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Showing posts from October, 2015

'Saul' at Glyndebourne - an utterly mesmerising experience

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Earlier in the week, we went to Glyndebourne, to see Handel's Saul with our old friends Bob and Alison.
    You may think that I had been called in to stand in for one of the soloists, following my debut performance on the stage at our back-stage tour a year ago, but actually no. I guess a rendition of  'My Old Man Said Follow the Van' didn't give a sufficient indication of my operatic potential.
     Neither Philosopher or I had ever been to a performance at Glyndebourne - somehow, our anti-ponciness mechanisms had always kicked in and prevented us actually getting there, despite our love for music, opera etc.
     However, our friends booked us tickets, and off we went.  This was the 'Tour' production of Saul, starting at 4pm. We arrived earlier than we expected, just after 3pm, but even so the place was full. Hampers were open, table cloths were spread, wine glasses were out, chicken legs were nibbled. And this was only the Tour, not the Festival. Usual mas…

Kino Teatr, St Leonard's - a great night out

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We decided that this, our first full-length night out since my operation, was our belated wedding anniversary outing. We very much enjoyed a meal plus a film at the new Kino Teatr in  Norman Road, St. Leonard's, and Battleaxe totally recommends this place!

     The cinema is part of the Baker Mamonova Gallery, which we have visited on many occasions to view their displays of wonderful Russian art. They used to have great Soviet-era pictures of workers in factories, shipyards etc., but I suspect the supply of those is running out. Now, there are still some industrial scenes but also many of rural peasantry and more abstract landscape scenes.

Last time we visited, Michala's Cute Cakes still occupied the cafe part, but that has now moved down to the bottom of London Road. Battleaxe loves those cakes, but am not quite sure I could face them as yet. Back then, I was also entertained by the strange loo, which was decorated with a stag's head and a pair of antique skis. All that …

Bratby Selection Day at the Jerwood - our pictures take part!

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'Everything but the Kitchen Sink including the kitchen sink'. That's the title of the forthcoming John Bratby exhibition at the Jerwood, coming in January 2016. They invited people to submit their own Bratbys for the exhibition, and Philosopher and Battleaxe took our two to the selection session.
     Don't get me wrong, ours are small and minor works, both acquired for modest sums from local auctioneers Burstow and Hewitt, and we were interested to know what the experts would make of them.
     The event clearly attracted a lot of attention - press, telly etc. - I'll be watching South-East today later on!
     For those who might not know, Bratby lived in Hastings with his partner, actress Patti Prime, in the cupola house just down Harold Road from here. He died walking up the hill from the chippie. (Why not get the 20 bus up like the rest of us? Perhaps they didn't have free bus passes in 1992, and despite the fact that Bratby could net in thousands at a time…

Conquest Hospital again..... Gallbladder this time!

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The NHS may be in crisis, the Conquest Hospital in Hastings is now in 'Special Measures', but Battleaxe's treatment has been just fine, thanks. Am just emerging into the land of the living from an operation to remove my gallbladder, after several months on a low-fat diet. 
I have had two operations in the Conquest in 11 months, one involving an in-patient stay of over a week as well as umpteen outpatient visits. I therefore think I can safely comment on the effectiveness of the surgical services and suggest some tips to help others.       My earlier experience, last November, is described in this post - one of the top five most popular Battleaxe posts ever.  People obviously like hospital drama.      This time, consultant Mr Miller warned me that I might end up with open gallbladder surgery instead of the usual keyhole, because of previous scars on my tummy. That would have meant another stay in the noisy Hades of Gardner Ward - no private room for me this time, I'm sur…

Scotney Castle - beautiful Autumn visit

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Battleaxe is clearly having a National Trust moment. Less than a week after Bateman's we decided to go to Scotney Castle. I hardly dare confess that we had never visited after travelling past it on the A21 about half a million times.....
     It was another really fabulous autumn day. Flawless blue sky, clear, sparkling light, trees just on the turn....
     Scotney does not have a distinguished historical past, but it was given to the National Trust, intact, when its last owner and inhabitant Betty Hussey died in 2006. We gathered the Husseys made their money from iron, in Worcestershire.
     The estate we see now was created by Edward Hussey in the 1830s and 1840s. He partially demolished the old castle to create a fashionably picturesque ruin, had the grounds landscaped, and had the new house built in Gothic Revival style.  The house, designed by Anthony Salvin, reminded us, both inside and out, very much of our local Fairlight Hall, also Gothic Revival, built at the same time…

Bateman's at Burwash - a WI outing

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Having returned from Turkey in the small hours, later the same day Battleaxe was lurching through the Sussex lanes on a coach. Feeling very groggy, she was with twenty-five cheerful WI ladies, heading for Bateman's, Rudyard Kipling's home at Burwash, seventeen miles from Hastings.

    It was a beautiful, clear autumn day, sunny, brilliant blue sky, so I was quite happy to roll along. I even managed the necessary shouting about getting back to the coach on time etc. At least once a year, we organise heavily subsidised/free outings, with a coach, to ensure all members have the opportunity to join in. In addition, Gary Enstone, the Bateman's House Manager, is coming to our next WI meeting to talk about the house and Kipling.
    I've been to Bateman's once before with Philosopher, quite soon after we moved down here, and they do seem to have developed the facilities and amenities since that earlier visit. The shop is excellent...
    The C17 house was Rudyard Kipling&…

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