As promised, opening times over the Christmas period for some of the shops that you might need to use: The paper shop will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well the afternoon on New Year’s Day. The Hardware Shop will be closing at 4pm on Christmas Eve, opening again on New Year’s Eve and then normal service will be resumed on 2 January 2019. Handcross Butchers will be open on Saturday and Sunday between 7 am and 3 pm and then on Christmas Eve between 6 am and 2 pm for you to pick up your Christmas orders. They will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, normal hours Thursday to Saturday, closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and again normal hours from 2 January 2019. The Spar Shop will be closing at 6 pm on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, normal hours until New Year’s Eve when they will close at 6 pm, reopening on 2 January 2019. If you were thinking that you’d get out of making sandwiches for your lunch between Christmas and New Year by purchasing from Picnic, I’m afraid you’re out of luck as they will be closed from tomorrow, Friday, reopening in the New Year.

With regard to ‘Bin Days’: if your bins are emptied on a Monday as I know some are in the village, Monday, 24th’s collection will be on Saturday, 22nd; Tuesday, 25th’s will be on Monday, 24th. Monday, 31st’s collection will be as normal and Tuesday 1st’s collection will be Wednesday, 2nd. There will be no garden waste collections between 24 December and 4 January; collections will return to normal from Monday, 7 January 2019. If you have a garden waste bin, you can put your real Christmas tree in it for recycling but you do need to make sure the lid will close. If you don’t have a green bin, you will be able to take your tree up to the Recreation Ground where there will be an area cordoned off for collection; please remember this will be for real Christmas trees only. Full details of rubbish and recycling collections over the festive period can be found at Mid Sussex District Council’s website, www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling.

If you are already thinking about your New Year’s resolutions: and would like to give something back to the village, Help at Hand could do with one or two mornings a month of your time as a Duty Officer. What is involved in being a Duty Officer? A Duty Officer is a volunteer who is at the end of a phone taking calls from those who need to get to not only medical appointments but other appointments and are unable to do so under their own steam and need a lift (but please note this is not a taxi service). The Duty Officer will take the details of their appointment and then match them with a volunteer driver. It is not an onerous role but one that provides a lifeline to many in the village; I don’t think I would be out of line by saying that the majority of the current duty officers have been doing this for many years – 10 or 20 years if not more – and would like to pass the baton on to younger members of the community. If you are interested, either to volunteer as a Duty Officer or a driver, please get in touch with Ian on 07973 332420 or email at janeandianr@hotmail.co.uk.

If you are user of the Community Bus: taking advantage of any of the regular scheduled routes, the last Bus for 2018 will be on Christmas Eve to Horsham and the first Bus for 2019 will be on Wednesday, 2 January again to Horsham. The 271 and 273 between Crawley and Brighton will be running but I’m afraid I am not aware of what sort of service will be running and would therefore recommend you check on Metro Bus’s website (www.metrobus.co.uk) or call on 01293 499191 before travelling.

Finally: as this is my last column for 2018 I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind comments and support over the past 12 months. I wish you and yours a happy and peaceful Christmas and may all your hopes and dreams for 2019 come true and hope you will continue to read my ramblings next year! Happy Christmas!