Rustington Church, high tides and the Dark Side…

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November 2, 2015 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette October 22nd. 2015

I WAS christened in the lovely church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Rustington village, my sister was married there and although I am not big on religion I do love old churches, quiet places, sanctuaries, wooden pews, places for quiet reflection. I get a gentle feeling of wellbeing from some and a feeling of a lost opportunity from others but always the former from St. Peter’s and I often pay it a visit. It has that taste of history, of genuine intent, a peaceful warmth from tiled floor to vaulted ceiling. So many familiar names hidden among the tombstones, so many memories of Sunday school visits.  I dropped by last week but the church was closed, I looked through the builder’s wire fence and was stunned, it appeared that the traditional heart had been ripped out of the church and I walked away saddened and somewhat angry. I wondered how the custodians of the church could have allowed, even sanctioned, such drastic alterations. Of course it is no business of mine and I assume that regular worshipers, members of the congregation, are happy with the changes but not this passing stranger. Gone forever the irreplaceable, mystical atmosphere, the medieval smell of history that goes beyond the religious concept of a place of worship.

HIGH tide, flat calm and gin clear, the sea off Littlehampton for most of last week. A sea, according to a local fisherman, packed with sturdy fish including good sized plaice and sole but mostly with healthy and abundant cod which, it appears is no longer in decline in the English Channel. Even so, fisherman who catch beyond their quota are still not allowed to land them and although dead are required to return the cod to the sea from whence they came. Why has this crazy ‘discard’ policy continued? Why has it taken so long for the politicians to bring an end to this wasteful practice? And, where have the local cormorants gone?

MOVIE horror magazine The Dark Side, produced and edited by movie buff Allan Bryce is 25 years old this month. Allan reminded me that I founded the title and as publishing editor launched it to the world from The London Dungeon way back in 1990. I can only say that, judging by his photograph and the super production of the current issue, that he and The Dark Side have aged considerably better than I.  

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