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Showing posts from June, 2013

Battleaxe domestic dramas - oven cleaning, computers...

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Let's get this straight from the start, I'm no domestic goddess (concept now discredited. It puzzles me why that Nigella just didn't lamp the old bully with a cast-iron skillet.). Anyway, if there was a Slut of the Year competition, I'd be among the entrants.
     We have lived in this house for exactly one year.  Part of the refurbishment exercise before we moved in was a new kitchen from Magnet, with new oven. Needless to say, I have not cleaned the oven for a year. The other day, Philosopher commented that the eye-watering fumes in the kitchen were getting perhaps a little oppressive...
     The oven has some high-tech pyroclastic, pyrotechnic in-built cleaning mechanism, so I thought I'd give it a go. The thing heated itself up to a million degrees and roared away for one and a half hours, sounding like the Vulcan bomber (of which, as with the Red Arrows at last year's Pirate Day, we had an excellent view as it flew past our house). Lights dimmed all over t…

Livingstone Lodge Safari stay, Port Lympne

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Just back from an overnight stay at Livingstone Lodge, the top-rated 'Safari' experience at Port Lympne (or Limm, as us locals must learn to call it) Wildlife Park, near Hythe. Did we enjoy ourselves - yes, very much. Would we rate it as a peak experience - no. It was a joint birthday treat, and for me, a gesture towards the fateful Tanzania trek that never happened... but that's another story.
We entered the park through a side electric gate, parked the car and checked in at a special Reception hut.
The other members of the party rolled up, 20 in all - two older couples and the rest very earnest young couples, armed with big cameras and binoculars. We met our rangers, led by a brawny South African guy who had done the real stuff in the Kruger Park, and all clambered aboard an authentic looking rusty old lorry for our African Experience Safari trek. Spent the next hour grinding slowly through the park in a haze of diesel fumes, with stops to photograph rhinos, an elephan…

Best Garden Centres and Plant Nurseries near Hastings

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Battleaxe visits many garden centres and nurseries at this time of year - we have some very nice local places - these are some of my favourites.

We have had to find lots of plants for our new garden, especially at the front, where the previous owners had ripped up most of the vegetation (except for the array of eye-popping Barbie pink azaleas mentioned earlier) and replaced it all with, would you believe, terraces of pink tinged granite chippings, with the odd clump of, ooh, you've guessed it - pink heather.  'Looks like a pink graveyard' sniffed one of our neighbours. Anyway, the chippings are gradually disappearing under greenery. 'Are you entering for Ore in Bloom?' asked the same neighbour recently.
   I have had some plants from kind friends, but inevitably, garden centres are visited.
   Battleaxe says beware of buying plants from car boot sales. I got some fuschias from the Icklesham sale last year and they all had some horrible disease that would have infec…

Byzantium Review and other stuff

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There is still time to catch Byzantium in Hastings!
We went down to the Odeon on Friday night. I must have had the seat with the stickiest patch of carpet in the entire cinema - at the end of the film my feet were superglued to the floor...
     Anyway, vampire films are generally not my thing, but I actually enjoyed Byzantium, even without the local interest and trying to spot anyone we knew appearing as an extra. I have never seen any of that Twilight stuff and wouldn't want to, but I would guess this film is more adult, arty and tasteful. Years ago I saw 'Nosferatu' with Klaus Kinski, and this had a bit of the same dark, languid eroticism. It was, naturally, very violent. Two people were actually decapitated, not particularly realistically, and there were gallons and gallons of blood, mostly to be scoffed up by the thirsty vampires. We did wonder why the Hastings Police were not more curious about the spate of bloodless bodies which would have been left lying about the …

A day-trip... to Waitrose

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Yes, I know, this sounds really sad, but believe me, it isn't. What are we to do if the nearest Waitrose is 20 miles away?
A lovely sunny day, too.  First, we drove over to Battle to view the Burstow and Hewett general sale. We are after another small chest or similar for our bedroom. Usually, they have mountains of unloved brown furniture stacked to the ceiling, but just when we actually wanted something, there was nothing suitable.
     So, we headed off to Eastbourne and parked by the Towner Gallery.  We really like the Towner - there is always something interesting to look at, and they have a cafe overlooking the Eastbourne tennis ground. Today, preparations were underway for the big pre-Wimbledon competition, and the grass for the outside courts was just being readied - a vast, wonderful expanse of green, with a solitary tiny bloke walking across it, very slowly, pushing a mower.
     One small architectural niggle about the gallery, the walls have been built too high below t…

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