This week: it’s Christmas season. I don’t have an advent calendar and I am yet to buy a single present. This is causing a constant, dull sense of impending doom. As I am still relatively unfit after my operation, I am consoling myself by obsessively buying decorative paper decorations from eBay from the safety of the sofa. I even had an emergency minced pie to try to convince myself that I am not losing, in the annual, all consuming competition that is Christmas. But, I got myself together today, taking my first, wobbly, post-baby walk into town to gather gift ideas, and I am willing to share them with you. So check my gift guide, published this weekend, if you are in a panic over what to buy your beloved or even not-so-beloved this Christmas.
Well, I am amazed, in this small town, that I am able to feature events that include two of my greatest loves: the beach and rollerskating. I grew up on the Atlantic coast, moving onto the (slightly less romantic sounding) Channel coast – I feel almost claustrophobic if I am too far inland. The sound of seagulls soothes like a morning cup of tea. As for the rollerskates, I bought my first (adult) pair at 16, and though the busy, cobbled and traffic-heavy streets of Rye are prohibitive, my white leather skates are still one of my prized possessions. I promise you, it is impossible not to be happy when you’re on rollerskates. Or on the beach. Just don’t mix the two. My pick of this week’s events have added feelgood factor, which I’ve heard is in high demand during the festive season.
Festive Beach Clean: Saturday December 6, 10-1pm. Meet at Rye Harbour car park
Give an early Christmas gift to the beach this year! Join a group clean-up of rubbish on the beach, enjoy the wildlife and wintering birds of the reserve along the way, and enjoy a post-cleaning hot soup at Lime Kiln Cottage. Bring work gloves if you can.
Roller Disco: Rye Sports Centre Sunday December 7, 3-5pm
£3 entry, in aid of Demelza Hospice Care for Children
Festive fancy dress is optional but I would never condone opting out! Plus there is a prize for best festive costume. Christmassy, charitable, healthy and fun!
Earl Grey’s Gingerbread Gentlemen, Rye Deli
Gentrification is a contentious issue, but here is one sign it can be a good thing. Gingerbread men are definitely better in top hats.
Rye-based photographer Louis Neville
The image below, titled Fairfield Frost, is my reason for featuring Neville. His photographs are breathtaking and he is getting some serious recognition, notably, being nominated for Landscape Photographer of the Year as well as featuring in its 2014 book Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 8 and in an innovative exhibition at Waterloo Station where his image of St Thomas à Becket church on Romney Marsh, appears on a 40 metre long LCD scree. The exhibition runs until January 31. For a preview of the winners follow the link. Framed prints are available from £130.
TO TALK ABOUT
The Christmas window displays on our High Street are better than ever this year. Completely unscathed by chainstores, Rye is home to a collective of the best independent stores in the country. For exciting, unique and affordable gifts, Rye punches well above its weight. I’m still counting the days until we get a decent off-licence though.
It was a surprise when I had a phone call this week, to tell me that the lights on Rye High Street are not being switched on this Christmas. They were never taken down after last Christmas and are apparently “unsafe”. You will probably notice that the balcony of The George in Rye is also void of its usual, giant Christmas tree, and centre piece of the switching-on-of-the-lights. What’s going on? I hear that there was once a Rye Christmas committee which no longer exists. It’s time to get together on this and put the old sparkle back on our High Street.