A new sporting award for young people in Seaford and Alfriston has been launched by The Martello Rotary Club of Seaford.

The Seaford Youth Sports Awards will recognise and reward young people nominated by their peers and supporters for extraordinary sporting achievements over the last year.

There are several opportunities for businesses to support what Martello Rotary Club hopes will be an exciting and prestigious event.

Nominations are invited in the following categories: Young Sports Volunteer of the Year, Young Sportsperson Showing Excellent Commitment to Their Sport, Most Improved Young Sportsperson of the Year, Junior Team of the Year, and Young Sportsperson of the Year.

The Awards Ceremony will be held on the evening of November 22, 2014, at Seaford Head School.

Individuals and teams nominated for the top three awards must be able to attend this ceremony.

This is your opportunity to nominate young sports stars for efforts to improve their game and their team work.

The Martello Rotary Club of Seaford welcomes nominations from Sports Clubs, Schools and any Organisations that feel they have exceptional young sports stars in their midst.

Application forms can be found at The Seaford Youth Sports Awards site: 

The Martello Rotary Club of Seaford also invites support and sponsorship from business firms for this prestigious event. 

Please visit the following: details.

Thai Marina in Eastbourne

Closeup of pad Thai, a Thai dish made from ric...
Closeup of pad Thai, a Thai dish made from rice noodles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After rummaging around a car boot sale recently, the temperature in the car hit 32 degrees Celsius and we fled to for lunch - and shelter - to Thai Marina in Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne.

Thai Marina had a tent-like canvas covering the waterfront-facing part of their restaurant and we were eager to settle there. Fortunately, we had booked through Toptable.

Probably, the Thai people are used to the heat and quick to put up sophisticated summer cover. There was nothing else like it there; and hot looking people clustered around the few umbrella coverings at other restaurants.

 At Thai Marina, under shelter, a charming couple with a small child were finishing a gorgeous-looking dessert and smilingly said they were nearly ready to go. 

 There were other hopefuls hovering but none had booked for lunch, which was a bonus. We downed at least a jug of water while we waited in a less expansive part of the restaurant, delaying our order until we were safely under canvas.

 The menu has all the classics you'd expect, such as Green Curry and Pad Thai, as well as newer dishes like Lamb Cutlets or Tamarind Sea Bass.

 The squid fritters with a wasabi dipping sauce were fantastic and my slightly conservative friend enjoyed his crispy vegetable roll with sweet chili dipping sauce.

 In the summer months, Thai Marina offers alfresco dining all day and through the evening and on the weekends, you can enjoy the Thai summer barbecue by the waterside.

 They are also one of the few restaurants around to offer Dim Sum dishes; and also offer a classical version of my favourite: Pad Thai, which combines stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts and picked white radish, with cashew nuts and lime.

I followed with another favourite: Tom Kha Gai Mapraow Orn - chicken soup with coconut milk, mushroom, galangal, lemongrass, chili and lime. Chilli is actually cooling on a hot day!

Rob had a Chicken Stir Fry and we shared a plate of the beautiful fruit and icecream dish that enchanted us on the earlier couple's table.

With a fruit juice for Rob and a glass of wine for me, plus lashings of cool water, the cost came to about £35. Very reasonable indeed and the service was excellent.

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From Jeremy's to Michael Palin

It's my birthday and it's such a beautiful day in Seaford. Have been up since 6am.

Reading a library book from one of my favourite places, the Seaford Library (click here for their temporary site).

The book is Sahara by Michael Palin, whose travels I once used to publicise for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His books are even better than the travelogues.

His frank and often droll observations include remarks like this one: "The Djermaa el-Fna is part fairground, part theatre, part zoo, underscored with a frisson of mysticism and primitive ritual.

Sahara (Michael Palin)
Sahara (Michael Palin) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Despite my appetite for all things strange and wonderful, I feel more and more of an outsider as the evening wears on... Repetitive, remorseless rhythms shred away the layers of consciousness until you either give in or, as I did, flee the whole madness and retreat to the wonderful world of bland resort hotels."

This was a turnaround from his first reaction to Marrakesh, beloved of hippies and dreamers of all kinds. He describes the new part of the city as "colourful and expansive, with broad avenues and a Las Vegas-like dazzle and swagger."

But the old town scared him off.

This is the sort of writing I love for leisure reading. All the same, the librarians at Seaford Library are some of the most helpful I've ever met.

They are happy to look up books when your own expertise on the reference computer fails; and will willingly order archived books from the library book dungeons of Sussex, if you wish.

Seaford's temporary housing in Blatchington Road is sunny and airy; it seems that way even when the rain tips in buckets from the trees overhanging the parking lot.

Yes, there's free parking. This makes it a boon for anyone, like me, who temporarily has a gammy leg and can't get to them on foot or public transport.

Now to see if my Brighton chum can be ready to leave by 1pm instead of 1.30pm so there's a chance of getting to Jeremy's Restaurant, Borde Hill, before the kitchen closes.

Jeremy's Restaurant, near Haywards Heath, has just won the coveted Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year for the South-East.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Curzon Cinema, Langney Road, Eastbourne  BN21 3EU
Telephone: 01323 731441

This film is a must for baby boomers: how to grow old disgracefully.

After a 10 week run at the Curzon, Eastbourne, they’ve started another short run due to the film’s extraordinary popularity. 

Although this film finishes its present run today - 1 May - you can VOTE to get it back again. Let Curzon's Manager, Roy Galloway, know you want to see it.

A certain Indian Hotel is offering ‘outsourcing’ to the aged of Britain. It delivers its protagonists and armchair viewers, alike, to an India of vibrant colours, crashing discords, tumbling castles and inedible food (compared with Hob Nobs and English chutney).

It also highlights the magic of India, alongside extremes of poverty and wealth; and – above all - the urgent sense of joie de vivre that is so much part of this fascinating country.

Those outgoing to India are a handful of ageing people who object to being categorised as cot cases when they’re still more-or-less whole, of sound mind.

It spells out harshly the situation in much of Britain where the elderly are marginalised and clapped into beige 'prisons' with handrails and buttons in the corner for help but no humanity.

The first time I went to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was with three friends in Brighton. The youngest, merely in his late 50s, sighed that “Judi Dench is always the same.” The other couple thought it was a ‘feel-good film’ but seemed a tad uncomfortable over actually enjoying it. 

I’ve been fascinated by the way this film mirrors us all and outrages those who are most fixed in personal habit.

On my second visit, from the moment I found a seat, took off my sunglasses and lost my bag under the seat, I began to smile. And I was smiling like the Cheshire Cat as I made my way out the door to my car, parked – almost miraculously – only 20 metres from the cinema doors.

Although the sentiments in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are indeed sometimes superficial, there’s a lot of depth to be found within it. When the ‘old cream’ of classical British cinema are given the chance to tackle something so close to home, it is certainly something to be applauded. And enjoyed!

The cast includes Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was adapted for the screen by Ol Parker from Deborah Moggarch’s novel, These Foolish Things. It was directed by John Madden and produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czemin.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel runs at the Curzon, Eastbourne, until 1 May.

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Gardening by Compass

Quite aside from half-price offers on magnolias and other lovelies for Garden Club members, here’s a useful little function on the Garden Centre Group's website...

Go here and hit whichever compass aspect is most influential in your garden.

For me, the dominant direction is east. Alas, being by the sea brings a new bunch of challenges. My plants prefer a certain garden in Eastbourne.

After five years of trying, I’ve let the succulents take over the patio and good luck to them. They do it without any aid from me and apparently thrive on sea spray!

Free Advice and Free Pudding…

For the rest of April, Garden Club members can get expert tips on herbaceous borders. 

This includes planting and caring for these soul-lifting summer plants. You can also ask for advice on saving water and staying green.

When you’ve found everything you need for the garden, take some time out and feed yourself.

Something for Everyone

Everyone can enjoy Fish and Chips (with haddock) at £7.95 or try the Great Sunday Lunch – roast with vegetables - at Garden Centre Group restaurants for £8.95, every Sunday from 12 noon.

Club members get free pudding with every item from the specials board over £7.45. And other special offers include a hearty Breakfast Ciabatta with Tea for £4.95.

Club members over 60 can go one better and tuck into two courses with tea or coffee on Mondays and Tuesdays, just £7.95 (with a main course from the Specials Menu).

The Thrifty Gardener

Until April 29, The Garden Centre Group is offering half-price deals on seasonal plants. Click here for the full range, which includes magnolias, seed potatoes and forsythias.

Spring Offers

While you’re browsing the seasonal plant deals, don’t forget to check out the Spring Offers.
These include herbaceous plants, British-grown bedding and pretty planters all in a row. Stunning patio plants are now 3 for 2 (usually £1.79 each).

April Blooms

Just click on the last word of the following plants to find out more about them. These are just some April favourites.

Scabious'Pink Mist'
Primula'Millers Crimson
Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' (my favourite)
Clematis 'Fragrant Oberon'

The Garden Centre Group’s  advice for April is spot on with suggestions to keep vulnerable plants and new shoots protected at night, mulching (while you can still see what you’re doing) and recruiting birds to practice snail bashing on handy flat stones you provide.

Exploring the Lewes Branch, near Kingston

Halfway between Rodmell of Virginia Woolf fame (and the excellent Abergavenny Pub) and Lewes you will find the Lewes branch of the Garden Centre Group. It's just across from the turn-off to Kingston.

Gardening Club

If you’re going to make a serious practice of gardening, join the Garden Centre Group’s Gardening Club. It’s free to join and you can see above just how useful membership is.

Not only do you get some very useful privileges, you can access The Gardener’s Handbook and get a gorgeous magazine posted to you covering important dates in gardener’s social calendar.

Over 60s get Double Points on Tuesdays

Garden Centre Group members receive double points on Tuesdays for all purchases made.

Preview events

As a 'Club' member you'll receive invitations to special events and seasonal previews at your local garden centre

Read more 

Magnolias Star at Nyman Gardens

A trip to Nyman Gardens yesterday brought exactly the conditions I had  hoped for but missed over the last two years - a marvellous display of magnolias.

Japanese Magnolia at Nymans Gardens.
Photo by V.DuBourdieu©2012
The huge Japanese Magnolia trees just behind the restaurant and shop were a virtual wedding feast in white or exquisite tones of pink;  while burgundy and cream Magnolia Grandiflora blooms were also unfurling themselves gracefully.

As a backdrop, there were sunny daffodils; and some azaleas and rhododendrons, but the camellias had largely exhausted themselves in the spring preparations.
The National Trust runs Nymans Gardens.

Picturesque ruins - part of the Nymans
House, Gardens and Woods. 

Photo by V.DuBourdieu©2012

Nyman's Shop
It struck me yesterday that I had never touched on the goods to be bought in Nyman's Shop.

There are some excellent offers in the garden sale area in front of the shop, just beyond the white paling fences with drifts of daffodils in tubs providing a colourful spectacle in front of the fence.

Additionally, there was someone whittling on some robust wood carvings; and there were a number of cute decorative additions to add to your garden if desire takes you that way

Within the shop itself are a number of excellent books on gardening - you can get Head Gardener Ed Iken's book at Amazon if there are no copies there - as well as cards, pots of jams and pickles, pretty gift ideas and practical kit, from secateurs to gardening gloves.

You might also like to take part in some of the many different events at Nymans Gardens over the next few 
months. And don't miss the Green Gardening and Composting Introductory Talk on Friday 27 April at 11am (£10).

For a complete list of events at Nymans Gardens, please click here.  
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Daffodils and Nails in the High Weald

Yesterday, I did a "spring flower run" to the High Weald area of West Sussex... and landed a flat tyre.

Magnolias and daffodils, Nyman Gardens

The magnolias at Nyman's were perfect and my next stop was High Beeches, where the daffodils swept down up hill and down dale. (I'll report later on both these places.)

Then on Thursday, it's Borde Hill, also near Handcross.

On my way home, an elegant man at Waitrose in Lewes asked, "Did you know your back tyre's flat?" Eccchh, as Mullah Nasruddin might say.

I hared it back the 10 miles to Mardon Motors in Seaford and arrived just before they closed. Very kindly, Phil drove my car round the back and Glen immediately zapped the offending wheel off and put the spare tyre in its place.

There was a large nail in the tyre and he promised it would be checked out by the time I went in for my MOT on Friday.

Meanwhile, I asked Glen for a lesson in how to work the handy tyre pressure and pump I had bought and stored under my front passenger seat a year ago. Ahem, right, I had not learned how to use it. 

But it looks quite easy when someone shows you carefully what to do.

A neighbour put me onto Mardon's several years ago and they're a great crew: Julie on reception, married to Phil, plus Paul and Glen.

My hairdresser takes her Audi to them and several other people I know go there too. They have a popular garage.

From my viewpoint, it makes driving so much easier when you have a reliable repair firm to keep your car ticking over properly.

Mardon Motors, 81 Steyne Rd, Seaford

Over the years I've found that repairs are not only less in cost than they would be through the Vauxhall franchise (I run a Vauxhall Agila), they give straight, no-nonsense advice on what you need... and what you don't need. I like that.

Thanks guys! (And Julie). 

Ring them on: 01323 894019

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