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Showing posts from 2012

New Year thoughts - on moving, resolutions for Battleaxe and Hastings

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Last blog post of 2012. Happy New Year - and thanks for reading my blog. Have just had a good rant about the big political things I would like to change for 2013. Read all about it on Bombastic Battleaxe.
     Well, Christmas is over. All our social initiatives went well, and I have the most evil cold.
I got some lovely presents, including several books, including a lovely one called 'Advanced Style' by Ari Seth Cohen.  It is full of stylish and/or mad old ladies in incredible outfits.  Battleaxe is not quite old enough to be totally mad yet, and I am only periodically stylish, but I hope my time will come....You can see what I mean on the Advanced Style blog.
     Philosopher got a Samsung Galaxy Tablet - he seems to like it so far.
     How much longer is it going to stay wet?  The day before Christmas Eve we discovered a little river running down the drive from under the house.  The neighbours told us it is a spring, and that it has appeared only once before in the 35 yea…

Christmas...Birmingham - we prefer Hastings!

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Here are Battleaxe's and Philosopher's Christmas lights. Last year we drove up here to look at our new house, and the entire road was in darkness - not one lousy light.  So this year we thought we'd show these lily-livered Southerners what for.... We also have our famous dancing and singing Santas installed, but unfortunately their motion detector is a bit knackered - they now dance and sing loudly and frantically all the time they are switched on, which lowers the tone of the neighbourhood a bit...
     This week we went on our Christmas visit to Birmingham.  Wet wet wet drive back - the A21 from John's Cross Island was closed due to floods, so we had to go via Battle - you can imagine how bad the traffic was, inching along the crowded High Street....
    We went up on Tuesday, met Grand-daughter Eve from school and took her back to her Dad's for take-away pizza. We stayed with friends Sue and Alex - next day was hectic round of visits to friends. Philosopher and …

Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition - Battleaxe takes a view

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Before we get onto art, a thought about weather... Walking in the Country Park this morning, the glare of the sun on the sea was so bright I could scarcely open my eyes.  Yesterday was dark, miserable and damp, and Thursday was one of the worst days I can remember since we came to Hastings - howling raging gale all night and then all day, the house moaning and wailing like Hollywood ghosts, great soaking waves of rain just lashing out of the sky.  Philosopher was in town - he went to catch the bus back from Robertson Street and men had taken apart the bus shelter to mend it.  He was absolutely totally drenched. When we were in Birmingham, the weather was not nearly so noticeable.  Here, every morning when I draw back the curtains and look down at the sea, it is a new adventure.
     Yesterday we went to the Jerwood Gallery to view the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition. Coffee first -amazing wild views from the cafe of huge waves - sheets of water pouring over the harbour arm.
     Had…

Battleaxe the writer - and the Hastings Writers' Group

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As last Friday was the annual Presentation evening of the Hastings Writers' Group, I am devoting a slightly more introspective blog post to my writing efforts, and to talk about what it is like to belong to the Group.
     I've been a member of HWG for a year now - I joined up even before we moved down here full-time, partly to start to meet people, and partly to progress my writing.
     I'd done an Open University creative writing course, which I didn't get that much out of, to be honest. The workbooks and exercises were good, but our tutor was a very intense, breathy poet. His cheesecloth shirts were unbuttoned to show a positively Simon Cowell-ish man cleavage (or heavage as celebrity magazines call it - heave is about right) and I don't really do intense or breathy.  I went to one day school and there were people reading out Dark, Dark, Black, Black or more like Purple prose.
     Back then, I planned to write a best-selling novel about....housing associations…

Hastings Old Town - bonkers! Battleaxe - bonkers!

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While I was taking photographs for the Shop Guide (post before this one and proving very popular), I couldn't help noticing how many truly bonkers things there are in the Old Town at the moment.
     Some are Christmas displays, some are just sort of hanging about....I snapped a selection last weekend while we were having our usual junk trawl.
     As ever, we went for a poke round in the yard in Courthouse Street - they have some really indescribable mouldy old tat on sale there. However, one day, several years ago, I found one of the china spaghetti poodles I collect lurking at the back of some grungy hut, and am constantly drawn back to the yard in the idle hope that there may be another....I know it is silly and illogical, because I scarcely ever see one anywhere. I remind myself of Punch, one of the many dachshunds my parents kept when I was a child. One time, and one time only, he saw a rat emerge from a particular hole in the garden.  From then on, as soon as he was let ou…

Best shops in Hastings and St Leonards

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Aaah...shopping. One of Battleaxe's favourite occupations, and one of the joys of living round here, because we have so many independent shops. Clothes, shoes, junk and antiques, vintage and retro, art, bits and pieces - I love them all.  Firstly, look at my Golden Rules for running successful small shops on Bombastic Battleaxe.  I found it hard to rank the shops I chose to include, so I'll just start with the Old Town High Street, and then move along to St Leonard's. Not so many there, partly because  I am leaving antique/junk places and galleries for a future exercise, but also, many shops come and go quickly. Could it be that they are not following the Golden Rules?

Made In Hastings - Old Town High Street
Run by, and showcases work from, a group of local artists and makers - I particularly like painter Claire Fletcher, and potter Judith Rowe. Shop is attractively laid out, interesting to browse in and always smells nice - lavender, I think. Staff are always welcoming - …

Herrings and cattern cakes at Hastings Herring Festival - and Skyfall

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Well, honestly, this wet weather is getting a bit much.
     It rained solidly yesterday - we went down into town and saw Skyfall at the Hastings Odeon.
Shared the cinema with most of the population of East Sussex, who had clearly had the same idea to cheer up a wet, miserable Saturday.  Our screen was packed tight with mega-huge tubs of popcorn and erupting super-size cups of fizzy pop - and that was without all the damp steamy people. Lots of quite small kids too, who wanted to go to the toilet lots of times - unsuitable film, and all the pop, I guess.
    The film was quite classy, but we didn't actually like it that much compared with the earlier Bond movies - too little action and too much talk, and the plot seemed contrived. No wonder the kids got bored.
     Wind howled alarmingly round the house all night - we both slept badly.
     Today looked sunny at the start of the day, so we went down to the Old Town - I wanted to photograph shops for my Top Ten shops blog post (comin…

Stables Theatre, Hastings - 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist'

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Had friend from Brum, Jackie, to stay for a couple of days.  Weather evil, unfortunately, with very strong wind. For some crazy reason she fancied swimming in the sea, but luckily it was too rough....Yes, I know I said earlier in the year that I wanted to swim in the sea more often, but completely draw the line at a wet, windy November day. I think I would have a heart attack.....
   We nearly got blown off the top of Beachy Head, then took Jackie to sample the delights of the Eastbourne Waitrose - we needed to stock up on a few totally vital items, (including President Spreadable butter, Bunderberg diet ginger beer and Waitrose dried fruit cereal topper!)  and secure a Heston's whole orange Christmas pudding.  Then had lunch at the Counting House pub - so handy for Waitrose, dears.
    Last night we went down to see 'The Accidental Death of an Anarchist', by Dario Fo, at The Stables Theatre.  It was OK, entertaining, and funny, but not totally great - I thought the guy wh…

Favourite Hastings and St Leonard's views - one year today!

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We have been living in Hastings for exactly one year. The place is starting to feel like home, but we will always be newcomers to the locals here...
     The visual appeal of Hastings struck us immediately.  Before we moved here permanently, we rented a little place on the West Hill, right by Emmanuel Church - we would keep spotting the tower from all over town. Philosopher took a series of photographs of it and posted them anonymously through the Vicar's letter-box. We learned that in WW2, the Germans used the church as a landmark when they flew across on their way to bomb London.
     Here is the tower, photographed from Shearbarn - nearly a mile away across the valley.
This collection of views is not exhaustive - it is just what occurs to me now....
The West Hill
It always lifts my spirits to walk across from the Croft Road end and see the view open upahead, and then to sit on the terrace of the cafe. The view in the other direction, to Beachy Head across St. Leonard's, is a…

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