Summer stuff, friends, Battleaxe Birthday, Towner etc.

So, back in from the garden - what else has been going on?
     Busy... I have just about finished the Hastings Writers' Group website, and very good it looks. Am now working to get the group's charity anthology 'Animal Writes' ready for the printer. I am fed up with it. I don't think I'll do any more book editing - I have had no time to do any of my own writing, except for this blog. When I took it on I vaguely thought it would be like the housing publications we produced during my former working life - we just edited the words and then sent the whole job to the printers, who did all the layout, covers etc. But this is different - worse - you have to format the ruddy stuff and set it out as well as proof-read and edit it.
     We ask contributors to send in their pieces proof-read, formatted and corrected, but needless to say most material arrives as it was when it first fell out of the authors' heads. I don't mind proofing and editing, but I hate the layout stuff - no sooner do you take your eyes off a file than a piece has reverted to some previous version of itself, quite often taking neighbouring pieces with it.
     Our friends Sue and Alex came down from Brum for a few days last week and weekend - weather was
Sun, sun, sun
fabulous, and Hastings showed itself at its best. Did all the usual sea and sun stuff. On Friday night the four of us won a quiz. Philosopher and I have competed in three quizzes since we moved here, won two of them, and been second place in the other....I think we will start renting ourselves out to quiz teams.
     Last week we went to visit the collection store at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. We had joined as members a few months ago, and one of the services they offer is a free store tour.
Towner store
     We were a bit miffed when we arrived because the traffic was just terrible driving across from Hastings - it would have been a fat lot of use if one had been lying, gibbering insensibly, in an ambulance, being conveyed to the 'improved' Stroke Unit at Eastbourne Hospital. They have now got rid of stroke services at Hastings, apparently... but that is by the by. We arrived at the Towner with about one minute to spare, the journey having taken well over an hour, to discover that we were not down in their diary and there was no one to show us round. We gnashed our teeth and loomed threateningly, and staff rushed to remedy the situation.
     It turned out well. The woman who took us to the store had not prepared, so we looked at things at random - she pulled out many big sliding panels with lovely stuff on. Instead of there being loads of people as
we had thought, it was just us, the woman, and an art student on placement. There are some Victorian paintings, but it is mostly C20, including a big Ravilious collection. We did not look at those very carefully because these days they seem to be everywhere.
     This first painting is by Harold Mockford - a huge, very powerful canvas, not shown at its best here.
Harold Mockford - Eastbourne

John Piper
     After, we went for a meal at the Trattoria Italiano in Bexhill- had never been before - it was excellent.
     Yesterday it was my birthday - another bright sunny day. Had some lovely presents, then went down to the Jerwood for coffee. In the afternoon I went to my WI book group, and took some fizzy wine. We had cake, fruit and wine, and vaguely discussed Wilkie Collins 'The Woman in White'. I had never read the book before, and thoroughly enjoyed it - it rattles along more dynamically than most modern thrillers, and brings some great characters to life.
     In the evening Philosopher and I went for a meal to the St Clements restaurant in St Leonard's - again, we had never been before, and again it was excellent - we will definitely go again next time we want a little treat. It felt relaxed, service was good, price not too extortionate, and food just right.
     Today we have had another nice day. Met friends Bob and Alison over at Nymans gardens, where Alison is a guide. She showed us round the gardens - all very interesting. The hydrangeas were looking particularly good - here is a very vibrant blue one which I would like for our garden,  then we went for lunch at their house in Horsham.

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