to work for
a living. This was an ideal situation for her –
greyhounds are known for being naturally lazy and
Maisie is no exception. She is, however, willing to
do long walks and has been all over the Downs. She
loves meeting other dogs but is not famed for her
social skills, often getting overexcited, barking and
making inappropriate jokes.
Loves: lanterns, haddock, the Pilsbury dough boy.
Hates: Glottal stops, lavatories, lateral thinking, lavender, lacklustre hair.
Greyhound facts: the greyhound is the fastest breed of dog in the world. They are an ancient Egyptian
breed that can be traced back to 3000BC. It was believed by the ancients that when greyhounds died
they passed into an afterlife known as the Field of Reeds, where they lived forever, bounding, leaping
and cocking their ghostly legs against priceless monuments. @dogsoflewes
If you’re looking to rehome a greyhound, visit Brighton RGT to find out more: retiredgreyhounds.info
my vet’s open
Susan Hart, Lewes.
The Coastway Vets’ veterinary hospital
in central Brighton is open 24 hours a
day for emergency cases and provides
cover for most of the region’s vets every
evening, weekend and bank holiday.
For more details call:
DRINKS AND BOBS
SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD BANK USERS
Here’s one way to help – if you go to the Depot. Just support
the ‘Donate a Drink’ scheme.
When you order a drink or a meal, ask to Donate a Drink and
an extra £3 will be added to your bill. The money is separately
accounted for and will be handed over to The Lewes Pound in
time to give out envelopes of Lewes pounds to food bank users
before Christmas. Please help make a big difference to someone.
Dino Bishop from Depot says that the scheme has raised some
£800 in its first year; wouldn’t it be great to soar well past
£1,000 before Christmas? So far, users of the town’s three food
banks have reported spending their Lewes pounds, for instance,
on seeing a film at the Depot, eating out at the John Harvey
Tavern; one teenager bought clothes at Oxfam; someone got a bracelet repaired at Jonathan Swan;
and others spent them on fresh fish in the Riverside, meat at May’s, books for their grandchildren
from Bags of Books or said they were able to enjoy good quality sausages from Richards Butchers.
That’s quite a few local Lewes businesses also benefiting, to say nothing of the pleasure given to
those enjoying a treat not normally affordable. Why not ‘Donate a Drink’ this December? CG
Can you help us give someone with cancer
a bit of a boost at a difficult time?
Andrea from Worthing donates a facial
We’re on the lookout for other donations
from local businesses in Sussex. Could
you provide a hotel stay, family day out,
restaurant meal, gift vouchers, beauty
products or treatment?
We would love to hear from you.
Registered charity no. SC024414
BITS AND BOX
CHARITY BOX: THE BEVERN TRUST
How did the
about? It was
founded in 1999
by Peter and
to help their son
Jonathan – so
it’s our 20th anniversary
A few parents
who had children
needs at Chailey Heritage realised that, once
those children reached a certain age, there was
nowhere for them to go. So Peter and Heather
decided to do something about it. With the help
of donations from about 200 local people, they
started to build on donated land in Barcombe.
The Bevern stream runs behind the building,
which is how the Trust got its name.
What does the Trust do? We provide a
home for life for local disabled adults, aged 18
upwards. There are ten residents, most of whom
are classed as having ‘profound disabilities’.
Most are in wheelchairs and require one-toone
care. As well as rooms for the residents, we
offer respite care. We also have a sensory room,
an activities room, a lounge, a kitchen and a
hydrotherapy pool. And we organise daily trips
Why are you needed? Without us, many
youngsters would be put into residential care
homes, or would end up living with parents who
would find it difficult to cope with their needs.
In East Sussex alone, there are 1,000 profoundly
disabled adults and only 100 beds available. In
addition, many care homes are being closed,
and funding is being cut at an alarming rate.
We are offering an alternative, and giving local
adults a real home,
where parents can
be parents instead of
What is the home
like? It’s a happy
home, full of smiles,
and a great place to
room is individual.
Everybody has their
own style, and their
own posters up. And everybody gets to take part
in different activities each day and to go out on
trips. A typical day might involve cookery, art,
hydrotherapy, visits from family, or a trip out.
We try to make sure everyone has the same opportunities.
So, for example, someone more able
might go horse riding, while others might not
physically be able to do that, but could ride in a
horse-drawn carriage instead.
How can people get involved? The Lewes
community has been amazing, with businesses
sponsoring us, and local schools raising funds
through dress-down days and fêtes. Other
people set up regular gifts, volunteer at events
or donate raffle prizes. We’re the chosen charity
for this year’s Late Night Shopping. And on 7
December, it’s our third Lewes Santa Run, when
we hope up to 200 people will take part in a
2K or 4K fun run to raise money for the Trust.
You don’t have to be a runner – you can walk or
push – and you get a free Santa suit! It costs £20
for adults to enter, and we’re asking people to
raise at least £20 in sponsorship each. We made
about £3,000 last year, so we’re hoping to top
that this time. Anita Hall interviewed Community
Fundraiser Elizabeth Lang
BITS AND BOOKS
BOOK REVIEW: INVISIBLE JUMPERS BY JOSEPH FORD & NINA DODD
Have you ever wanted to disappear into the
background? If you have, you might want
to enlist the help of an unlikely and obsessive
pair: Joseph Ford who loves creating and
capturing optical illusions with his camera, and
Nina Dodd who loves to knit peculiar things.
Combine the two and you get Invisible Jumpers:
a collaboration that began in 2014, when Joseph
met Nina on a photographic assignment that
called for some inventive knitting.
Joseph was taken with a jumper that Nina had
made to match the upholstery on a Brighton
bus, and suggested that they photograph it
onboard. One jumper led to another and the
Brighton-based duo have collaborated on a series
of increasingly challenging knitting illusions
ever since. ‘I work on the principle that if it’s
conceivable, it must be knittable!’ writes Nina.
The results are captured in a beautiful book recently
published by Hoxton Mini Press. While
the 25 images look effortless, each took weeks,
sometimes months in the making, with Joseph
carefully scouting the locations and models before
giving Nina a plan for the image. Together
they matched yarns to the colour and texture of
the backgrounds and Nina deftly knitted up the
garments. Finally, Joseph returned to the locations,
meticulously positioning the models and
knitwear before taking his pictures.
‘I love this kind of attention to the absurd.’
writes Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim), who
appears (or rather disappears) in the book
against a six-metre Acid House smiley face. Us
too: equal parts homespun labour of love and
mind-bending marvel of skill and patience. LL
BOOK REVIEW: A FIELD GUIDE BY CHELSEA RENTON
Ever thought of people-watching as a quirky
kind of bird-watching? It’s an interesting parallel,
and one Chelsea Renton invokes at the start
of her cartoon book A Field Guide to (some of) the
Peoples of the British Isles.
Divided into sections: ‘Widespread’ (which covers
Hairstylists, Builders and Therapists, to give
a flavour), ‘Seasonal’ (Opera Lover, Festivalgoer…),
‘Juveniles’, ‘Exotic’, ‘Pest’ and ‘Miscellaneous’,
there are probably a number of pet
hates and loves here for everyone, among these
incredibly detailed caricatures. Each section is
rounded up neatly with an ‘Identification Chart’
– continuing the twitching theme – where you
can spot each stereotype by their distinctive
Some may strike a little
close to the (Lewes)
knuckle – who knows? The
for instance, with her
‘shades of taupe and fawn’
and ‘layered clothing of an
asymmetric cut’ – but the
author concedes ‘my field
of observation is limited. Living in the South
East, I am familiar with the activated-charcoal
smoothie drinkers of Brighton, but know less of
the legendary hen parties of Newcastle…’; ‘If
you think it’s you, then it probably is.’ CG
TRIPS AND BOBS
OPPORTUNITIES TO GATHER
“My husband and I
used to run a Sussex
pub together”, Patricia
Bentley tells me.
“After we split up, in
2000, I became aware
of just how many single
people there were,
and over a certain age.
Many emerge from
marriages, after the children have left home.”
So in 2006, Patricia started The Group, in a pub
in Haywards Heath. And it’s still going strong.
“Today we have about 300 members, but we
always welcome new faces. I’ve made lots of
lovely, real friends through it, and been to events
I wouldn’t otherwise have thought to go to. And
it’s really nice too, seeing other people meet.”
There are monthly ‘Club nights’ in five venues
across Sussex – Lewes, Brighton, Horsham,
Burgess Hill and Worthing. In addition, there’s
a multitude of events organised by members:
walks, theatre trips, meals out, even holidays
(the picture is from one, in Montenegro). Members
get sent a twice monthly diary, and then are
free to approach individual organisers for any
events that interest them.
“That’s the beauty of the formula”, says Tricia.
“We have a committee of nine, some of whom
coordinate meetings – I run the Lewes one –
but this is just a framework. It’s our members
who fill the pages of the diary. It’s just putting
group members in touch.
“People join and leave all the time – which is part
of the fun, the rolling cast. At the moment, we’re
probably about 2:1 women to men. We’re geared
to the over 50s, and the unattached.”
The activities are varied, and reflect of course
the interests and skills of group members. “So,
one ran a pottery
class from her home.
Another, a coach
driver, offers group
There are walks
every weekend, which
are always popular –
one recently ended
at The Anchor in
Barcombe, and then we took the boats out. And
we have regular trips to London. And a golf
“One coordinator, Maureen who runs the
Burgess Hill club nights, organises a holiday for
members every year.”
Patricia went on one holiday with The Group,
to Prague, she tells me. “And for the last five
years I’ve organised a trip to the Edinburgh
Festival every August… Which I would go to
anyway, but it’s fun opening it up to members.
We stay in university accommodation, and it’s
very comfortable, with en suite bathrooms.”
By day, Tricia is also a Celebrant – for the last
seven years, as an independent. She conducts
weddings, funerals and baby namings. It’s what
she retrained to do after she left the pub. “All
my work seems to have been about people, and
about relationships”, she smiles.
“The Group is not a dating agency, and plenty
of members, like me, don’t mind being on their
own, and doing things on their own. But it’s also
fun, sometimes, to join up with others…”
In Lewes, the club nights are every 4th Thursday
of the month, 8pm. “Except in December,
of course, because that would be Christmas!”
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A bit of kudos is what we’re all after these days.
It’s not enough just to do stuff. No. We want our
achievements richly garlanded and extravagantly
praised. We want them tracked, recorded and
shared with our followers who, in turn, require us
to complete the whole sadomasochistic cycle with
a big thumbs-up for them running the equivalent
of the Serengeti, or jumping the Shard (up dear
reader, always up) over the course of a month, or
– if you’re like me – a bien joué for remembering
the French for ‘picture frames’ (cadres, since you
ask, although quite why Duolingo chooses fine art
as a pathway to fluency is not yet apparent).
While there are apps to record endurance, learning
and incremental mastery, there are none that
calculate the worth of the seemingly pointless
tasks of everyday life. Consider all the socks and
pants you have washed over the last six months:
Kilimanjaro? Or just a Ditchling Beacon? You
may have assembled and packed an entire St
Paul’s-worth of sandwiches over a term, but this
will go unrecorded (tricky this: job well done =
no evidence). There is no tracking device that
tells you or anyone else just how many miles of
hoovering you’ve navigated this week.*
But while it might be nice once in a while to get
a little bit of kudos for these non-appable exploits,
that would be to miss the point. Because these
boring tasks are acts of love. I don’t even mean
the romantic kind, I mean the ordinary, everyday
getting-on-with-it kind; pragma (Greek, since we
started with kudos) the love that survives compromise
and lasts over time.
The fact is that there are some elements of our
lives that are just mostly pointless. And here’s the
thing – and I’m afraid it’s controversial – being
alive is one of them. What are we here for? We
don’t know, but tracking apps certainly offer the
promise of progress in a life that’s for learning.
Sadly, the hardest lesson life has taught me (without
any app at all) is that the people we love most
rarely endure as long as we’d like them to. And
who cares if they’ve run the coastal path barefoot
or scaled the Empire State Building in flippers?
What matters is not what they’ve achieved but
how they make us feel. Perhaps not so oddly then,
it’s in the moments of mundanity that we miss
them the most.
Keep the sausage rolls and turkey sandwiches
coming. Sweep up those pine needles while you
may. Plump up the cushions so the in-laws can
watch the Queen, and be ready with the spare
beds. You won’t win any medals, but you’ll have
given those you love a very happy Christmas.
*Actually the more I think about it the more I
think patent pending.
Illustration by Hasia Curtis
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After 48 years Michael Billington is to retire as
the chief theatre critic of The Guardian. Interviewed
on the radio, he nominated the 1980 Peter
O’Toole Macbeth at The Old Vic as his worst
theatrical experience. I went to it, and it really
wasn’t very good. A couple of things I remember.
After the three (very) ‘weird sisters’, King
Duncan entered and, pointing at a supine body
dunked in the production’s notorious trademark
gore, asked: “What bloody man is that? He can
report, as seemeth by his plight, of the revolt the
newest state.” It was pretty obvious that the man
was in no position to do anything of the sort.
Fortunately, a passing captain, similarly incarnadined
but still upright, was able to bring Duncan
up to speed. And then, towards the end, young
Siward confronted Macbeth. Well, being ‘born
of woman’, this was one fight young Siward was
never going to win. But at The Old Vic he came
close. Peter O’Toole forgot to duck when his
adversary lunged at him, the sword thudding into
the side of O’Toole’s head. They shambled off
stage together, Macbeth reappearing a moment
later, implausibly triumphant and still rubbing
his ear ruefully. Giving an essay in the theatre
programme the title of Macbeth: A History of
Disaster was, perhaps, asking for trouble.
For many years I was a keen theatregoer, but I
don’t get around much anymore. Partly sloth,
partly the ubiquitous ‘reimagining’ (wretched
word) of the classics. News of a particularly
egregious example arrives in the post from Stratford.
Next year the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
is putting on The Winter’s Tale – ‘set across a
16-year span from Mad Men to the moon landings,
this moving new production imagines a
world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide
with the horrors of The Handmaid’s Tale, before
washing up on a joyful seashore.’ Reading this,
I was beginning to think that they had missed a
trick by not adding Fleabag to the heady cultural
mix. But then my wife spotted that the music had
been entrusted to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sister,
Ibsen and Chekhov used to be relatively safe
from the reimagining bandwagon, but not for
some time now. And yet it was Chekhov that
supplied one of my cultural highlights of 2019.
Not on the stage, though. On Monday 13 May
the Seniors’ Free Matinee (Depot, please note)
at the British Film Institute was The Lady with
the Little Dog. Made in 1960 to mark the centenary
of Chekhov’s birth, and directed by Iosif
Kheifits, it proved to be a beautiful film, exhibiting
a sensitivity and restraint utterly in keeping
with Chekhov’s short story.
Not that you would guess that that was the way
it would be, if you’d ever seen the film’s American
‘Romance – betrayal – turmoil – a mysterious
woman. HE is a philanderer –
HER life is ruined.
Iya Savvina is
you’ll ever meet –
Aleksei Batalov is
the most charming
to cross your path.
The most disturbing
romantic movie you’ll
Illustration by Charlotte Gann
Lewes Out Loud
Plenty more Henty
Gathering my worldweary
in an effort to comply
with our Viva theme
for December, I turned
again to my trusty – and
somewhat dusty – Concise
Oxford Dictionary. Here
I quickly established
that a ‘gathering’ is ‘an
assembly or meeting, especially a social one’.
Good, I thought to myself, for the past ten years
or so, I’ve been to lots of those when giving talks
to the feisty WIs and TWGs throughout the
length and breadth of Sussex.
In fact, only recently I attended one such social
gathering in the west of the county and I hope
the merry members of Worthing Mothers’ Club
will forgive me if I illustrate these words with
another splendid Donald McGill postcard from
Funnily enough, the subject matter, although
over 80 years old, does raise a more serious contemporary
issue and that is declining numbers at
many of the meetings I have attended – not just
for my presentations I hasten to add.
Age is clearly a major factor, mobility and
transport difficulties do not help and then there’s
always the question of finding people prepared
to take on committee responsibilities.
If the women of Worthing can forgive me for
the saucy postcard, appropriate though it is, I
am even more concerned about offending Viva
readers north of the border as Hogmanay looms
on the horizon!
You see I have a serious confession to make.
One bagpipe I can tolerate but a whole hillside
full of ’em warming up in torrential rain? No
thank you. Sylvia and I
were on holiday in the
Scottish Highlands and
decided to attend the
Braemar Games along
with members of the
Needless to say, they
were under a protective
canopy as the gathering
commenced. We, though, were on an exposed
brae along with the piping pipers and, drenched
and deafened, moved reluctantly away before a
single caber was tossed.
One coming together of people I always enjoy
nearer to home, whatever the weather, is Late
Night Shopping in the town. I shall be there
again this year, seeking out the roasted chestnuts
and, hopefully, a hot toddy or two. If there’s a
lone bagpiper in the precinct, I’ll certainly raise
my glass to him as I did recently, at the Depot
to friend Mark Ridgwell, who died in December
Amongst many things, Mark was the driving
force behind the Lewes Octoberfeast and as a
tribute to him, our cinema offered one of his
favourite cocktails – a Manhattan with Bourbon
whiskey – at a special price.
It’s a favourite of mine too and I enjoyed it after
watching Hitsville, the Motown story told by
a guy I actually met at the record company’s
Detroit HQ in 1971. Smokey Robinson.
Finally, a word of thanks to Shannon who so
patiently explained to me the workings of my
new Smartphone when I visited her in Tescos
recently. I did ask for an instruction book. She
just gave me one of those looks!
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ON THIS MONTH: THEATRE
Delving into Dickens
A fresh staging of A Christmas Carol
Photo by Tony Bannister
It’s 1843. The last few years
have seen Charles Dickens
earn a reputation as one of
England’s greatest storytellers.
Yet he’s not happy. All
around him is injustice and
suffering, with the children
of poor families often sent
out to work in dreadful
conditions. In addition,
there’s no guarantee of
education for the children
who don’t work. And he
can see financial problems
of his own on the horizon.
Dickens plans to write a pamphlet to express his
views... but then changes his mind. Instead he’ll
craft a piece of fiction; a work that’ll influence
public opinion and, hopefully, earn him some
money. Around six weeks later, A Christmas Carol
is finished: a fantasy in which the burgeoning
traditions of a Victorian Christmas are linked
with goodwill to all.
Fast forward to December 2019, where Darren
Heather (pictured right) is directing an adaptation
of the tale at Lewes Little Theatre. “We are
very much following the traditional line of the
story”, he tells me. However, they’ve made a few
minor changes to the play, which was created
a few years ago by Gary Andrews (left). “We’re
trying to approach it from the social injustice
aspect. It will start off relatively dark and get
lighter, with Scrooge’s reformation at the end.
It’s still a piece of entertainment, not a lecture.”
Why, I ask, is Darren keen to emphasise this
particular aspect of the story? “I think it’s a fairly
topical thing. We have so many people relying
on food banks to just live
normally. It’s not quite the
same as workhouses but it is
a modern version of that.”
Darren’s changes to the script
have been welcomed by the
playwright. “Gary’s been
absolutely fantastic, he’s been
so supportive.” In fact, he’s
even got a role in the show.
“I decided fairly early on that
Dickens would be a good
addition as a character.” As
Gary has previously played
Charles Dickens in a oneman
show, he was an obvious choice. “It’s been a
very good collaboration so far – and it’s fantastic
to have him physically in the show.”
But there’s more to this presentation than physical
appearances. “We’re going to be using a lot
of technology and a lot of good lighting effects
to tell the story as well.” A number of the scenes
will feature back-projected skylines of London,
whilst some of the ghosts manifest themselves in
video form before coming to life. Alongside the
high-tech drama, there’s an original music score.
Ultimately, Darren explains, this is a story about
redemption. “The young Ebenezer was a lovely
child but something went wrong along the way
to make him what he became. I guess, at the start
of the story, he’s an isolationist. He’s very insular,
very much looking inward, fearing the world,
fearing everything; then he realises he has to
engage with the world to get something out of
it.” Mark Bridge
Lewes Little Theatre from 8th until 14th.
How to make it work for
Lewes looks wonderful at Christmas. The
twinkling lights, the shop windows... and in
particular I love it when the town is closed for
traffic for late night shopping (5th December).
As a Collaborative Family Lawyer and
Mediator at this time of year, I am aware that
December is probably the hardest month for
separated families. Whether you’re recently
separated or you’ve been apart for several
years, Christmas poses a unique set of
challenges for parents and children.
Christmas is first and foremost a celebration
of the family, so for many of my clients it is
a really difficult time. They want to try and
make things work but they also want to
spend this important time with their kids.
I encourage parents to remember that there
will be other Christmases and that their
children will have a great time, wherever
If I had to pin down the basics of
making it work over the festive period,
these would be my top tips:
Fake it to make it – use Christmas to be
as generous as possible towards the other
parent – even if you’d rather things were very
Play nicely – don’t speak negatively about
each other or to each other. Christmas is
largely about creating happy memories and
rituals for your children. Children don’t like
it – and find it really hard to cope – when
parents criticise each other.
Look after yourself – try and take some
time for yourself. When the children are with
the other parent, find ways to enjoy it either
alone or with friends.
Please call to discuss what might be the best process for you
on 07780676212 or email email@example.com
For more details about how I work visit
ON THIS MONTH: MUSIC
Photo by Max Colson
Whenever Ricky Chatto travels on public transport
with his cello, there’s always someone who’ll shout
“That’s a massive violin!” So when he decided to
form a band of cellists, it wasn’t hard to think of a
name. It began nine years ago when Ricky and his
wife Ruth had been to see the Ukulele Orchestra of
Great Britain. The idea of doing something similar
with cellos was just too tempting. It helps when
your daughter happens to be a cellist, fresh out of
college and in a band that’s only doing the odd gig.
Said daughter (Grace) then recruited a number of
her musician friends from college and before long
the band was seven-strong.
Nine years on, the Massive Violins are a unique act
with a big fanbase in London and beyond. (And
Grace’s band, Clean Bandit, aren’t doing too badly
This month the MVs are back at the All Saints
Centre after virtually selling out there last
Christmas. So what’s the Lewes connection?
“Grace has been friends with Beatrice Philips (who
runs the Lewes Chamber Music Festival, which
we love coming to) since they were teenagers,”
explains Ruth, “plus Guido Martin-Brandis grew
up in Lewes and was a student at the East Sussex
Academy of Music at East Sussex College.” Ruth is
full of praise for All Saints as a venue, with its raked
seating, cosy atmosphere and “a stage wide enough
for seven cellos!”
If you associate cellos solely with classical music,
you’re in for a surprise. The Massive Violins’
programme is based around classic pop and rock
covers – think Queen, Abba and Adele – which they
perform in their own arrangements. All the players
also sing, and each gets a solo or two. Occasionally
they’ll throw in the odd operatic aria for fun, and
to showcase their different voices. “Camilla does
a brilliant ‘Queen of the Night’” says Ruth, “and
Guido’s ‘Elvis’ is better than the real thing.”
A typical set is exuberant, joyful and pure entertainment.
Ruth is enthusiastic about the MVs and
their ability to delight the audience. “The band just
radiates joy. Young people are especially fascinated
by the cellos – you just don’t see these instruments
that often in pop music.” At least three of the seven
cellos were made by Ricky, a fact that sometimes
Details are still being finalised but we’re promised
“a feast of Christmas music, so classics such as Last
Christmas and Blue Christmas, plus Ricky and Grace
performing Fairytale of New York which will be great
fun. There’ll also be some audience carols.” The
group decides its repertoire and works as a collective.
Ruth says that officially she used to be the
manager, but admits with a laugh, “they’re totally
unmanageable!” Robin Houghton
Tuesday 17 December, 7.30pm, All Saints Centre,
tickets £15 from massiveviolins.com
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ON THIS MONTH: COMEDY
Photo by Steve Ullathorne
Self-appointed Mayor of Balham, Grumpy Old
Man TM , much-loved writer and comedian, Arthur
Smith has unquestionably attained the status of
National Treasure. What this means in practice is
unclear, but may well have something to do with
better socks. That and an infectious faith in the
I caught up with Arthur after a weekend he
described as “rambling about in mud with friends.”
Has he ever rambled over this way at all?
“I have been to Lewes, as it happens. I once spent
the night at Virginia Woolf’s place, and the next
day I walked out over the Downs and came across
the paragliders. I don’t suffer from altitude sickness
or vertigo or anything so I thought, right, let’s
have a go at this. So they strapped me in with this
bloke and up I went, swooping in and out of the
countryside. It was lovely.”
So a fearless comedian is going to be all right doing
a gig on election night in a Tory marginal?
“Oh blimey. Am I? Oh dear. Though to be honest,
I don’t really hear the news much. Not because I’m
hard of hearing or anything, it’s just that I’m busy
shouting F*** OFF repeatedly at the television.”
Yes, let’s spare a thought here for all the similarly
festive events overshadowed by this latest doomed
attempt to find out what the British public wants
On which subject, what’s the official Arthur Smith
tried-and-tested recipe for a happy Christmas?
“Grin and bear it. No, I can’t say that. Actually,
my partner’s big on Christmas so I have to
get involved a bit, but I’m not entirely sure that
everyone really does like figgy pudding. Children
like Christmas the best, so the best thing is to be
around children, preferably between the ages of
four and 12. After that, quite frankly, I lose interest.
Oh and I’m hopeless at wrapping. I could probably
have a go at the sort without a ‘w’, but the one with
a ‘w’ I just get in a terrible mess.”
Helping Arthur get into the Christmas spirit will
be Mark Dolan, host of Channel 4’s Balls of Steel,
and Fran Kissling, ‘very clever and very funny’
according to the Bath Echo – a newspaper, not
an acoustic device. Fran promises a bit of Swiss
surrealism, and if you didn’t know that was a thing,
remember their cheese is famous for the bits that
aren’t there. Eleanor Knight
Comedy Night Christmas show with Arthur Smith,
Mark Dolan, Fran Kissling and more. Con Club,
Lewes, 12th December. Doors open
7.30pm. Show starts at 8pm.
Arthur’s brilliant new book,
100 Things I Meant to
Tell You is out now and
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UoS Symphony Orchestra
An intergenerational celebration
The University of Sussex Symphony Orchestra
are recreating their programme from 1969 – when
they performed as part of the opening season of
the Gardner Arts Centre – in a special show at
ACCA this month. The genesis for the concert
came from ACCA’s creative director Laura
McDermott conducting research in The Keep
archives relating to the history of the Gardner Arts
Centre. Laura unearthed the original programme
for the first USSO concert in December 1969
and was thrilled to discover that the programme
notes were written by UoS alumnus Ian McEwan,
who will read the words he wrote for the original
concert as part of the 2019 show.
I ask USSO’s leader, third year philosophy student
and violinist Jakob Masiak, about the history
of the orchestra. “Back in the 60s it was primarily
meant to be an outfit for the students who studied
music. Nowadays we’re an interdisciplinary
and international society. Which is incredibly
exciting every year… no matter what department
you’re from, no matter what country, it’s very
The three pieces in the programme are Brahms’
Academic Festival Overture, Beethoven’s Piano
Concerto No. 3 and Stravinsky’s Symphony in C.
Pianist and UoS graduate Shin Suzuma will also
be returning for the show. He’ll perform the Beethoven
piece on a Steinway grand piano, donated
to the university by fellow alumnus Tony Banks
(keyboardist from Genesis). “You normally get
at most two rehearsals with any soloist. Which
can be quite intimidating for the orchestra, and
maybe the pianist themselves. In this case we will
have three proper rehearsals with Shin.”
Jakob tells me that the USSO always tries to invite
as many friends, family members and former
orchestra members to performances as possible.
This time though, ACCA staff have assisted the
USSO in publicising the event and the Development
and Alumni Relations office at University
of Sussex have contacted alumni ahead of this
concert, to help make it a special occasion.
The interdisciplinary nature of the USSO gives
students a chance to meet all sorts of people from
across the university they might not otherwise
have met. “Some people have wildly different
schedules in their day to day lives. Some friends
only see each other once a week: at the rehearsal.
Having the opportunity of going to Falmer Bar
afterwards is quite helpful.
“We also put on dedicated social days: we’ve had
laser tag, ice skating, and we were planning on
having some beach time next term, that sort of
thing. Our Sunday rehearsals are more social.
It’s still productive of course, but we have a huge
break in the middle to eat cookies.” Joe Fuller
7th Dec, 7.30pm, attenboroughcentre.com
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ON THIS MONTH: FILM
La Salamandre, Dilili à Paris, White Christmas
Dexter Lee’s cinema round-up
The month starts with Swiss director Alain
Tanner’s 1971 drama La Salamandre (Dec 1st),
co-written by English novelist John Berger. It’s
one for the buffs, concerning a journalist and
a would-be novelist researching an incident in
which a young woman (Bulle Ogier) is accused,
then acquitted, of shooting her uncle. Both
writers come up against the limitations of their
writing medium when it comes to searching out
the truth of the matter.
It’s part of a French-language season at Depot.
Also featured are Michel Ocelot’s dreamy kids’
animation Dilili à Paris (Nov 30th, Dec 1st), and
three feature films. The first of these is Bruno
Dumont’s look at the latter part of Joan of Arc’s
life, Jeanne (2nd), the second of a two-parter by
the unorthodox director. Then there’s Belgian
auteur Joachim Lafosse’s Keep Going (4th),
which depicts a 30-something mother (Virginie
Efira) and a surly, resentful teenage son (Kacey
Mottet Klein) attempting to bond on a horseriding
trip to Kyrgyzstan. Plus there’s a chance
to see La Belle Epoque (8th), an offbeat romcom
starring Daniel Auteuil as a gone-to-seed rejected
husband who rediscovers his mojo when
he is transported into a film set of his past life.
Think Richard Curtis, with a French accent.
There are also a couple of documentaries on the
bill: Freak & Chic (5th) goes behind the scenes
of an otherworldly fashion show by superstar
designer Jean Paul Gaultier, and To the Four
Winds (10th) introduces us to a farmer on the
French-Italian border who comes into conflict
with the authorities when he encourages a
group of immigrants to move onto his land.
Most of the regular one-off slots at Depot
take a break this month, with the exception of
a very seasonal dementia-friendly screening:
White Christmas (3rd), starring Bing Crosby
and Danny Kaye (altogether now…) There
are three week-long-run ecologically-minded
documentaries to recommend: 2040 (from 6th,
with a meet-the-director Q&A with Damon
Gameau on the 7th), Aquarella (from 13th) and
The Biggest Little Farm (from 29th). Interesting
features getting a run include Honey Boy, Pink
Wall, The Kingmaker and Little Women; the latter
part of the month is dominated by two blockbusters,
the latest from the Star Wars franchise
(from 18th/19th) and the film version of Cats
There are some Lewes Film Club crackers at
the All Saints, to finish the year, starting with
the documentary Nae Pasaran (3rd, 8pm), about
a decent and courageous group of striking midseventies
Glaswegian factory hands, refusing
to make jet planes for the Chilean fascist junta.
First Reformed (13th, 8pm) is the much-moregripping-than-it-sounds
tale of a Protestant
Minister (Ethan Hawke) undergoing a profound
spiritual crisis. And Stan & Ollie (20th, 8pm), as
you probably gleaned when it came out last year,
is a biographical drama, starring Steve Coogan
and John C Reilly as Laurel and Hardy, looking
at the endgame of the comic duo’s partnership, as
they go back to touring variety halls, as best they
can with tensions resurfacing in their relationship
and Hardy’s heart condition deteriorating.
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ON THIS MONTH: DRUMMING
Treat yourself to a reset
’Tis the season to be… well, more than a little
tired and stressed. You may be looking forward
to celebrations and time off, but your to do list
keeps growing and you think you might be coming
down with a cold.
One innovative way to grab some restorative
me-time and counter the winter blues might be
to try a spot of drumming.
“It’s an instant way to boost your mood and feel
better,” enthuses Virginia Thorn, co-founder
of The Sussex Drum, with Jamie Morgan. The
duo run drumming classes and events around
the South East and are hosting an Immersive
Rhythm Day in Lewes this month.
“Very early on, I was so affected by drumming
that I wanted to share its benefits with
everyone,” says Jamie, who has been fulfilling
his ambition for the past 26 years. “It’s such a
liberating thing to do. You get swept up in the
energy, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t know
what you’re doing, as you get carried along by
“It’s about enjoying the experience and diving
into the energy,” Virginia agrees. “What I love
about it is that feeling of being in rhythmical
flow with other people. It can be incredibly liberating
and uplifting to be ‘in beat’ with others,
and anyone can do it. If people turn up with no
experience, or unable to hold a steady beat, they
can still dive into the day and have the experience
And it’s an experience that is universal, Jamie
points out. “I think almost every culture in the
world has some kind of ecstatic, rhythmical
tradition, with the same rhythms emerging in
different settings. That feeling of entrainment –
of being in sync – is the first step. Our survival
would once have depended on feeling connected
to each other.”
Jamie’s exploration of drumming in different
cultures has led him to take an ‘energy-based’
approach when introducing it to others, Virginia
says. “Jamie has worked with drummers all over
the world, and the way they learn is not to sit
down and break down the rhythm – it’s to throw
themselves into the action of drumming. Beginners
join in with more experienced drummers,
and that’s how they learn their craft. Archetypal
rhythms come through, and there is a focus on
energy above mechanics. First you capture the
energy, then you find out what to do.”
“To drum around this time of year is especially
powerful,” she adds. “It’s a beautiful and effective
way to clear energy at what is often a very busy
time. It’s lovely to have the opportunity to come
together with others to share and celebrate,
and for people to take time out for themselves.
Drumming is great for getting you out of your
head! It’s like a reset.” Anita Hall
6th Lewes Scout Hut, Ham Lane, 14th Dec,
11.30-5pm, see thesussexdrum.com to book.
Get back a whole lot more than you give
`e Big Christmas Singalong!
Wed 4 Dec
Sun 8 Dec
Tales Around the Tree
Wed 18–Fri 20 Dec
Backstage Tour at Christmas
Sat 21 Dec
`e Snowman & Paddington
Bear’s First Concert (pictured)
Sun 15 Dec
`e Wizard of Oz
Sat 28–Sun 29 Dec
to fi nd out about the roles in your area and
help people in your community who need
a little extra support to live well.
The British Red Cross Society, incorporated by Royal Charter
1908, is a charity registered in England and Wales (220949),
Scotland (SC037738) and Isle of Man (0752).
Photo © Simon Rawles/BRC.
and Psychological services
in central Lewes
© Snowman Enterprises Limited The Snowman
ON THIS MONTH: MUSIC
Traveller, singer, storyteller
Photo by Amy Bateman
“As soon as you
could attach a portable
TV to a car
battery, it died out
for Traveller people.
months, the songs
comes from a family
of Travellers, based
in Birr, in central Ireland, who kept up the tradition
of singing traditional songs, when others
around them were stopping.
“Our people frowned upon the television,” he
tells me, down the phone from his London
home. “They’d call it a conversation killer. It
took people’s attention away from the songs, and
People used to look forward to the Travellers
coming to town, so they could hear their songs,
he tells me. “But then Elvis happened, and the
Beatles, and if a Traveller started singing a song in
a pub, they’d say ‘we don’t want to hear that sort
of song, we’ve got a jukebox, now.’”
McCarthy remembers singing songs himself,
from the age of five, and writing his own from the
age of 13. “We’d sing round campfires outside the
caravans,” he said. “That’s what we did. That and
the stories. My grandfather Johnny told stories
that would last two weeks. His three brothers
were all singers, and songwriters.”
Around the turn of the millennium, he decided to
start ‘collecting’ songs, from his grandfather, from
his mother, from his uncles and aunties. “It was
lucky I had the good sense to do that. If I hadn’t,
those songs would have been forgotten by now.”
Most of the songs
were unique to his
others were more traditional.
hundreds of years old.
“I collected 12 or 13
hundred,” he says. “I
can sing two or three
hundred of those off
the top of my head.
The rest of them I have written down.”
He uses a ‘warbling’ technique, taught to him by
his mother, involving a movement of tone within
the longer notes. “It used to be common in Irish
singing, but has become a lost art.”
He’s only been singing as a public performer
since 2008. “I was singing at a wedding and a
young fellow came up to me and he said ‘have
you ever been to Cecil Sharp House? [London’s
folk art centre]. I went along there for a singaround
on a Tuesday night. I never knew there
was so much interest in folk singing.”
After that, the invitations started coming. Now
he regularly performs in folk clubs and festivals
round the country, and round Ireland, too. He
has recorded three albums, and there are plenty
more to come.
So are there, I ask, any younger McCarthys following
the tradition? Or does he represent the
end of an era? “My son was brought up to sing,
but he’s lost interest,” he sighs. “I am recording
songs, and teaching other folk singers, but...
maybe he’ll come round to it again.” Alex Leith
Lewes Saturday Folk Club, Elephant & Castle,
Sunday Dec 8th, all day workshop and concert
8pm, £8. lewessaturdayfolkclub.org
ON THIS MONTH: MUSIC
Inter-Cultural Winter Warmer
Music crossing borders
Whether you’re celebrating
Diwali or just looking
forward to being with
friends and family, the
festive season is a time
of coming together – a
spirit embodied by the
Inter-Cultural Winter Warmer that takes place
this month at the All Saints.
Organised by Best Foot Music in association
with choir leader Polina Shepherd, the event
brings together Russian and Yiddish (pictured)
choirs, along with Dervish Sufi and Syrian folk
music, and has as its theme ‘collaboration, cocreation
“It’s all about social inclusion,” explains Phill
Minns of Best Foot Music, a non-profit organisation
that supports and promotes musicians
from refugee and migrant backgrounds, as well
as recording and documenting their music. “I’ve
always been involved with music, and I got fed
up of seeing anti-migrant headlines in the papers
and wanted to show one of the many positive aspects
of migration. Many very talented musicians
go unrecognised as, if they’ve just come here,
they don’t necessarily know music networks or
have any connections. We enable them to make
those connections, by helping them to get gigs
or to process their ideas.”
The Winter Warmer is the fourth Best Foot
Music has hosted, and its first in collaboration
with Polina, who leads all four of the choirs
taking part in the event – Russian and Yiddish
choirs from London, and their Brighton and
“It’s a pleasure to be working with Polina,” Phill
says. “We’ve known each other for nearly ten
years, and she’s really
the music and its history.
This is the biggest thing
we’ve done together, and
it’s very unusual for all
four choirs to be in one
place. There’s a lot of organisation
involved just in making sure everyone
knows what they’re doing.”
The musical offering also features Syrian folk
singers Jamal and Alaa, while Jamal will be
debuting his new Dervish Sufi music ensemble
at the evening too.
“When Jamal was in Syria, he was in a wellknown
Sufi group and did a concert where there
were Christian, Jewish and Sufi choirs,” adds
Phill. “He was keen to do something similar
here, and it fitted well with what we were trying
As well as music, there will be a bazaar with stalls
selling arts, crafts and refreshments, including:
beads from Wild Bloom Beads; tea, sweets
and cakes from Sussex Russian Centre Kalinka;
jewellery from Rebecca & Arty; and festive gifts
from Friends House Moscow.
“When people talk about migrants, they often
focus on negatives,” Phill concludes. “People
have been travelling around since the year zero,
but migrants have become a political football in
recent years, and there’s been a rise in anti-migrant
feeling. We’re trying to redress the balance
and to show the many positive contributions that
migrants make to the community.” Anita Hall
The Winter Warmer takes place 6-8.30pm,
Sunday 1 December, at the All Saints Centre, with
tickets costing £10 (£7 concessions).
See bestfootforward.net to book.
Sunday 22nd December 2019 at 1:30pm
All Saints Centre Lewes
A Family Fun Traditional Pantomime by Tim Rowland
Inspired by the 300 year old classic novel by Daniel Defoe
His Dark Materials II
By Philip Pullman
Adapted by Nicholas Wright
Proudly presented by the LDC Youth Group
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Assistant Director Timothy Telford
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All Saints Centre, Lewes
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ON THIS MONTH: CIRCUS
Photo by David Levene
If you prefer the louder, Big Top side of contemporary
circus – rather than quieter, contemporary
dance-influenced affairs – then Super Sunday
could be for you. The show has “a feeling of the
gates of the amusement park being opened, and
there’s all these toys you can play around with”,
according to Race Horse Company co-founder
and acrobat, Rauli Dahlberg. These ‘toys’ are in
fact large machines that the acrobats perform
on, in, and explode out of.
“It’s an acrobatic show, with six circus artists on
stage. We have a huge machine called the wheel
of death, and a trebuchet, which is kind of like a
human slingshot. Then we have a teeterboard,
which is a wooden plank, with two guys jumping,
facing each other and flying up to seven or
eight metres. Then there’s a human cannon. It’s
a kind of big rollercoaster colourful show with a
lot of energy. And a lot of action.”
Wheel of death? Rauli casually uses the term in
our conversation, and it turns out that it’s an official
title for the machine (pictured). The wheel
of death sees two acrobats in spinning wheels,
“like hamsters”, in which they can do flips and
“go really high”. The wheels can go as high as
ten metres in fact, “which is why it’s called the
wheel of death. We have a few safety mats underneath
but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll
hit those. It needs nerves of steel.”
It’s not all massive machines however: one act
in the show sees Rauli doing flips on a yoga
ball, for example. He tells me that their double
trampoline act is one of the highlights, which
sees acrobats trampolining with an array of colourful
balls, replicating the look of a tumultuous
children’s ball pit.
Reviews have praised the show’s humour, which
comes from the way in which the acrobats
respond to the strange, flamboyant goings-on
onstage. “We don’t speak during the show. It’s
mostly body comical: kind of how the body
reacts to a situation. We have a few characters
for example, such as a teddy bear coming onto
the stage. The situations are completely weird.
It’s really playful, [with] a lot of different tricks,
machines and objects being thrown around the
Super Sunday arrives at Brighton Dome after a
well-received run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
this summer, having premiered in Stockholm in
2014 as a collaborative effort without a named
director. The six acrobats discuss what worked
well – and what didn’t – in previous performances,
to develop and hone the choreography. “If
somebody gets a crazy idea that they want to add
– or they want to take away something from the
show – then we do it. It’s constantly changing.”
Brighton Dome, 17-27 Dec
ON THIS MONTH: TALK
‘How do you build a paradise?’
“We left before the civil war
began so I was not directly
affected by it; my strongest
memories are of an earlier,
I’m having a coffee in the
Depot with the Lewes-based,
Sri Lanka-born writer Amanthi
Harris, who moved with her
family to England when she was
nine years old.
Amanthi has made the south
coast of Sri Lanka the setting
for her first published novel,
Beautiful Place, and she’s drawn
upon her recollections of the country to form
the backdrop of her story.
“I am looking at the country through rose-tinted
glasses, I know,” she says, “but my memories from
the seventies are really very wonderful.” This has
influenced the central tenet of her story: “how do
you build a paradise? Is it possible?”
The ‘paradise’ in question is the ‘Villa Hibiscus’,
a guest house run by a young Sri Lankan girl,
Padma, and her adopted father, an Austrian
architect called Gerhardt.
“The book follows the stories of Padma and
Gerhardt, and also of the guests who visit the
house. Each character has a dilemma, and we
see that through other characters’ eyes, too. Essentially,
it’s about community.”
But it’s not all sweetness and light. “The colonial
aspect of Sri Lanka is very much part of the
dynamic of the interactions,” she continues.
“Europeans coming over to a tropical land and
finding a little corner to claim. So it’s about
people making connections… but it’s also about
greed and the desire for power.”
Amanthi divides her time
between writing and art. As an
artist she works in drawing and
3D, and studied at Central St
Martins. She also runs Story
Hug, an Arts Council-funded
project ‘using art and stories to
inspire creativity and community.’
You get the feeling that
whatever medium she employs,
the driving force will be a
strong narrative voice. “There is
some part of us,” she says, “that
gets awakened when we tell
stories. And if that story means something to the
teller, it becomes even more powerful.”
Amanthi’s 2016 novella, Lantern Evening, won
the Gatehouse Press New Fictions prize, but it
took a while for her to get a publishing deal for
Beautiful Place, which was ‘ten years in the making’.
“I had finally put it aside, and was starting
a new novel, when I received an e-mail from
Christopher Hamilton-Emery of Salt Publishing,
saying they wanted it,” she says, her eyes
sparkling with the memory of her excitement.
Her agent has since sold the Indian and Sri
Lankan rights to Pan MacMillan.
It could prove to be quite a hit, then, in the publishing
world. I ask her – half in jest – how long
till she’s sold the film rights, too; how long till
we’re watching Beautiful Place at Lewes Depot?
“It would make quite a nice film,” she smiles,
and I realise that, by golly, it would. Alex Leith
Amanthi is in conversation with Mark Hewitt, All
Saints, Dec 11th, 8pm. Lemn Sissay and Pam and
de Femmes are also on the bill. leweslivelit.co.uk
photo by Tomek Henke
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ON THIS MONTH: ART
Artists and Makers Fair
Where community meets art
The annual Artists and Makers Fair was first
started by then-Western Road mum Tina Deubert
(of Tina’s Kitchen) in 2003. The motivation
was to raise money to supplement Art provision
for the school.
Sixteen years on, and it’s gone, and is going,
from strength to strength – each year it raises a
significant fund (“There was a big hike with the
arrival of credit card machines three years ago!”)
– as it’s handed from one generation of Western
Road parents on to the next to organise.
Two of the three current organisers – Antonia
Jewels, “with a fundraising head on” and Kirsten
Norbury, who looks after marketing – sat down
with me for a chat. (Their third member is
Miriam Navarro, who oversees the creative side.
It’s very much a team effort. Plus, there’s a host
of Western Road parents who swing into action
to help during the week and on the day…)
Antonia and Kirsten both sound sad at the prospect
of their tenure ending. “This is my last year
as a Western Road parent,” artist and Art teacher
Kirsten said, “but I’ll always feel part of it.” The
event is clearly cherished.
“Western Road is a community school, and the
Artists and Makers Fair a big part of that”, says
Antonia. “It’s become such a date in the calendar
(always on the first Saturday in December, in
the Town Hall). And the money we raise goes to
promoting creativity in the school much more
broadly – we bought laptops, for instance, so the
children could learn about animation.
“Also, when we write to thank the artists
afterwards, they consistently reply by saying it
has the best atmosphere – and they loved taking
part. Everyone loves it!”
The raffle – or, as Antonia bills it, “posh tombola”
– is one of the highlights. Each participating
artist is invited to donate a piece as a prize.
About 75 of the 84 stalls do so. “These are
wonderful prizes: tombola prizes people actually
want to win,” says Antonia. “There’s a real buzz
round that part of the hall…”
This year, they’re also experimenting with having
an open ‘preview’ evening the night before
(Friday 6th) – “the artists and makers have asked
for this” – so people can come and mill and have
a drink from the bar and mull, before perhaps
returning to buy something on the day itself.
The theme of the Fair for 2019 is Scandi Art –
“folk art, by another name”, says Kirsten who
has designed the delicious poster. The standard
of contributors is high: “we have around 200
submissions for the 84 stalls,” says Antonia; “and
then quite a rigorous selection process. Although
any Western Road parent who is a practising
maker automatically gets a stall… ”
“What’s wonderful,” says Kirsten, “is it’s still an
authentic community event. It’s a lovely balance.
Come along for everything from art to jewellery,
to prints, to postcards, to Christmas gifts. It’s a
great atmosphere, with children welcome. Oh!,
and our legendary café.” Charlotte Gann
Lewes Town Hall, Friday 6th December, 6.30-
8.30pm; Saturday 7th December, 10am-5pm.
16 November – 15 December
in association with
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft
‘For those who makes things with their hands’
The Ditchling Museum
opened in 1985, a couple of
years after we moved to Lewes.
It’s been very much part of our
lives ever since. But goodness
it’s changed. Dim memories
of the early days in the old
Victorian school next to St
Margaret’s Church conjure up
old farm tools, Victorian cottage
parlours, period costumes
and the like. Delightfully
amateurish, perhaps, but only up to a point. The
advent of the Hilary Bourne Gallery in the early
1990s transformed the museum, with its emphasis
on Eric Gill, Hilary Pepler and fellow members
of the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, not
to mention artists such as David Jones, Edward
Johnston and Ethel Mairet. A succession of rather
splendid exhibitions followed. One I particularly
remember was Handwriting: Everyone’s Art. The
catalogue was edited by Ewan Clayton and Timothy
Wilcox, both much involved in the museum
to this day. I still have the paper on which I asked
my then eight-year-old daughter to copy one of
the exhibits – ‘Be kind and tender to the frog /
And do not call him names / As “Slimy-Skin” or
“Polly-Wog”… or “Billy Bandy Knees” / The
frog is justly sensitive / To epithets like these’.
But even then there was plenty of room for the
traditional museum. I’m looking at the programme
for 1997-1998. There’s ‘Flint-makers to
Saxon Farmers: Archaeology on your doorstep’
and a celebration of the 175th anniversary of
Ditchling Horticultural Society entitled: ‘How
does your garden grow?’. There’s Easter Monday
egg rolling for the children – those not quite old
enough, I imagine, to sign up
for ‘The Young Wyverns’, the
junior branch of the museum’s
All that was swept aside by the
opening of the new Ditchling
Museum of Art + Craft in
September, 2013. I’m not complaining.
It’s a fabulous museum
which always raises my spirits
as soon as I go in, even on the
very, very wet Saturday in early
November when I visited with three other family
members. I hope it was only the weather that
meant we pretty well had the place to ourselves,
apart from the friendly and valiant volunteers.
But in my experience it’s usually very quiet, which
makes me worried that Lewesians are not sufficiently
cognizant of how lucky they are to have
this museum on their doorstep.
If you’ve never been, or not for some while, now
would be a good time to visit. A new exhibition,
Disruption, Devotion + Distributism (I’m not sure
I got the ‘disruption’ bit) draws on the recent
acquisition of over 400 pamphlets and posters
produced by Hilary Pepler’s ‘St Dominic’s Press’.
It’s also timed to coincide with the centenary of
The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic – ‘primarily
a religious fraternity for those who make
things with their hands’.
There’s also a display of Alan Kitching’s Letterpress
designs – The London Series – his recent ‘A to
Z of London’ set against his earlier celebrations
of the capital including one commemorating the
great calligrapher Berthold Wolpe of Kennington
and… Lewes. David Jarman
Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic safe door,
painted by David Jones. Image by Tessa Hallmann
01444 405250 | @NymansNT | @NymansNT
Credit: Quentin Blake: A P Watt at United Agents on behalf of Quentin Blake.
Towner Art Gallery
David Nash 200 Seasons
29 September 2019 – 2 February 2020
Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, BN21 4JJ
David Nash, Nature to Nature, 1985. © Jonty Wilde, courtesy David Nash. Tate Collection
ART & ABOUT
In town this month
Chalk Gallery proudly presents its 2020 calendar, featuring
work by all the Chalk artists and now available
from the gallery. They’ve also collaborated with Year
6 pupils from Barcombe Primary School, who have
decorated and donated baubles that festoon the gallery’s
Advent window. Proceeds from the sale of both
the calendar and baubles will be donated to the environmental
charity Client Earth. Chalk’s seasonal exhibition
of small and affordable artworks continues until
5pm on 23rd December when the gallery closes for the holidays, re-opening on 6th January.
Due to the ongoing refurbishment of Brighton’s Corn Exchange,
Tutton & Young’s long-running
Brighton Art Fair relocates to Lewes Town
Hall this year. Join them on Saturday 30th of
November and Sunday 1st of December (with
a preview on the evening of Friday 29th) for
an exhibition by upwards of 60 local and national
Following the success of
their Piper, Sutherland and
Chagall show last year, Martyrs’
Gallery has teamed up
once again with Goldmark
Gallery to create another
bold and colourful exhibition
to brighten the winter
gloom. This year, they’re
showing a selection of exhibition
posters by some of the
twentieth century’s most celebrated
artists, including affordably-priced
lithographs by Picasso, Matisse,
Chagall, Miró, Braque, Hockney,
Freud, Cocteau and Dufy,
among others. On display in the
Star Brewery from Thursdays to
Sundays, 12-5pm, until Sunday 15
Also, at the Town Hall, the
Artists and Makers Fair
returns on Saturday 7th, from
10am-5pm (preview Friday
evening). Buy direct from a
carefully-curated selection of
local makers, with a percentage
of sales going to support
Western Road school. (See
p57) Down the road at 30
Friars Walk on the 14th &
15th, you’ll find an exhibition
of miniature scenes by figure
maker Peter Cole and prints
by artist and designer Andy
Learn hand-building skills
and decorating techniques in
small groups at the Blue
Door Studio behind the
Union Music Store in Lewes.
10am – 12.30pm starts January 7th – 4 weeks
6pm – 8.30pm starts January 9th – 4 weeks
10am – 12.30pm starts January 11th – 4 weeks
4 week block - £180 (Includes all materials + firings)
* places still available on Saturday December 7th: Make your own
Xmas decorations out of porcelain. £10 per person for half hour
session (plus £2 per decoration for firing, postage and packing)
Sussex Arts Collective
M E R R I LY !
10am-4pm, Sundays 12pm-3pm
textiles, glass and sculpture
Crypt Gallery, 23 Church Street, Seaford, BN25 1HD | www.thecryptgallery.com
Out of town
Look At This, the festival of contemporary printmaking, continues
at Phoenix Brighton until the 15th. As well as visiting
the exhibition, join Glug Brighton for an evening of talks with
Anthony Burrill, Jim the Illustrator & Kelly Anna on the
6th (book via Eventbrite); or bring the family along to a free
print workshop on the 7th & 8th of December (11am-1pm &
Also in Brighton, the Christmas edition of Artists Open Houses sees artists
and makers opening their homes and studios at weekends until the 8th
of December (aoh.org.uk). And the annual Burning the Clocks celebration
returns on the 21st to see out the old year and welcome in the new. Watch the
family-friendly procession aglow with illuminated lanterns as they make their
way through the streets of Brighton and down to the beach for a bonfire and
fireworks organised by Same Sky. The event is free to attend but, if you’d like to
make a contribution, or want tickets to get up close on the beach, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/burningthe-clocks-2019.
Merrily! A festive exhibition by the
Sussex Arts Collective featuring
jewellery, printmaking, ceramics, wood,
textiles, glass and sculpture is at Crypt
Gallery in Seaford until the 22nd of
December (gallery open 10am-4pm,
Sundays 12pm-3pm). Just along the
road, the Stanley Spencer exhibition
continues at Studio Plus gallery until
the 15th, raising funds for a local charity
benefiting children and families.
‘Eyes’ Preparatory drawing by Sir Stanley Spencer
A panel of judges
headed up by the
selected 12 finalists from over 600 entries for the
SWT online photography competition. A public
vote deemed this wonderful image – of a Vole in a
Foxglove, taken by Maxine Dodds of Rudgwick,
Horsham – the ultimate winner. All the finalists’
photographs will feature in the Sussex Wildlife
Trust’s 2020 online calendar (available to download),
and in an upcoming exhibition at the Booth
Museum of Natural History, in Brighton.
Brink, an exhibition curated by Caroline Lucas MP, opens at
Towner gallery on the 14th of December (see page 64 ). David
Nash: 200 Seasons, a major retrospective of the sculptor’s
50-year career continues in the next-door gallery, with the two
exhibitions sharing an environmental interest.
Tirzah Garwood, Hornet with Wild Roses, 1950. © Estate of Tirzah Ravilious.
DACS 2018. Towner Collection
William Nicholson, Judd’s Farm, 1912. Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
Caroline Lucas curates the Towner Collection
Caroline Lucas is a busy woman. Between
the frenetic goings-on in parliament in recent
months and preparing to defend her Brighton
Pavilion seat in this month’s snap general
election, she has found the time to curate an
exhibition at Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery.
Unsurprisingly, the resulting show is both
a celebration of the local landscape and a
campaigning platform, highlighting Caroline’s
concerns for the environment and climate
change. It runs alongside the retrospective of
David Nash, the prominent British sculptor
who works with wood, trees and landscape,
and whose exhibition title inspired Caroline’s
“It’s interesting that David’s exhibition is called
200 Seasons – it’s a retrospective of 50 years
of his work – and that got me thinking about
time,” explains Caroline. “200 seasons sounds
like an innocent enough title but – when you
project forward 200 seasons instead of looking
back – what is our world going to look like?
Do we even know that we have 200 seasons in
which it will be possible to live safely on our
planet? Projecting 50 years forward is quite
scary in some ways.” Hence, the title of her
While selecting from the 5,000 works in
Towner’s collection, Caroline was struck
by how many of them depicted landscapes,
seascapes and the cliffs of the Sussex coastline.
“You really got the sense of edges… That
grew into this sense of being on the brink, on
the edge of something new, politically, in the
broadest sense. Whether or not we rise to the
climate challenge, whether or not Brexit gets
resolved, whether or not we have a kinder more
compassionate politics going forward. It feels
like we are metaphorically on the edge, just as
so many of the artworks I was looking at played
with the idea of different planes, different
She has clearly relished the role of guest curator
– an opportunity that she describes as a real
privilege and having almost endless possibilities
for interpretation. “You see each artwork
differently once it’s placed next to another. The
context in which you view it, I think, changes
the meaning you pull from it.”
Many of her chosen pieces feature trees and
wilderness that speak to the Nash exhibition
next door, and visitors can expect to see “old
favourites” by Eric Ravilious, as well as lesserknown
works by Tirzah Garwood, Robert
Morris and Kier Smith. Imagery from local
environmental campaigning groups will also
feature. Placards made for an Eastbourne youth
march for climate action will hang alongside
pieces from the Towner Collection, as will a
sobering poster that projects what the town
might look like under different scenarios of
sea-level rise. “It really does bring home to
people that climate change isn’t some distant
threat that happens to people many miles away,”
concludes Caroline. “It’s something that could
be very real to us as well.” Brink promises to be
a thought-provoking exploration of a landscape
on the edge.
14 December – 20 May 2020
David Nash and Caroline Lucas at Towner. Photo by Rob Harris
Eric Ravilious, Lombardy Poplars, 1935 Leslie Moffat Ward, The Long Man of The Downs, 1943. ©The Artist’s Estate
SAT 30 NOV & SUN 1 DEC
Raystede Christmas Fair. Festive music, Santa’s
grotto, food & drink and meet the donkeys.
Raystede, 10am-4pm, entry by donation.
The Nevill Collective Christmas Event.
Eight local artists and makers show their wares.
Mulled wine, tea, coffee and cake available. St
Mary’s Church Hall, 1pm-9pm (Sat) & 11am-
Inter-Cultural Winter Warmer. A one-off
concert from Brighton & Hove and Londonbased
international communities: Russian
choirs, Syrian music, Sufi dances and Yiddish
choirs. All Saints, 6pm, £10/7, see page 51.
Plumpton Festive Fun Raceday. Live music
from the Wild Murphys in the Paddock Bar,
free glass of mulled wine or mulled Silly Moo
cider and a mince pie to the first 300 people
through the gate. See plumptonracecourse.
co.uk. (And page 107.)
Musical Matinee Club: White Christmas.
Interactive screening featuring fun props and
prompts. Specifically designed for people who
may benefit from a more informal environment,
specifically those living with dementia
and/or disabilities. De La Warr Pavilion,
1.30pm, £3.50 (carers go free).
The Art of Ageing
Well open evening.
in-store facial rituals
and demos, have
a mini makeover, learn functional nutritional
advice from menarche to menopause. Tanya
Borowski Clinic & Wellbeing Store, The
Needlemakers, 6.30pm, £10 (pre-booking
essential), all monies will be donated to the
Climate Coalition Charity.
WEDNESDAY 4 – SATURDAY 7
The Crucible. Eastbourne College production
of the Arthur Miller play. Eastbourne College,
Business Start-Up Workshop. Free wholeday
workshop which will focus on specific
business start-up topics, giving you the skills
you need to start on your business journey. Telscombe
Civic Centre, 10am-4pm, free, register
Comedy at the Con. With Arthur Smith,
Mark Dolan and Fran Kissling. Con Club,
7.30pm, £9-£12, see page 41.
Lewes Late Night Shopping. See page 131.
FRIDAY 6 – SATURDAY 14
Carol. An original
play by Gary
to the stage
tale. Lewes Little
and page 37.
E A S T B O U R N E C O L L E G E P R E S E N T S
By Arthur Miller
"I SPEAK MY OWN SINS; I CANNOT
JUDGE ANOTHER. I HAVE NO TONGUE
Wednesday 4th Dec -Saturday 7th December 7pm
Tickets £9 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec listings (cont.)
Photo by Andrew Buxton
Artists & Makers. Annual arts & crafts fair,
all proceeds go towards the arts at Western
Road School. Town Hall, 10am-5pm, £1,
kids free (preview night Friday 6th, 6.30pm-
8.30pm). See page 57.
Cliffe Christmas Fair. Fun for all the family
with home-made gifts and cakes, tombola,
animal game, chocolate treats, stocking fillers,
decorations and more. Cliffe Hall, 10am-
Make your own Christmas
Craft session suitable for
children and adults. Blue
Door Studio Lewes, 10am-
4.30pm (half-hour slots),
£10 pp plus £2 per item for
glazing, firing and postage,
Santa Run. Fun run fundraiser for The
Bevern Trust. Starting and finishing from
Harvey’s Yard, see beverntrust.org for more
info. (And see page 21.)
SATURDAY 7 & SUNDAY 8
Family Weekend. With indoor Christmas
market, woodman’s shed and homemade
tea, coffee and cakes. Free parking available.
Dovecote Garden, Westdean, 10am-4pm.
Exploring Public Art in
Lewes. Lewes History
Group talk with Andrew
Buxton, revealing many
aspects of the history of
Lewes that are represented
by statues, monuments,
murals and other
artworks. King’s Church,
7pm for 7.30pm, £3 (members free).
Photo by Hamish Brown
Life Drawing Christmas Special. Drop-in
session, bring your own materials. Lewes
Arms, 7.30pm, £5.
A Sussex Christmas. Talk with local historian
and author Chris Horlock, revealing how
the people of Sussex celebrated Christmas in
the past. The Keep, 5.30pm, £5.
Catalyst Club Xmas Special. Three
15-minute talks on any topic under the sun.
Lewes Arms, 7.30pm, £7.
Lewes Live Lit.
Lemn Sissay, whose
book My Name is Why
was recently serialised
on Radio 4, headlines
an evening that also
features local novelist
Amanthi Harris and
songsters, Pam and De Femmes. All Saints,
7.45pm, £12/£15, see page 54.
Full Moon Fire Ceremony.
BN8 6BP, 7pm, contact
for more info.
gift and raffle.
West Dean grown Norway Spruce and
Trees are cut and pot grown.
Family Weekend 7th & 8th
December, 10am - 4pm
inDoor Christmas marKet
Apple Juices, Jams, Chutneys, Silver jewellery,
Art, Ceramics, Photographic Art, Plants, Honey,
Pies, Textiles, Vintage furniture, Oak carvings,
Christmas Cards and Gift ideas, Live Music
for MND. Harvey’s of Lewes stall.
Lantern lit with a brazier for Christmas messages
in the ox-yard.
home maDe tea, CoFFee & CaKes
Also Coffee & Bacon Buns served in the Cart Barn
Free Parking. Free Entry. WC available.
in the centre of West Dean nr. seven
sisters Country Park Bn25 4aL
5 BRITISH SEA POWER 3
6 THE FOLD
7 JOHN OTWAY
13 FAT BELLY JONES
19 REGGAE CHRISTMAS DJs
20 LEWES LOVES DISCO
223pmKATE & FRIENDS
22eve BUFFO’S WAKE & OH MAMA
28 LAZY SUSAN DJ’S
31 NYE PARTY
SEE WEBSITE FOR ALTERATIONS, DETAILS AND ENTRY
the smash hit satirical review of the year
THE TREASON SHOW
THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS
Saturday 21 December,
All Saints Centre, Lewes - 8pm
BOOK ONLINE WWW.TREASONSHOW.CO.UK
Dec listings (cont.)
Immersive Rhythm 2019.
Community day drumming
event. All levels welcome,
drums provided. Sixth
Lewes Scout Hut, Ham Lane,
11.30am-5pm, £20 (£15 early
bird), see page 47.
Makers of Change Craftivism session. A
supportive space for personal, social or political
activism, rooted in the act of making things by
hand. Facilitated by artist Alinah Azadeh and
artist-educator Charley Haward. For people
aged 13-17, LGBTQAI+ friendly. Lewes New
School, 2.30pm-4.30pm, free. (Also a session
for women 18+ at Westgate Chapel 10.30am-
Focus on Carers. This event is open to all
carers to share stories and celebrate the skills,
love and dedication they bring to their role.
Light refreshments provided. De La Warr Pavilion,
Bexhill, 10.30am-12.30pm, free, booking
essential via email@example.com.
Plumpton Christmas Raceday. Free glass of
mulled wine or mulled Silly Moo cider and a
mince pie to the first 300 people through the
gate. See plumptonracecourse.co.uk.
Safehouse Improvised Music Session. Participatory
improvised music session. All noise
makers, performers and musicians welcome.
The Lewes Arms, 7.30pm, £2.
Hot mulled wine,
live music, lucky
dip and fresh local
Christmas Market. Stalls from all over Sussex
bringing their best Christmas food & gifts.
Cliffe Precinct, 9am-4pm.
Repair Café. Take along damaged clothes,
broken electrical appliances, bicycles, china,
jewellery and more. Tea, coffee and cake will
be available. Landport Community Hub, BN7
2SU, 2pm-5pm, no charge is made but donations
The Treason Show: That Was the Year
That Was 2019. Locally renowned topical
comedy show, rounding up 2019. All Saints,
Pepper’s Ghost. Victorian magic lantern
show with music. Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £7.
Local Christmas Post
The local delivery service will be operating
again, covering Lewes, Kingston and, new
for this year, Ringmer. Price is 25p per card,
and cards must be left at the
collection points by 4pm
on Wednesday 18th
December to ensure
delivery by Christmas
for more info.
Opens 23rd November 2019
NURSERIES & GARDEN CENTRE
NEW animated displays for 2019!
Meet Santa and receive a gift
From £6.50 per child
Last year we raised £23k+ for The Budding Foundation
Book online at www.thebuddingfoundation.co.uk
(charity no. 1155335)
A273 Brighton Road HASSOCKS
Sussex BN6 9LY 01273 845232
NEW Grotto experience for 2019!
Meet Santa and receive a gift
£9.50 per child
Raising money for The Budding Foundation (charity no. 1155335)
Book online at www.thebuddingfoundation.co.uk
NURSERIES & GARDEN CENTRE
A24 Dial Post, HORSHAM
Sussex RH13 8NR 01403 710000
Christmas activities at Nymans. Family
Christmas crafts, froggy storytelling, and lots
of drop-in activities. See nationaltrust.org.uk/
Santa Specials. Enjoy a train
journey through the Sussex
countryside in all its winter
splendour. Santa and his elves will be on board
with a present and chocolate treat for all the
children. Tickets must be pre-booked online,
Winter activities at Sheffield Park. Nighttime
wildlife walks, crafts, carol concerts and more.
UNTIL SUNDAY 22
Glow Wild. Winter lantern trail in the grounds
of Wakehurst. Trees, ponds and landscapes
are brought to life with hundreds of glowing
lanterns, torches of fire and projections. Festive
food and drink will be available both outside
in the Carriage Ring and in the Seed Café and
Stables restaurant. See kew.org/wakehurst.
UNTIL TUESDAY 24
Santa’s Toy Factory. Visit Santa
and receive a gift. Meet some of
his new helpers in the factory.
South Downs Nurseries, tatesofsussex.co.uk.
FRIDAY 6 – SUNDAY 12 JANUARY
Jack & The Beanstalk. Live music, colourful
sets and costumes and plenty of comedy, fun
and laughter. Devonshire Park Theatre, see
eastbournetheatres.co.uk for times and prices.
Christmas Bazaar. Grotto, live music, craft
activities, café and festive stalls. Brighton
Waldorf School, 11am-4pm, £1 (kids free).
show, followed by
a festive fair with
lots of fun, games and treats to raise money for
Hamsey School. Christchurch, Prince Edward’s
Road, show at 2pm, £5, fair is free to enter from
2.40pm (after the show) until 5pm.
Cats Protection Xmas
fair and grotto. Sleigh
ride to Santa, Mid
Sussex Choir, stalls
and a café. National
Cat Adoption Centre,
Chelwood Gate, 10am-3pm.
Robinson Crusoe. Family pantomime by
Tim Rowland, inspired by the classic novel by
Daniel Defoe. All Saints, 1.30pm, £8.50/£6.50.
Carol concert, Nativity play & family party.
Traditional carol concert at St Laurence
Church, Telscombe Village (3pm), impromptu
Nativity play (actors of all ages welcome,
no experience needed). Followed by family
party in nearby Village Club at 4pm. Father
Christmas, presents for children, food, mulled
wine and raffle. Parking available in the
farmyard opposite the church. All free.
Calling all Fireflies!
Costume competition at Late Night Shopping
Further to the Light Up Lewes! Christmas lights campaign,
being run by the Lewes High Street Traders Association, at
Late Night Shopping on Thursday 5th December, there’ll
be a Fireflies Costume Competition for children up to Y6
(ie aged 11).
‘Look out your best Christmassy outfit but it must LIGHT
UP!’ read the instructions. The competition will be judged
by the Mayoress, Gaynor Lamb, and Patina’s Caroline
Croft. Children who wish to enter should turn up bedecked
with their shiny finery (and accompanied by an adult) at
Lewes Castle Gateway at 6pm. The Lewes Town Crier will
ring out the winners.
Then the Lewes High Street Traders Association and Visit
Lewes invite you to ‘light up the High Street with your
amazing glowing creations’. There’ll be music and singers
and dancers, and horse and carriage rides, and food stalls and
shops open late selling lots of wonderful seasonal goodies…
See our Late Night Shopping Guide on page 131. latenightshopping.co.uk
A Children’s Literary Christmas
by a rare gathering of authors…
Step into a world of sleigh bells and stockings, frost fairies and
elves, crackers and carol singers, in this exuberant festive anthology
for children. Inspired by the approach and style of the British
Library’s bestseller A Literary Christmas, this beautiful book
celebrates the season with the best Christmas stories and poetry.
From classic favourites such as A Christmas Carol and ’Twas the
Night Before Christmas to some of today’s best-loved authors such
as Matt Haig, Michael Morpurgo and Shirley Hughes, these tales
cover Christmas traditions old and new. Divided into five sections
– Father Christmas, The Magic of Christmas, Family Celebrations,
The Gift of Giving and Christmas Spirit – this treasure trove of
extracts provides perfect bite-sized pieces of Christmas literature to
share with all the family. Join Pooh and Piglet as they sing a snowy
song, Jumbie the squirrel as he loses the invitations to his winter party, and Ebenezer Scrooge
who wakes on Christmas morning full of hope and love. Anna, Bags of Books
A Children’s Literary Christmas and many other Christmas stories for children are all 15% off at
Bags of Books throughout December.
Teen Tips and so much more
“In the last five years the pastoral aspect of
teaching has grown exponentially,” Alicia
Drummond says, “and many teachers tell
us they feel stressed and ill-equipped to
deal with the current mental health crisis
facing many teenagers.”
This is one reason Alicia’s training
company – Teen Tips – exists. A therapist
herself, specialising in working with young
people, she feels angry, she says, that teachers
are often not taught the basics of child
development or given the knowledge and
skills which would allow them to feel more
confident in their pastoral role.
“I’m on a mission to turn that tide. Lots
of money is invested in mental health first
aid – which is of course important, but it’s
all reactive. We need to be proactive and
create environments that promote mental
health and wellbeing.”
Alicia likes teenagers, she tells me. “I used
to be an events organiser, in a previous life,
but then I had children, we lost a baby, and
I ended up in therapy; I realised this was
what I wanted to re-train to do.
And I knew I wanted to work
with teenagers: I think, perhaps,
was the trickiest time in
my own development.
“Teenagers get a bad
press, especially in the
UK. We give them such
a hard time, expect a
lot of them, while
interesting, funny and they really look out
for each other.
“Working with teenagers in therapy can be
heartbreaking but if you can build a rapport
with them, and they want to change,
it’s a huge privilege to be a part of their
Alicia set up Teen Tips 12 years ago.
Under its auspices, she goes out and speaks
at many schools, but as demand for her
talks grew she realised she needed to adapt.
Now, she’s focused on getting her training
online as a resource she can offer to teachers
and parents en masse – and (soon) to
teenagers too. Today, Teen Tips – and the
name is a misnomer: the weight of material
goes way beyond any list of ‘tips’ – offers
this to schools, as well as, independently,
I ask Alicia what she thinks has caused the
current crisis? “The pressure to perform,
the compare and despair culture of social
media; anxiety about the future, the
disconnected way we’re living which leaves
many teenagers feeling lonely at home –
eating regularly together as a family can
make a big difference…
“On the plus side, we are more able to talk
than we were. What is permissible is so
much more fluid – so ‘rebelling’ doesn’t
need to be destructive. And the internet
has created platforms where teenagers can
make a difference: look at Greta Thunberg.
Her work couldn’t have happened
without social media.
“We have to trust our young people, while
providing a containing environment.
That is the challenge. And it’s one we face
together.” Charlotte Gann
The next parenting teens workshop is on
16th January. See details at teentips.co.uk
TUESDAY 31 DECEMBER 2019 2.45PM
CONDUCTOR STEPHEN BELL
SOPRANO AILISH TYNAN
(50% DISCOUNT FOR STUDENTS/U18S) U18S)
BRIGHTON DOME TICKET OFFICE
Park for just
£6 at NCP
between 1 & 6pm
Christmas Fest ival
Schola Cantorum choir
Friday 20th December 7:30pm
Lewes Town Hall, Fisher Street entrance
Info, tickets and prices visit:
SUNDAY 15, 7PM
In the Bleak Midwinter!
Ten years ago, after days of heavy snow, Liz and Roger Fenn had to
find an alternative venue for their midwinter celebratory fundraising
concert in aid of Lewes Amnesty International. Hamsey Church,
where the event began in the early 2000s, just wasn’t feasible. So at a
few days’ notice it was moved to St John Sub Castro. Would anyone
turn up? In fact, the church was packed, and the event (now biennial)
has been a ‘hot ticket’ ever since. Lewes is rich in performing talent,
amateur and professional, and this fundraiser has remained an eclectic
mix – a chance to experience anything from classical to folk, from
Barbershop to bagpipes, from poetry to performance art. Now held at
St Anne’s Church, the event’s MC this year is actor Jonathan Cullen (pictured). Space is limited,
so book early.
St Anne’s Church, £12. From Baldwins Travel or bleak-midwinter-concert.eventbrite.co.uk
Photo by Cammie Toloui
SUNDAY 1, 2.45PM
Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra. The
Brighton Phil presents a cornucopia of classics
conducted by Natalie Murray-Beale, including
Haydn, Mozart and Vaughan Williams’ evocative
The Lark Ascending.
Brighton Dome, £14.50-£42.50, 50% student/U18
discount. Ticket Office 01273 709709
SUN 1 AND SUN 15, 4PM
New Sussex Singers. Two concerts this month
to celebrate Advent and Christmas: Advent
Antiphons at St Anne’s on December 1st and Sing
Noël at St Michael’s on December 15th,
both events start at 4pm. £10,
FRIDAY 6 , 7.30PM
Lewes Chamber Music Festival. The Annual
Christmas fundraising concert for LCMF features
The Eusebius Quartet in a Beethoven-fest.
Trinity St John Sub Castro, £18,
SATURDAY 7, 7.30PM
Music for a Venetian Christmas. The wonderfully-titled
His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts
join the East Sussex Bach Choir to perform
music by Gabrieli & Monteverdi. Conducted by
John Hancorn. Trinity St John Sub Castro, £20
(under 16 free) from Lewes TIC,
SUNDAY 8, 11AM
Coffee Concert: The Maxwell String Quartet
play Schubert String Quartet in D Minor Death &
the Maiden, Haydn, Roukens and Scottish Folk
Music. Attenborough Centre for the Creative
Arts, £18.50 (£16 conc), attenboroughcentre.com
SUNDAY 8, 4PM
The Corelli Ensemble Christmas Concert
includes seasonal classics including Vivaldi
‘Winter’ from The Four Seasons, soloist Maeve
Jenkinson, and Howard Blake’s The Snowman
Suite. Seaford Baptist Church, £12 adults (in
advance from Seaford TIC or the website) £14 on
the door. Children free. corelliensemble.co.uk
Baroque Collective Singers
SUNDAY 8, 6PM
“Jingle all the way..!” The Paddock Singers
present their usual festive selection of lush choral
arrangements, festive readings and audience
carols. St Michael’s Church, Lewes, £10 from
ticketsource.co.uk/paddocksingers and Baldwins
SUNDAY 8, 7PM
Pro Musica Chamber Choir. On the programme:
Fauré Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine
and excerpts from Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.
Directed by Pro Musica’s new conductor Richard
Miller with Philip White-Jones at the organ.
St Andrew’s Church, Alfriston, £12 (children 14
and under free of charge), promusica.org.uk
SAT 14 & SUN 15, 3PM
Glyndebourne Chorus & Tour Orchestra and
Youth Opera. This year’s Christmas Concert
features opera highlights, Yuletide classics and
carols. £23-£57, glyndebourne.com
FRIDAY 20, 7.30PM
Lewes Concert Orchestra. A special Christmas
Festival Concert with guests including the
Schola Cantorum of St. Pancras and mezzosoprano
Rebecca Leggett. The programme
includes carols, seasonal music and Dvorak’s 8th
Symphony. Lewes Town Hall, £10 in advance or
£12 on the door, lewesconcertorchestra.org
SATURDAY 21, 6PM
Carols By Candlelight. The Esterházy Chamber
Choir’s well-established (and free) Christmas
offering: expect a feast of traditional carols and
other festive music. St. Anne’s Church, Lewes,
free entrance, esterhazychoir.org
SATURDAY 21, 7.30PM
A Christmas Cracker in aid of Dementia UK.
East Sussex Community Choir directed by Nick
Houghton, with Wallands School Choir and special
guests Richard Attlee (of The Archers fame)
and star tenor Toby Spence. Carols for choir &
audience, Christmas songs, readings and jollity.
Pre-concert Christmas Bazaar from 6.45pm.
Lewes Town Hall, tickets £15 & £20 from Lewes
TIC, Town Hall & on the door subject to availability.
SUNDAY 22, 7PM
Handel Messiah. The Baroque Collective directed
by John Hancorn. It’s a seasonal favourite,
but if you haven’t heard Messiah played and sung
by a chamber ensemble then you’re in for a
surprise. It’s Handel without the bloat. Sprightly,
colourful and joyous. St Michael’s Church, £20 &
£25, under 16s free, from Lewes TIC,
TUESDAY 31, 2.45PM
New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala. The Brighton
Philharmonic Orchestra’s traditional end-of-year
event guarantees a swirl of waltzes, marches and
polkas by the Strauss family and others. Stephen
Bell conducts, with soprano Ailish Tynan.
Brighton Dome, £14.50-£42.50, 50% student/U18
E A S T
B A C H
C H O I R
The Esterházy Chamber Choir present
St Anne’s Church, High Street, Lewes
Saturday 21st December, 6pm
The perfect antidote for the Christmas Rush
A VENETIAN CHRISTMAS
ST JOHN SUB CASTRO, LEWES
SAT 7 th DEC
GIG GUIDE // DECEMBER
GIG OF THE MONTH:
Back in May, for the first Ripple mini-festival,
Sharon Makgill of Popsicle in the Needlemakers was
asked to put down some grooves at the Con Club.
She recruited Natalie Grahame, draped the place
in pink and they threw one hell of a (strictly vinyl)
party. Fast forward seven months and the troupe of
female DJs Femme Brûlée is a local favourite. Each
member of the team brings something different
to the decks, wowing crowds at gigs and private
functions alike. Get your dancing shoes on for ‘an
eclectic collective of women DJs pimping up Lewes
nightlife’. And it’s free! Saturday 28, Lamb, 8pm.
Spizzenergi. Punk/new wave. Con Club, 7pm,
Sophie & Julian Moore. Local singing/song
writing. Lamb, 8pm, free
Samsara. Dub and reggae. Lamb, 8pm, free
Supernatural Things. Funk. Royal Oak, 8pm,
Thomas McCarthy. Folk, Irish Traveller trad.
Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £8. See page 49.
Anita Wardell, Nigel Thomas & Terry Seabrook.
Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free
British Sea Power 3. Indie/alternative. Con
Club, 7.30pm, £15, members £12
Zoot Zazou. Vintage Hot Swing. Pelham
Arms, 8.30pm, free
Afro Latinicity. Afro Latin DJs and live percussion.
Lansdown, 8pm, free
The Fold. Folk/rock. Con Club, 8pm, free
Soul Casserole DJ Night. Lamb, 8pm, free
John Otway. Alternative. Con Club, 7.30pm,
Pam and de Femmes. Sunday chilldown with
four-part female multilingual harmony group.
Lamb, 8pm, free
Terry Smith, Spike Wells & Terry Seabrook.
Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free
Fat Belly Jones. Ska/R&B. Con Club, 8pm,
Que Asco. Neo-grunge. Lamb, 8pm, free
Starfish. Junior bands session. Con Club,
Fruitful Sounds DJ night. Royal Oak, 9pm, £5
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Champagne | Hampers | Gift Vouchers
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82 HIGH STREET, LEWES, BN7 1XW
01273 311 344 | www.cote.co.uk/cremant
GIG GUIDE // DECEMBER
John Crampton. Foot stomping blues. Lansdown,
Just Floyd. Pink Floyd Tribute. Con Club,
8pm, £5, members free
Porchlight Smoker. Roots/folk/country.
Lamb, 8pm, free
Shepherds Arise. Folk, Sussex trad carols,
dance tunes, readings, Mummers’ play. Elephant
& Castle, 8pm, £8, advance tickets only
London Calling. Clash tribute. Con Club,
Que Asco, Friday 13th, The Lamb
Terry Seabrook Piano Trio. Jazz. Snowdrop,
The Massive Violins. Seven singing cellists.
All Saints, 7.30pm, £15, see page 39.
Reggae Christmas Fundraiser. DJs. Con
Club, 7pm, £3
Kate and Friends. In-the-bar acoustic. Con
Club, 3pm to 5.30pm, free
Buffo’s Wake & Oh Mama. Gypsy punk and
Psychedelic blues rock. Con Club, 7.30pm,
Christian Brewer, Nigel Thomas, Darren
Beckett & Terry Seabrook. Jazz. Snowdrop,
The Boogie Woogie Band. Lansdown, 8pm,
Lewes Loves Disco. DJs. Con Club, 8pm, free
Monster Groove. With live band The Soul
Steppers. Lamb, 8pm, free
Bad Bad Whiskey, plus DJ. Skiffle-billy and
R’n’B. Royal Oak, 8pm, free
Koan Brothers. Country rock ’n’ soul to cowpunk.
Lamb, 8pm, free
The Kondoms. High energy covers. Con
Club, 8pm, free
Christmas party. Folk, bring songs & tunes.
Carols, fire, candles and mince pies. Elephant
& Castle 8pm, £4
Willow Wisp. Boho Post blues with a driving
beat. Lamb, 8pm, free
Lazy Susan. DJ night. Con Club, 8pm, £4
Femme Brûlée. DJ night. Lamb, 8pm, free
Geoff Simkins, Bobby Worth, Paul Whitten
& Terry Seabrook. Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free
NYE Contenders and guests. Con Club, 7pm
till late, free, members and friends only
NYE at The Oak. Live music & special guest
DJs. Royal Oak, 9pm, free
Indian Restaurant &
BOOK NOW FOR
Cocktail lounge also
available to hire for
Lunch every day
12pm - 2:30pm
Sunday to Thursday
5pm - 10.00pm
Friday & Saturday
5pm - 10:30pm
6 Eastgate Street
BN7 2LP, 01273 476707
Brunch AND Lunch
Photo by Lizzie Lower
Lewes Depot is, of course,
a wonderful thing. It has
descended and enhanced
the town. On summer
afternoons, the gallery
doors are open and café
customers spill onto the
grass and sofas and tables
outside. In winter, it’s a
snug retreat from rain and
wind. At times it feels the
whole town is down there,
but the space is generous
enough it rarely feels
claustrophobic. I spend
many a coffee-time down
there meeting interesting
people for Viva; or Friday nights or Sunday
afternoons at a movie. (Under 25s go for only
£4 – what a bargain! And I love that row of seats
with all the leg room – row D in Screen 1: the
most comfortable cinema experience I think I’ve
known – despite warm favourites from other eras
of my life, notably the Phoenix in East Finchley
and Duke of York’s of old, in London Road.)
But I haven’t often eaten here. So Lizzie and I
decide to retreat from the office one lunchtime
to try out the Depot’s ‘Brunch and Lunch Menu’,
served daily, from 10am to 3pm. We were not
Lizzie opted for the ‘Vegan brunch’ (£7.50), and
I chose the ‘Vegetable club sandwich’ (£11.50)
from the ‘Large’ plate menu. It was enormous!
A classic ‘club’ – “A Tom and Jerry sandwich”, as
Lizzie pronounced it – with three not two layers
of wholemeal bread, and overflowing – positively
bulging – with goat’s cheese and roasted peppers.
Served with chips – excellent, large crispy ones,
fluffy on the inside – and
a salad with a very lemony
dressing, I was defeated, I
have to own, after one half
of the sandwich. I’d defy
anyone to get through the
lot: a good plate to share?
But it was delicious, the
flavours of the whole platter
big and bold, as were
Lizzie liked her vegan
brunch too. “Hearty,” she
said, “and, happily, not
too virtuous”. It consisted
of a generous plateful of
two hash browns, grilled
tomatoes, avocado, fried mushrooms, baked
beans, wilted spinach all arranged around two
slices of lightly grilled bread. Lizzie liked the
“nutty, perfectly browned mushrooms” – half
button mushrooms, so nice and chunky – and
declared the wilted spinach “very nicely wilted.
Just soft enough, and well seasoned.” And the
hash browns? Just as hash browns should be:
“golden on the outside, soft on the inside and ever
so slightly greasy”.
She enjoyed, she said, “all the indulgence of a
classic fry up without any of the animal products”;
while I was equally happy with my super-sized
The Depot this early Thursday lunchtime
mid-November was buzzing but the service was
friendly and speedy. The place felt lively but not
too busy, nice and warm and brightly lit, with
mellow music playing, even as the rain slunk
beyond the window. A fine retreat. CG
Depot, Pinwell Road, lewesdepot.org
Photo by Alex Leith
Creamed Savoy cabbage with lardons
Jolly Sportsman chef Vincent Fayat on a succulent
accompaniment for any roast – including turkey
You might have heard that the Jolly Sportsman
has changed hands recently. I’m happy
to say the new owner hasn’t changed anything
about the food that’s being served: I’m continuing
as head chef, and I’m cooking the same
healthy portions of hearty, succulent fare.
I come from South-West France, and some of
the recipes I use come from my home country,
like the fondant potatoes you can see in the
photograph. But all the food we use in the
Jolly Sportsman kitchen is seasonal and locally
sourced. That’s very important to me.
Savoy cabbage is really tasty just boiled or
steamed, and served with a knob of butter,
but it’s even better cooked with cream and
lardons, in which case it becomes one of the
highlights of any meal. A cabbage will produce
four to six generous portions.
Chop the cabbage into quarters and cut off
and discard the woody bits from the centre,
then slice into half-centimetre-wide strips.
Immerse these in boiling water, in a large
saucepan, for five minutes or so. Don’t let the
cabbage get too soft: it needs to retain a bit
Prepare a bowl of iced water, by putting a tray
of ice cubes in tap water; place the drained
cabbage in this bowl. This will help it to retain
its colour, and thus its taste. Drain off in a
colander, and, using your fingers, squeeze as
much remaining water as you can out of the
cabbage. The more water you squeeze out, the
more cream it will be able to absorb.
Flash fry 120g or so of smoked lardons in
a tablespoon of sunflower oil for about five
minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden
spoon, then remove, and place in a bowl lined
with kitchen paper to soak up the excess fat.
Some people will use duck or goose fat instead
of sunflower oil, but be aware that most of it
will end up in the kitchen paper!
Pour 300ml of double cream into the saucepan,
and when it’s hot, add the lardons. When
the cream starts thickening, add the cabbage,
and mix up with a wooden spoon, for about
five minutes, until the cabbage has started
taking in the cream.
Season to taste, remembering that the lardons
will be salty, so be careful not to overdo the
salt. Grate in a little nutmeg, too, if you like,
that goes well with anything creamy.
One of the great things about the nights
drawing in is that partridge and pheasant have
come into season, and we’ll be serving one or
the other throughout the winter at the Jolly
Sportsman. In the picture the cabbage is an
accompaniment to partridge, which I have
cooked in two distinct ways, frying then roasting
the breast, and broiling the legs in a stew.
The preparation of those fondant potatoes
will remain one of my little secrets, for now…
Bon Appetit! As told to Alex Leith
Jolly Sportsman, East Chiltington,
Local, ethical and delicious,
the perfect recipe for christmas
C H R I S T M A S C A K E S
M I N C E P I E S
O R G A N I C S P R O U T S
S U S S E X C H E E S E
W I N E & G I N
S T O L L E N
C H R I S T M A S P U D D I N G S
F R E E R A N G E T U R K E Y
S A U S A G E R O L L S
R O A S T E D C H E S T N U T S
C H R I S T M A S W R E A T H S
& M U C H M O R E !
SATURDAY 21 DECEMBER
CLIFFE PRECINCT, LEWES
for a seasonal gathering
If you need some respite from the endless Christmas
shopping and office parties, you might be
interested in the Festive Breads workshop being
run by Robin Van Crefeld at Lewes Community
Kitchen this month. Not only will he teach new
baking skills, he’ll share how making these breads
is part of ancient traditions and seasonal rituals.
Could this be the perfect antidote?
The five-hour workshop, run by Robin on Saturday
7th December, will teach participants how
to make three different types of festive breads:
a stollen – the Leipzig variation, which has less
butter than usual (for cake connoisseurs); a Greek
Christopsomo bread; and Hanukkah sufganiyot
(doughnuts). These recipes will happily feed a
crowd, but they also embody a certain ritual or
spirituality which can often feel absent at this
over-packaged time of year.
Stollen is a bready cake that is said to symbolise
the swaddled baby Jesus, and is dotted with boozy
fruit and flavoured with spices. Robin will teach
the fundamentals of making enriched dough,
and marzipan. While kneading the dough for the
Christopsomo bread it’s traditional to take time
to reflect on the year just gone, and to knead
in your intentions for the coming year. A small
segment of dough is kept aside and used to create
personal, meaningful motifs that adorn the sides
of the bread.
While the doughs are fermenting you will make
(and eat) Hanukkah sufganiyot. These doughnuts,
with a festive filling in place of the usual jam,
represent the Jewish miracle of the Temple oil.
The workshop also includes a lunch prepared by
Robin, where you can get to know the rest of the
group and share great food. The focus of the day
is on developing culinary skills, but Robin is keen
to emphasise the pleasure of cooking in a group
and providing delicious food for others.
In his opinion, food bridges divides, brings
communities together and promotes wellbeing
across society. This Festive Bread workshop is just
one of many – coming up next year are a Game
workshop (with Alex Von Riebech from Limetree
Kitchen) in January; South Indian Vegan and
Gluten-free cooking in February; Fish and Seafood
in March; Fermentation in April; a Taste of
Africa and Fine Dining and Desserts in May; and
Jewish Breads and Patisserie in June.
As well as these workshops, Community Chef is
a social enterprise and catering business. They
organise life-enhancing local projects like cooking
classes with homeless people using food bank parcels;
the ‘Man with a Pan’ project to help single,
vulnerable men learn to cook well for themselves
and others; and projects to help improve people’s
mental health. Robin also hires out Lewes Community
Kitchen to local small businesses. To read
more about Community Chef’s valuable work,
check out the website. Lulah Ellender
7th December, 10.30am-3.30pm.
See communitychef.org.uk for ticket info.
Please join us on the 5th December for Lewes late
night shopping. We will be open until 9pm, and will be
serving up warming drinks and delicious nibbles for
everyone to try.
We Are A Family Owned Health Food Store,
Bringing Zero-Waste Shopping, Organic & Biodynamic
Fruit & Veg, Organic Skincare, Artisan Breads, Local
Produce, Vegan and Gluten Free Products.
16-17 Cliie High Street, BN7 2AH
01273 359200 seasonswholefoods.co.uk
The Pelham arms
hIGh sT. leWes
Convivial and beguiling
A box of chocolates must rank among the most
fun food options for a group to gather around.
So Kelly and I venture to Bonne Bouche, to
return to the Viva office bearing sweets for the
team. The shop is brimming with gift options:
pens, cards, peanut brittle, ice cream, vouchers…
Oh so much chocolate. Over 70 varieties in fact.
We fill our boots, for the sake of those troopers
back in the office of course, one of whom is eating
for two. Kelly bagsies an Advocaat whilst still
in the shop, and is exuberant when she eats it: a
“perfect Christmas Snowball cocktail flavour”.
The cups are stunning, be they caramel or
praline, packed with smooth, velvety fillings.
There are more colourful options: I love a
raspberry jelly, and the light, whipped texture of
the strawberry crème fraîche takes us by pleasant
The pistachio marzipan is lovely: “quintessential
Christmas”, according to Lizzie. But the overwhelming
favourite is the French cocoa dusted
truffle with salted caramel. It’s deceptive, almost
paradoxical: it tastes darker than it looks, with a
strong salty crunch in the middle, and melts in
the mouth deliciously. A beguiling triumph.
There’s something for everyone: sugary treats,
subtle flavours, textural curios... The team is not
only full, but fulfilled, for sharing chocolate is a
surefire way to foster convivial contentment.
3 St Martin’s Lane, bonnebouchechocolate.shop
for up to 40 guests
to book your party
and to receive a copy of
this years festive menu
1st - 24th December
booking and pre-order required
pairing +£20 per person
course is brought to your table for everyone to share.
recommend choosing one option per four people.
potatoes, mashed potatoes, Dauphinoise potatoes, honey roast parsnips,
and swede mash, wok fried sprouts and chestnuts
T H E S U S S E X O X
C H R I S T M A S F E A S T I N G
Bread board with garlic, rosemary, and thyme butters
(choose your starter to share)
Fish sharing board
Shepherd's pie croquettes, sticky sauce
Vegetarian antipasti board
(choose your main course to share)
Rack of South Downs lamb, olive jus
Whole roast curried free range chicken, chasseur sauce
Rib of Sussex beef, red wine jus
Mushroom and parsnip wellington, vegetarian gravy
(choose your pudding to share)
Chocolate marquise, Christmas pudding ice cream, orange gel
Mulled wine apple crumble, vanilla custard
LEWES FRIDAY FOOD MARKET
Look out for the Christmas markets this month.
Common Cause’s special festive market is on
Saturday 21st (in the Cliffe Precinct, of course).
There’ll be free-range turkeys (to order), and
game, organic veg, Christmas cakes, Yule logs,
mince pies and stollen, pies, wreaths, local charcuterie
and cheeses, chutneys, plastic-free crackers
and sparkling Sussex wine and gin. There’ll
be choirs singing
and a Christmas
a kids’ ‘Guess
sprouts in a jar.
And the Lewes Food Market on the
morning of Friday 20th December
promises to be a special
Christmas one, with live
music, a lucky dip and mulled
wine: “the obvious date to get
all your Xmas produce”, says
Market Manager Lucie Inns.
Join us on Friday 20
December for a special
HOT MULLED WINE,
LIVE MUSIC, LUCKY DIP,
FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE
And when you’ve done all your shopping,
why not give yourself a wellearned
treat? What about
a special Chaula’s cocktail
evening? Their Cocktail
Lounge upstairs is well
worth a visit, and will add a
zing to any festive evening. Open
every Thursday, Friday and
Saturday night from 5.30pm. Go
on: this crazy year is nearly over.
THE WAY WE WORK
Photographer Cressida Murray visited four local makers – all of whom
feature in this month’s Artists and Makers Fair – and asked each:
Where will you be spending Christmas?
Cécile Garcia (pattern, print and textile artist)
‘I am looking forward to spending Christmas relaxing at home with my
family and going for wintry walks along the coast.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Caroline Chalton Hellyer, CCH Ceramics
‘Every year we go to Yorkshire, where I grew up.
We hide from the frost in warm old living rooms.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Natasha Caughey, Auricula Jewellery
‘With family on the Suffolk Coast. Escape to beach hut with
mulled wine whilst sister does Christmas Day North Sea dip.’
THE WAY WE WORK
Kirsten Norbury (portrait artist), owner, Artstart Art School
‘l’ll be up on the West Coast of Scotland celebrating the festive
season with my husband’s family and party-loving friends!’
A shop bursting with
including many varieties of
houseplants including all
your festive favourites,
seasonal flowers and fresh
Cliffe High St
Christmas Trees for Sale
P.E. Underhay and Son
Buy from the grower Cut to order Ultra fresh No needle-drop here
Open every weekend in December, 10am to dusk.
Situated on B2124 between Laughton & Golden Cross between Park Lane
& Broonham Lane before ‘Quik Loo Hire’.
From left to right: Tintin calendar, £13.95, Keizer Frames; Camembert Baker & Tunworth Gift
Package £21, Cheese Please; Spongelle Hand creams, £13.50, Browns Hair & Beauty; Scottish Fair
Isle Berets, £22, Closet and Botts; Mr and Mrs mouse tree decorations, £6, made by Gisela Graham,
Sussex Christmas Barn, Barcombe; Lewes Map tea towel, £12, Tourist Information Centre.
Ho ho ho...
Packed with gifts galore, for Christmas...
there’s so much more in your local country store
Broyle House, Ringmer BN8 5NN
Tel: 01273 812707
From left to right: Jellycat sparkly reindeer £30, The Laurels; A4 portfolio in ‘Charleston
Scumble’ pattern, £30, Charleston; mustard vase made from recycled glass, £42, From Victoria;
Life Rocks copper water bottle, £32, Tanya Borowski; ‘Our Planet’ book, £20, Bags of Books;
Wintergreen gift box, £48, bookblock.com; Seven Sisters gin gift pack, £46, Rathfinny;
Recycled Random Wool Rug, £20, Sheffield Park; Pompom garland, £19, Popsicle.
46 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2DD
01273 481048 - firstname.lastname@example.org -
Sussex Cheesemonger & Fine Food Specialist
GIFT BOXES TO SUIT ALL TASTES
- CAN BE MADE BESPOKE -
- VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN OPTIONS ALSO AVAILABLE -
WE ARE NOW TAKING CHRISTMAS CHEESE
PLACE YOUR ORDER EARLY TO AVOID THE
Sussex Christmas Barn
Visit the Christmas Barn, located just outside Barcombe and
choose from a stunning range of Christmas decorations for
your home and tree.
Weekdays 9am - 5.30pm
Saturday 10am - 5.30pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm
Tempting homemade cakes and lunch menu from
our onsite cafe.
Freshly cut 100% UK grown Christmas Trees
Available from Thursday 21st November.
GIPPS FARM, BARCOMBE, EAST SUSSEX. BN8 5EH
WWW.SUSSEXCHRISTMASBARN.CO.UK - Tel: 01273 401021
From left to right: Silver heart pendant on silver chain, £35, David Smith Jewellery; ‘Happy Christmas’
Fawn In The Snow Recycled Wrapping Paper £2.37/sheet, blankinsidedesign.co.uk; Harvey’s
Christmas Ale, £27.20 for pack of 12, Harvey’s; personalised cat bowl, £13, Mary’s; Limoncello
panettone, £16.30, Seasons; felt penguin slippers, £27, Brats; ride-on tractor, £50, Ernest Doe;
robin stud earrings, £40, Alexis Dove; bum bag made from recycled PET bottles, £19.95, Wickle.
Photos by Charlotte Gann
Marina Robb leases ten acres of the (roughly)
180 acre Vert Woods Community Woodland,
just the other side of Laughton. It’s a gorgeous
spot, accessible while feeling completely secluded.
Marina set up her community interest training
company, Circle of Life Rediscovery, in 2006.
“I always wondered”, she tells me, “what would
motivate people to care about the environment.
But, as David Attenborough says, you can’t care if
you don’t know.”
The other thing she’s passionate about is how
being in nature simply helps. “Over half the work
we do is funded,” she says. “We spend days out
here with vulnerable groups, teenagers with mental
health problems, and families with children
with disabilities and learning difficulties. We run
forest schools and trainings, and all our training
Half Italian, she also travelled a lot as a child – “I
was always super curious about different cultures,
different ways of living on this one thing we have
in common, the earth.”
Her single biggest motivator is the idea of
inclusivity, she says. “There’s no point getting on
the bus unless we’re all on the bus together.” She
wants to see a world where everyone is included.
“I want to be part of a change – environmental
It’s inspiring talking to her, especially sitting
on a log in the woods in dwindling autumn
daylight. The air is cool and fresh. There’s no
one else around. “Learning outdoors just is different,”
“The human brain is complex. But when you’re
out here, there’s a levelling effect. The
research shows when we’re out in nature,
we’re more in our bodies, better at regulating
ourselves. Nature itself brings a whole other
set of relationships – ones we’re better off for
being in touch with.”
Marina used to be a primary school teacher,
after studying Environmental Management
and Education. (She’s also the author
of a book called Learning with Nature.) As a
teacher, she says, she could see the difference
when she took the learning outdoors. The
children, and the lessons, came more alive.
So today all her teaching happens outside.
Here, in Mill Woods. “Of course, we do all
you’d expect – fire, food, foraging – but also
lots of imaginative and creative play: we follow
a child’s interests.” As well as their funded
work – which they carry out in partnerships
with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental
Health Services) and FISS (Families Intensive
Support Service) – Marina and her team also
run Wild Family Days open to the public.
“Plus,” she says, “we’re always looking for any
support people can and wish to offer… Also,
in case anyone reading this might be interested,
Vert Woods Community Woodland
is currently looking for a Chair to steer our
passionate committee! Do get in touch.”
There are three things, Marina tells me,
she believes make change happen: nature,
inclusion and meaningful activities. “These
are exactly the things we bring together here
– but do you know how precious they are
to the families we support? It’s everybody’s
birthright to be out in nature and enjoy it –
yet how often do you find, as we have here, a
disabled toilet out in the country?”
Circle of Life Rediscovery are running Family
Wild Days in Mill Woods on Saturday 21st
December and Friday 3rd January.
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Good and fun
Despite ominous weather warnings, my family
come out in force for a day at the races at
Plumpton. My five-year-old cousins Emma and
Molly are excited, and their parents are chuffed
that a large portion of the activities laid on for
this Family Raceday are free, such as elaborate
facepainting, and Derby horse hoppers (winners
pictured). We meet Trolls movie characters, tethered
falcons and owls – all free – and pay for the
girls to try the slides, ball pits, and games. There
is also a mascot race, won by a Womble.
The twins enjoy the all-round horse racing
experience too. Emma is fidget-gleeful while
observing the “beautiful” horses’ braided hair in
the paddock, and oscillates wildly between whom
she wants to win, settling on “all of them”. Molly
is less effusive in her praise. Are you enjoying
watching the horses? Is it good? Fun? “Good.
When they run it will be fun.”
We set up a sweepstake in a paper cup, where
we all put in one pound per race. The mood is
relaxed and non-competitive. My mum pockets
the sweepstake on the second race, for example,
with a horse picked purely “because no one else
wanted him”. Some of us do place higher stakes
bets with the bookies bestriding betting trolleys,
For the fourth race, I like the sound of Limelighter:
I’m fond of both the alliteration and the
theatrical connotations. I go for £2 each way,
getting good odds of 25/1. My horse lingers
around third or fourth for most of the race, but
I suspect it’s calculated pacing. The brown gelding
bursts into life towards the end of the race,
streaking ahead thrillingly… and winning! I win
£32 from my punt.
I catch five minutes of CEO Daniel Thompson’s
time, who explains that under 18s always go free,
and that there are different sorts of racedays
throughout the year, including a Sussex Raceday
where local produce can be purchased in a farmers’
market. There’s a wide selection of local ales
at the bar year-round in fact, including Harvey’s,
Hairy Dog, Silly Moo cider, and Long Man.
The racing-curious might be interested in the
Cheltenham Bonus Series, which draws in big
name contenders from November to February.
If a horse wins one of the nominated Novices
Chases, and then wins any steeple chase at the
Cheltenham Festival, those connected with the
horse win £60,000.
Dan shows me the live Sky Sports feed, which
serves to illustrate the experiential gulf between
watching on TV and attending in person. The
most memorable moment of the day comes from
standing close to the fence on the home stretch
of the track. Molly’s right: watching such bewildering,
stunning animals galloping at full speed
is fun. Joe Fuller
plumptonracecourse.co.uk, next Racedays
2nd and 16th December
Meet new friends of both sexes in a welcoming atmosphere.
Walks, lunches and dinners, golf, theatre trips, pub evenings,
sports and holidays.
We meet on the fourth
Thursday evening of every
month at a pub in Lewes.
Thursday 23rd January, 8pm
Lewes, Wothing, Brighton, Burgess Hill and Horsham.
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Women’s Walking Football
New team seeks members, Lewes FC
Walking Football might
sound like Human
Subbuteo but believe
me it’s just as much fun
as any other variation
of the Beautiful Game.
Beach Football – they’re
all great, but Walking
Football is footie anyone
can play. Chesterfield
FC Community Trust came up with the game
in 2011 as part of a fitness drive for the over 50s
but it was a Barclays Bank ad featuring Roy and
his pals playing on a 3G pitch which really got
the ball rolling.
Steve Rich, then 52, saw the ad and launched the
WFU website. Then, Manchester City started
a Walking Football team, Glasgow Rangers
followed, and now there are tournaments in the
UK and around the globe. There’s even been
an international, England v Italy, at the Amex in
May 2018. England won 2-0.
The rules are simple: no running, no physical
contact, no tackling from behind, no overhead
height. Kick-ins, corners, and penalties, five, six,
or seven-a-side. That’s about it. It’s a strippeddown
version of the game, with the emphasis on
close control and passing.
There’s quite a bit of Walking Football in Sussex,
but not too much when it comes to women
who want to play each other. The founding of
Lewes FC Women’s Walking Football Team
is set to change this. On a crisp cold winter’s
day I went to meet a few of the players, talk to
them about how they got into the game, their
campaign to attract more players, and how they
landed the support of
Julie Busfield is skipper
of the team. “I started
when I was at primary
school – boys came and
knocked because I was
a decent player. But as
I grew older it became
clear that it wasn’t acceptable
to play football.
I was stopped from playing. Then, when I was
58, I heard about Walking Football. So I’ve
played with a Brighton mixed team but when I
was looking for anything for women there was
nothing at all in Sussex.”
I also chat with Tash Fairbanks, who tells me she
went to the Brighton Dome earlier this year and
heard Karen Dobres, a Director of Lewes FC,
talk about the Club’s equal pay policy. “I asked
her if there was a Women’s Walking Football
Team. She gave me Charlie Dobres’ contact
details and Julie got in touch.”
“The Club has given us a free pitch, free kit and
every encouragement,” says Julie. Yes, Charlie
says; the club was delighted to help. “They represent
the terrible injustice that has been done to
women who love football, who just wanted and
continue to want to play. I’m so happy we can
help them get back on the pitch.”
The team’s keen to recruit new players now:
“any woman over 40, experience or no experience,
it doesn’t matter”, says Julie. Is this you?
Tuesdays, 12-1pm, The Rookery 3G Pitch, The
Dripping Pan. For more information email info@
lewesfc.com; and there’s a video on YouTube.
We don’t stop for Christmas, or New Year,
if you need us you can still call 24 hours a day
We wish you a
Lessons from Italy
“After the first match I played in Brescia, I went
to the club bar, and knocked down a few beers,
like we all used to do in Ireland.”
Tony Coade, Lewes FC coach, newly appointed
as joint manager since Darren Freeman stood
down in October, is telling me about the steep
learning curve he underwent when, as a young
man, he started playing in Italy, back in the 80s.
“I didn’t speak a word of the language, but I
sensed that I’d done something wrong, and I
realised that no-one else was drinking. That
the other players were looking at me funny, and
thinking ‘what’s he up to?’ From that day on,
in the five years I played in the country, I didn’t
drink another drop.”
Tony had only meant to spend a couple of weeks
in Italy, but he fell in love with the country, and
decided he had to stay, come what may, for much
longer. Without a word of Italian, he realised the
only job he could possibly get was in football.
He’d played up to the top level in his native
Ireland – for Cork Celtic – and managed to get
into a semi-pro team based in Brescia.
“I became super-fit and had a really good rest-of
season, scoring 17 goals in 15 games, from central
midfield,” he tells me. “I got noticed. And a
pro club, Palazzola, in Serie C1 (the third tier of
national football) gave me a contract in the summer.
I ended up playing there for three years,
alongside some fantastic players, and everything
about my life changed.”
It wasn’t just the drinking culture that was different,
in Italy. “Italian football was very defensive
minded at that time,” he says. “If you went
Photo by James Boyes
1-0 up you were expected to shut up shop and
make sure not to concede, rather than to keep
on attacking. I was an attack-minded player, but
I learnt such a lot about the defensive side of the
game. Being a good player isn’t only about what
you can do with the ball. It’s also about knowing
what to do when you don’t have it.”
Tony moved back to England in 1989, but he
never reached the same heights in English football.
He finished his career at Newhaven Town,
opting to retire when he suffered a long-term
injury, at the age of 28.
I never dropped out of football entirely,” he
says, “and ten years ago, with the support of my
wonderful wife, I decided to take my coaching
badges.” An eventful spell at Peacehaven Town –
as coach, then manager – led to his appointment
at Lewes, where he has been working for the last
So can we expect Lewes FC to set up like a
defensive-minded 1980s Italian team? “We’re
a footballing side who like to play attacking,
passing football,” he smiles. “But you can be sure
that my players will be working hard on their
shape, when they lose the ball. And we won’t go
chasing glory when we’re 1-0 up.”
“What is certain is that hitherto
woman's possibilities have been
suppressed and lost to humanity,
and that it is high time she
be permitted to take her own
chances in her own interest
and in the interest of all.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Lewes FC is the only football club in the world to
pay its women's team the same as its men's team.
Endorse us, support us and help us do more.
JOIN THE CLUB:
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
Learning to talk about it
There is still a very real
stigma around suicide,
Peter Bridgewater tells
me. We find it hard, as
a society, to talk about
it. Despite the fact it is
actually so common: more
people die from suicide
in the UK than from road
accidents; and, tragically,
it’s the most common cause of death among
20 to 35 year olds. But it brings in its wake so
many complicated feelings, and trauma: it’s different
from any other kind of bereavement.
And this is why Survivors of Bereavement
by Suicide (SOBS) exists. “It was set up 28
years ago, by a woman in Hull who had lost
her brother to suicide and couldn’t find any
supportive environment in which to talk about
it. So she put an ad in her local paper, and the
support group model was born.”
This isn’t a counselling service – and the people
who convene and facilitate these groups aren’t
counsellors. It’s a self-help support group. And
everyone involved, including the volunteers,
are themselves survivors – ie they have lost
someone close to them to suicide.
Peter, who for many years ran Ivy Press, on
School Hill, set up and facilitates the Lewes
group with two colleagues. “I lost both my
parents to suicide many years ago,” he tells
me. “My father when I was 21 and my mother
when I was 33.” Peter says he’s lucky to have
supportive brothers: “I’m the youngest; there
are six years between each of us. We’ve always
been able to talk about it. Suicide makes many
people feel blighted; families tend to either pull
closer, or disintegrate. A suicide is like dropping
a hand grenade into a
“Most bereaved survivors
who’ve lost someone
to suicide will experience
guilt, shame and
the ‘what ifs’. There will
always be unanswerable
questions. People never
really resolve the ‘whys’.
Meeting with others who have experienced
similar tragedies can help.”
In the South East, there are currently groups
in Lewes, Hove and Margate. (You need three
people to set one up; more groups would
always help.) The Lewes group has been going
for about four years. It meets twice a month,
and usually, Peter says, “about eight people turn
up to a meeting” (out of 60 to 70 ‘members’).
Peter himself volunteered for the Samaritans at
Eastbourne for 15 years, starting the training
when he was 40; he then spent ten years with
Cruse Bereavement Care, another support service.
He’s happy now that he’s come full circle
and is working supporting others bereaved by
suicide. “There’s often no visible warning whatsoever
before someone takes their life,” he says.
“Half of all suicides have never had any contact
with mental health services.
“We want to raise awareness that our group exists,
and what it does. It’s so helpful for people
who find themselves in this tragic position to
realise they are not alone, nor the only ones.
We’d also like to let everyone know that suicide
is common. We need to find ways of talking
about it…” Charlotte Gann
Contact Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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Illustration by Mark Greco
I’m sure you’ll agree that these are crazy times,
folks. Back in Ancient Rome they had a festival –
Saturnalia – which saw their society turn upside
down for a week each December. It seems Saturnalia’s
traditions of chaos and mayhem are now the
daily norm for us Brits but, as we career towards
Christmas, we have another thing in common with
Saturnalia. We will soon be paying our respects to
the Holly tree.
Holly has been celebrated in many traditions
over the centuries because as a native evergreen
its vibrancy in the dead of winter could easily be
mistaken for immortality. Holly was the sacred
tree of Saturn the Roman God of agriculture. In
pagan tradition the Holly King ruled over the
Oak King from Midsummer to Midwinter. Holly
was easily adopted by Christians who saw many
links between the tree and the life of Christ. Today
Holly remains a centrepiece of our Christmas
decorations, cards and cakes.
Each Holly tree is either male or female. While
both produce delicate white flowers in May it’s
only the female Holly that bears a berry as red as
any blood. When these berries are produced in
profusion it’s taken to be a sign of an oncoming
hard winter although in reality it’s the outcome of
a successful spring. Holly’s prickles provide protection
for nesting birds, their flower buds are food
for the Holly Blue butterfly’s caterpillar and their
ripe berries are essential for thrushes.
If you’re after a tree filled with folklore then, Holly
must take a bow. So if you’re planning to deck
your halls with boughs of the stuff this Christmas
here’s a quick user guide. First off NEVER cut
down a Holly tree – that’s guaranteed bad luck, a
superstition which has spared many Holly trees
from the woodsman’s axe. And make sure you leave
Holly trees in your hedgerows to prevent witches
from running along the top. If you bring Holly
into your home at Christmas it’ll help protect you
from those pesky festive faeries. Only female Holly
leaves under your pillow will allow you to predict
your future in your dreams. Oh, and don’t forget
to get rid of your Holly decorations before Twelfth
Night (but don’t burn them, that’s bad luck too).
Holly trees will protect you against lightning
strikes (I’m not sure if this has been scientifically
proven so don’t blame me if you still get zapped).
And don’t eat the berries, they’re poisonous, but if
you have smallpox you can drink an infusion made
from the leaves.
Stick to those rules folks and you’ll have a peaceful
Christmas. Me? I’ve had enough of the state of
the world today. I’m going to pour some wine,
put on my toga and pretend I’m in ancient Rome.
Somebody pass me my fiddle.
Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement
Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust
Our Christmas message is the same as it is every
year. We urge you to do at least some of your
shopping in the independent (and other) shops
in town, so the local economy will thrive in this
important period for traders. See our shopping
guide on page 99 if you want some ideas.
There’s a Lewes District Council initiative to
encourage you to use the local indies: pick up
a tote bag and stamp card in the Tourist Info,
and get cracking: you stand to win a hamper of
goodies supplied by the shops on the list. And,
of course, don’t forget Late Night Shopping on
December 5th. This year, it promises to be a
(well-lit) cracker: we’ve much more on that on
The Needlemakers continues to be a source
of news. A big welcome to Emma from Along
Came She, setting up in the space next to the
café where Nørd used to be. Emma, a clothing
and print designer, makes and sells bright,
sustainable clothing with young women – and
especially young mothers – in mind. One of her
lines is breast-feeding friendly garments.
Mary Fellows, meanwhile, who used to run a
sweetshop in the same building, and now works
from Sun Studios on Mount Place, is opening a
pop-up in the space in the Needlemakers where
From Victoria used to be, before moving to the
High Street last month. She tells me she’ll be
selling her colourful, self-designed, 50s-influenced
mugs, tea-towels etc, as well as “sweets
and stocking-fillers, throughout November and
until the last customer comes in on Christmas
It’s all go on that floor: over the corridor Tracey,
from Inshanti, selling Indian clothes and home
goods, has had a refit and started up her own
Sadly, there’s another closure in Cliffe: Barracloughs
the opticians are calling it a day in Lewes,
but will continue to run their branches in six
other local towns, from Uckfield to St Leonard’s.
They’ll be trading till December 14th. And,
while we’re down that way, a bit of movement in
Riverside: Organica, those purveyors of organic
houseplants and fair-trade gifts, have moved
downstairs. Do visit their new, fine space.
If you’re thinking of starting a business round
these parts, help is at hand. The Local Enterprise
& Apprentice Platform (which forms the
great acronym LEAP) are offering a free wholeday
business start-up workshop (on Thursday
5th Dec, 10am-4pm) where experts are on hand
to analyse whether your business idea is legal
and viable. Register online at yourleap.co.uk or
call Edeal on 01323 64144.
Which just leaves us space to wish all Lewes
businesses a thriving Christmas period, and a
prosperous New Year! Alex Leith
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Appointments at The Cliffe Clinic & via Skype
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Doctor P. Bermingham
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Assoc. Medical Psychotherapy. Formerly SAP.
Psychotherapy for the psychological core of depression.
Suicidal ideation. Relapse. Supervision of therapists.
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Acupuncture, Alexander Technique, Bowen
Technique, Children’s Clinic, Counselling,
Psychotherapy, Family Therapy,
Herbal Medicine, Massage,
Nutritional Therapy, Life Coaching,
Physiotherapy, Pilates, Shiatsu,
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— Ioannis Georgiadis
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We have a seleccon of beauuful Christmas
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WE OFFER SUPPORT TO ADULTS
BEREAVED OR AFFECTED BY SUICIDE
Phone Peter: 07902 084 397
SURVIVORS OF BEREAVEMENT BY SUICIDE
Charity Number 1098815
We will be closed all day Wednesday
December 25th & Thursday 26th, and
Wednesday 1st January, but open as usual
all other days.
(Closed between 1-2pm)
We can work it out
• BUSINESS ACCOUNTS AND TAX
• MEDIA AND THE ARTS
• CONTRACTORS AND CONSULTANTS
• FRIENDLY AND FLEXIBLE
T: 01273 961334
Andrew M Wells Accountancy
99 Western Road Lewes BN7 1RS 01273 488882
LESSONS AND COURSES
I N C O R P O R A T I N G F L O T Y R E S
DIAGNOSTICS & TPMS
SERVICING AND OIL CHANGE. BRAKES.
COIL SPRINGS/SHOCKS – ALL SUSPENSION
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CLUTCHES, GEAR LINKAGES, DRIVESHAFTS
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Vehicle Servicing, Repairs and MOT Service: 01273 472691
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Award winning jewellery made in Lewes
19 High Street
THURSDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 6-9PM
Whether you’re just starting to think about Christmas shopping or
you’re super organised, and simply need to pick up a few finishing
touches, enjoy an evening of strolling around the town for inspiration.
The High Street will be pedestrianised from the bottleneck to the
bottom of School Hill from 6 to 9pm and all the Lewes pay and display
car parks will be free for the evening after 5pm. Many of the shops,
fairs and galleries will be offering discounts, workshops, quizzes and
delicious festive treats to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Look out for all the street entertainment as you roam. Music will
fill the streets from choirs, bands and bell ringers. There are Morris
dancers, horse and carriage rides and the castle will be busy with the
children’s Fireflies competition followed by performances from younger
entertainers. There’ll be street food, fairground rides and, of course,
Father Christmas will be stopping off at Lewes House.
Lewes is going to feel at its best: a busy medieval County town
on market day. Be sure to check out the shop windows. There’s a
competition for the best-dressed window and Deputy Mayor
Stephen Catlin has the tricky job of picking the winners.
For full details see
There will be street performances from the castle down through Cliffe High Street
including choirs, singers, dancers and other musicians. The only traffic will be the
horse and carriage ride, Morris dancers and the Knots of May will be showing us how
best to keep warm but, for those not feeling that energetic, the roasted chestnuts and
mulled wine should do the trick.
6pm prompt – calling all Firefires to the castle gateway (aka children dressed up in
costumes with LED wow factor). See page 74 for more details.
Prizes for the best costume will be judged by Mayoress Gaynor Lamb and Caroline
Croft from Patina. The Choir from Lewes Old Grammar and young musicians from the
East Sussex Music Service will be performing throughout the evening.
Admission to the Barbican Museum is also free on the night. There’ll be activities in
the galleries and a children’s trail around the museum.
The Christmas Craft Fair returns to Lewes Town Hall (Fisher St. entrance) with over
60 stalls. You’ll be sure to find that perfect gift!
LEWES HOUSE – SANTA’S GROTTO
Santa will be stopping off at Lewes House to hear all your Christmas wishes, so
thinking caps on, kids. For the grown-ups – mulled wine while you wait.
You’ll find festive stalls, food sellers and children’s
fairground rides in the precinct. Look out for the
Silver Sounds Samba Band and, for those watching
their Christmas waistlines, take advantage of dropin
sessions at the Body Happy gym.
Once again, Harvey’s Brewery will host their
traditional yard event from 6pm-9pm where you’ll
be able to enjoy music, a hog roast and BBQ,
vintage vehicles, heavy horses and a well-stocked
bar serving the newly released Christmas Ale.
THE TOWN TRAIL
Win great prizes while getting your shopping done:
take part in The Town Trail (see pages 134-136 for
all the details).
THIS YEAR’S CHARITY
Each year Late Night Shopping aims to raise as
much money as possible for local good causes
and this year their chosen charity is The Bevern
Trust. Volunteers will be out and about in the
town all evening with collecting buckets and
you’ll also find collecting tins on shop counters.
Founded in 1999 by Peter and Heather Frost,
to help their son Jonathan, The Bevern Trust
turns 20 this year. It provides a caring home for
life for ten local disabled adults – a happy home,
full of smiles. It’s also a great place to work, and
an invaulable research and campaigning centre.
(See too our ‘Charity box’ on page 21.)
THE TOWN TRAIL...
Twelve shops are taking part this year. Collect a letter from each shop. Arrange them
into a festive word below. Collect all 12 stamps, complete the anagram, fill in your
contact details, tear out this page and hand it in to any of the participating shops. The
first three entries drawn will win either a Harvey’s hamper, a £25 voucher for Bags of
Books or a Viva stocking filled with goodies from local shops. The prize draw will take
place on Friday 6th Dec. Remember to take your Viva out with you!
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
GET ALL 12 STAMPS IN THE BAUBLES ABOVE
Hand this page into one of the participating shops to be entered in the prize draw
Email address .............................................................................................
Tel no .................................................................................
A BIG THANK YOU
The High Street Traders Association are presenting Late Night
Shopping this year and would like to thank all the wonderful local
traders who go to such thoughtful and generous efforts
to make the evening a great occasion.
Thanks to Santa and his helpers in their grotto, all the bands,
singers, dancers, entertainers and street vendors that help to
bring the streets to life. Thanks to Isaac Reeves for his graphic
designs and everyone who volunteers their time on the evening
including the street marshals, the Town Crier and the judges.
But most of all, thank you to everyone who comes
out to shop and support their local High Street.
We wish you a very happy, healthy and
prosperous Christmas and New Year.
THE DRIPPING PAN
There aren’t many sporting arenas in the country
that have been in continuous use for longer
than The Dripping Pan.
One plausible theory was that the ground was
laid out at the same time as the grassy mound
behind it was erected, in the Tudor period, to
be used for jousting and other such events.
We know for certain that some of the first-ever
organised cricket matches were played there in
the 18th century. There is record of a match
between a 2nd Duke of Richmond’s XI and a
Sir William Gage’s XI, as early as August 1730.
Of course, the ground has been used by
Lewes FC since 1885, and both the Men’s and
Women’s teams still attract three or fourfigure
crowds nearly every week.
In the early part of the 20th century, as the
above photo shows, the Dripping Pan was the
venue for the annual ‘Fire Brigades Competition’
in which brigades from round the county
ran through their drills, against the clock, to
see which could achieve the fastest time.
A contemporary report from the Sussex Agricultural
Times describes the 1906 competition,
which is pictured here. Events included the
Horse Cart Drill, the Four Man Manual Drill,
the Five Man Steamer Drill and the Escape
Drill, in which a dummy was rescued from the
top of a scaffold tower.
This picture, we presume, shows the Four Man
Manual Drill, which was won by the Brighton
Volunteer Brigade. Most of the spectators are
at ground level, but some are perched on the
fence above: we are particularly taken by the
fancy hat of the girl near the centre of the
Interestingly, the newspaper refers to the Dripping
Pan as ‘Mountfield’, thanking the Mayor
and the Corporation for ‘throwing open the
ground’. As the term ‘Dripping Pan’ was already
well established, we can only assume that
the two terms were both simultaneously in use
to describe Lewes’ historic gathering place.
Thanks to Edward Reeves, 159 High Street,
ONE INCH BADGE
GIVE A GIFT OF MUSIC THIS CHRISTMAS WITH OIB GIG TICKETS!
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