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Battleaxe learns about performing poetry - with Live Canon

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As readers will know, I have made efforts to take part in poetry readings, with varying degrees of success. One of my resolutions for this year was to do better, so booked onto a one-day course in London with an outfit called Live Canon.      If you want to know what I am talking about see previous posts, eg the WI Literary Lunch and St Clement's Church and the horrors of St Leonard's Festival. 
     We do have Slam Dunk -  a poetry slam night in Hastings - I've been to watch, but there are rather a lot of what I describe as 'ranters' and others who seem to think that the merits of a poem lie in maximum amounts of effing and blinding twattery ... I know that's a bit unfair and it's probably only me making excuses for not joining in...
Live Canon  has an ensemble that performs and records poetry. It publishes poetry and puts on competitions and poetry events.  It is largely run by free-lancers, volunteers etc., but seems to be a really good thing.  The leade…

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Battleaxe seeks winter sun....and fails

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Just back from 5 days in Las Palmas, Gran  Canaria. In my last post I mentioned urgent need for sun. This was our attempt to get some. It was not successful.
Before Battleaxe starts slagging everything off, l’ll say that Philosopher and I do enjoy our holidays. It is always good to explore somewhere new, and I thought Las Palmas would suit us as it is a proper city. As readers will know, I do love old hotels. Anything described as ‘faded grandeur’ or a ‘grand old lady’ on Tripadviser, I’ll go for it.
      So I spotted the Hotel Santa Catalina in Las Palmas. Opened in 1889, Victorian Colonial style, the oldest in the islands, stayed in by the usual globetrotting suspects - Winston Churchill, Maria Callas, Ernest Hemingway and of course the King of Spain. Despite being undeniably faded, it still rates as 5* and was unfeasibly expensive, but hey, we were only there a few nights....

Why do we so often have bad weather luck on holiday? We’ve shivered in Paris, frozen in Granada, …

Hastings Battleaxe is under the weather.....

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Well, I know what the old wives meant by that phrase... Battleaxe feels oppressed by this January. We have had a few sunny days, but also what feels like endless rain, strong winds, dank misty days where it never seems to get light. I envy other parts of the country their crispy snow. So what does Battleaxe do to cope with this miserable winter?Firstly, trying to avoid eating too much.  Am deeply attracted to roast dinners, mashed potato, buns, cake, thick slices of buttered toast, chocolate, red wine....  There is clearly something in those foods that has benefit - is it carbs? Is it the magic ingredients in chocolate and red wine? So, I'm not cutting any of them out, even if weight remains static.
Next, keeping up some exercise. I find that if I put on my bluetooth headphones, get up some feel-good cheesy disco or Latin/ballroom music and dance energetically around the house for 30 minutes I feel firstly, better, and secondly, virtuous.  I know that me leaping about drives Philo…

Will Battleaxe become a graceful Silver Swan - or just a great big Turkey...

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Yesterday, I went to my first Silver Swans ballet class, for over-55 beginners. You may well ask, what on earth is going on?  What is it all about? Have I ever done such a thing before, and most important, will I be able to do it?     The Silver Swans programme is an initiative from the Royal Academy of Dance to encoourage older people to take up ballet - it has all sorts of health benefits including maintaining/improving posture, balance, strength, mobility and cognitive functioning. I discover that the Silver Swans 'Ambassador' is Angela Rippon. Well, she may be 74 but she is thinner and fitter than I have ever been. Here is a piece about her ballet dancing. Still, Battleaxe has lsot a good deal of weight since the gall-bladder business a couple of years ago. Keeping it off is a problem....
     Philosopher and I do Pilates every week - we have a lovely teacher, Eugenie, who comes to the house. She charges very reasonably and we get her undivided attention - no skulking at …

Hastings Battleaxe recovers, recommends - Wetherspoons at Beaconsfield M40 Services

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First post of 2018, and a quick recommendation. We drove up to Birmingham over New Year, and as usual, stopped at Beaconsfield Services. It is a positive Hades of a place, a hideously crowded, squalid, echoing shed with the noisiest loo hand dryers in the whole world.  But the Wetherspoons? A haven of relaxing tranquility.
      Beaconsfield services is the half-way point between Hastings and Birmingham, and we often stagger in there for a respite after a hellish journey on the M25.
      I've been aware of the Wetherspoons since it opened in 2014, but felt a bit iffy about the idea of a pub at a motorway services. It attracted quite a bit of negative publicity. Somehow I also thought it would be grungy, or too difficult, or something - I dunno.
     But it was recommended to us by friends, so we ventured in, both on the way up, and on the way back.
      Well, what a surprise. So peaceful. They serve up good solid Wetherspoons food. I'm not snobby about Wetherspoons meals, a…

Happy New Year from Hastings Battleaxe - and 6th Blogoversary

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Christmas is over, and New Year beckons. Tomorrow is Battleaxe's sixth blog birthday. Here are a few thoughts about the year just gone, and the year to come. All the pictures on this post, celebrating Hastings,  have been taken this month - what a variety of weather....  Did you realise that as from 1 January, every person alive will have been born in the twentieth century?
       I am not going to bother writing about the state of the world (grim) or the state of the country (grimmer). There is absolutely nothing I can do about any of it. Even if Battleaxe had a significant voice, those in power are totally unmoved by protests, ranting and raving or even presentation of facts or reasoned arguments. They call any whisper of dissent Fake News or, in this country, unpatriotic behaviour or downright treason. 
       What of Hastings?  Well, the grim national situation means that as usual, it is one of the UK's most deprived seaside towns, with above average unemployment, reduce…

Battleaxe gets into the Christmas spirit....

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Merry Christmas all! Yes, it's nearly here... presents are wrapped, house all lit up, much socialising has happened, too much food consumed..... the build-up to the big event seems to have gone on for weeks this year.  Here is the festive scene chez Battleaxe:

    We do love Christmas lights..... Our little close is gradually getting in on the act, but our house is still a beacon of sparkly vulgarity in he midst of discreet gentility.... 
     In the past ten days, as well as the WI do and the outing to the pantomime mentioned in previous posts, Battleaxe has been to London twice, once to meet old friend Pete who has just landed an excellent new job as Chief Executive of Bournville Village Trust,  and once with Philosopher to meet Anna for very nice lunch at National Gallery plus present exchange.  Both involved big meals. I would recommend the National Cafe restaurant at the National Gallery - on the ground floor at the east end of the building.  So handy for Charing Cross, and …

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