Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Hastings Battleaxe's Google gripes. Rye Harbour looking lovely.

Are any other bloggers experiencing problems with Google Blogger?  Hastings Battleaxe has been using it happily for nearly five years, but it all seems to be going pear-shaped. If you find a nerdy post about blogging platforms too boring, I'm including pictures from our cold Sunday walk to Rye Harbour and the Royal Military Canal.  Battleaxe loves sparkling winter days - the dried reeds and teasels are looking particularly good right now.

Teasels at Rye Harbour
The Royal Military Canal
Rye Harbour - many birds on the water
     Part of the IT problem is about the interfaces between Google, Microsoft and Apple, with all three increasingly driven to compete rather than co-operate. To cut a long and boring story short, the Blogger App for iPad has been totally removed by Google, and the App for the iPhone will follow  - it is now almost unusable. Apple won't let you use a browser to write/edit posts on its devices via the Blogger website.
     Most of the time, Battleaxe does her work on a desktop Windows PC upstairs in her study, but when I want to write a post away from home, or just want to edit something quickly, I now can't use my Apple devices.  The PC now won't show up new Google Blogger comments, and won't interact with the iPhone to copy photos without much fiddling about.... and so on.
     This is annoying, but also worrying. By committing Hastings Battleaxe to the power of Google, on what is a free blogging platform, I have made myself vulnerable. Theoretically Google could remove all of it, or delete old posts etc. Battleaxe has over 300 posts in the archive going back to 2011, when we first arrived in Hastings.  It would be terrible to lose all that work, and all those memories. So, I now have to consider moving the whole thing to a paid platform like Wordpress. This will require a Man - yes, I know, Batteaxe's shouldn't need man-creatures to do techie stuff, but sorry, I'll have to get one, pay him to do the work, pay for a web domain etc. Yuch. A horrible and scary thing to do in 2017.
     One thing I have done is buy a very cheap Windows mini-laptop. Here it is, a natty little red Lenovo Ideapad, costing the princely sum of £149.99 from Argos. Very Christmassy, don't you think, with it's jolly red bauble mouse?  Very light and small to carry about. It's feeble inside, with the memory of an advanced dementia sufferer, but will do fine for on-line blogging. So far, touch wood, it seems to work well..... have written this post using it.

      But, of course, I still take photos on the iPhone - yawn, scratch, now using Microsoft OneDrive tear hair......
      Less of that annoying rubbish.  Why is this stuff so needlessly difficult?  Here are some more soothing pictures:
Royal Military Canal - love the Old Man's Beard

View up to Winchelsea

More reeds on the canal
      This IT anxiety comes at a time when Battleaxe is getting a higher profile. I received an invitation from the Press Officer at the White Rock Theatre to attend the press night of the panto - Jack and the Beanstalk - free for me and the long-suffering Philosopher. We get drinkies and snacks as well. Of course, I'll have to write and publish a review of the production and Battleaxe will have to mind her language and moderate her critical voice. Thinks - am I selling out by doing this?  I'd hate for this blog to turn into a sanitised review puff thing.
     Well, Christmas is coming..... usual rushing about..... More soothing pictures? Well, not so soothing, a bit weird, and faintly rude somehow...
Surreal and faintly rude shadows

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Hastings Battleaxe hangs out in Eastbourne

Spent the day in Eastbourne yesterday - keeping Philosopher, and our car, company. Went to the Towner Gallery, Beachy Head, Waitrose- such excitements!

Sunny, but cold, on Eastbourne Beach
      Our old friends Sue and Graham were supposed to be coming to stay this week, but couldn't due to Sue having sick bug, so I decided to keep Philosopher company. Our faithful Skoda Yeti had to go and spend the day at the main dealership in Eastbourne - it is one of the cars affected by the VW emissions scam, so had to be modified, and it needed a new something or other that cost £400...Cripes. Not what you need before Christmas.
      However, they cleaned it as well, for nothing, and gave us a courtesy car - a new Octavia.  It was very comfortable, but all so automated that we couldn't see how to work anything and spent the day driving around with the car temperature at 29 degrees, with the blower thing roaring like a jet plane taking off.  It was a cold day but really....
      There's lots in Eastbourne, but maybe not so much before 9am on a cold November morning. Here's another blog post about the town.
      We started off with a short walk on the beach. it was beautiful but freeeezzzing....
      Soon gave in and slunk indoors for coffee and a huge sticky bun in Favo'Loso, the retro cafe/ice cream parlour opposite the Winter Gardens.
Favo'Loso - off the internet
     Apparently it is Bill Bryson's favourite place on the South Coast. Sure, it is pleasantly old-fashioned, the bun was yummy and they have a real roaring Gaggia machine for the coffee, but maybe you need to get a life, Bill.  Battleaxe is (surprisingly) not an afficionado of retro ice-cream parlours, but try Broadstairs for example... the beautiful Morelli's.  Read this if you are into such things.
      As soon as the Towner Gallery was open, in we went.  There was a much publicised exhibition 'Towards Night' that I wanted to see. It has some good things in - on until 22 January.  This is Philosopher's favourite (photo from the internet).

Gertrude Hermes 'Through the Windscreen' 1923
Then we discovered there was another exhibition as well - 'One day, Something Happens: Paintings of people' which we actually liked much better.  It is only on until 8 January. This is by a painter I had never heard of:
Kenneth Wootton 'Portrait of a Lady' 1934
    So, by the time we had studied both exhibitions (both free - well worth the outing) and had yet another coffee, it was midday and time to go up to Beachy Head.  I had a money off voucher from WI Life magazine for lunch in the pub....  Had a brisk shortish walk - the scenery never fails to please -  but still freezing. I took some scenic photos to put on Facebook for poor sick Sue up in Brum - to make her feel still sicker -  before a long, sleep-inducing lunch. Battleaxe always recommends The Beachy Head pub.

     Then down to Waitrose to browse and buy over-priced Christmas luxuries. Think Charbonnel et Walker chocolate shoes in a little handbag -  plus a few everyday essentials like Dorset raspberry and pumpkin-seed porridge and Burt's Bees almond hand-cream....
     All that made me quite fancy an afternoon cuppa in the Grand Hotel, but the car place called to say that our car was ready for collection, so we went home.
     Talking of sick bugs, in the evening we went round to friends Jan and Tom. She told me that while we were away on our cruise they had gone to Glyndebourne and she had been seized with nausea ten minutes into the performance. She just managed to get out of the auditorium before throwing up.  She said the staff were wonderful but how truly awful for her, and even more awful to speculate about what they do if someone is actually sick during a performance. It must happen.... Would they carry on?
     Anyway, we reassured her that Don Giovanni was not that good, so she didn't miss much.
     There are lots of nasty bugs around just now. Battleaxe says wash your hands, people.....

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Storms in Hastings.. Jerwood latest, WI Bazaar

Just about getting back to normal when I was hit by the WI Bazaar, followed by a night kept awake by Storm Angus roaring round the house, flinging rain at the windows with such force it sounded like barrow-loads of pebbles. Then, a visit to the current exhibitions at the Jerwood, which Battleaxe recommends....

Stormy skies from the Jerwood Cafe
     The annual WI Winter Bazaar is a big event in our calendar. I've written about it, and the amazing commitment of the WI women,  before. As ever, I did the bric-a-brac stall, this year adding toys to the empire. Philosopher helped as well, lugging boxes and clothes rails from our store room down in the Old Town, and then down to the hall and back.
     We were thinking, for just how many years, and from how many store rooms, have we done this? In Birmingham, I had a store room for the retro shop, and after the shop was sold, we did many vintage fairs etc. One day I'll do a blog post about the shop, Retro Bizarre.
     As usual, I was so impressed with the way the WI women mucked in and helped - we are truly an amazing force. I don't know what it is about the WI which makes people join in so readily. Folk are so creative too - made lovely things to sell. However, I don't think the event was quite as lucrative as other years, because there were a number of competing events round the town, but it will still have done well.
     Here is Digby with his new handmade cat toy.

     Storm Angus promised much, sounded impressive, but fortunately, delivered little in the way of damage. We just lost one bit of trellis, and a few plant pots were toppled.
     In the morning we went down to admire the waves. The wind practically blew us over and it was bitterly cold.

Aftermath of Storm Angus
     We went into the Jerwood to warm up, and after coffee, viewed the current exhibitions. There is a small room devoted to Stanley Spencer, but the bulk of the gallery has been reorganised to accommodate a joint exhibition with the Ingram Collection, which mostly lives in the Lightbox in Woking.
     Chris Ingram, who founded the collection, made his money from advertising. He only started collecting in 2001 and has accumulated a tasteful, creative and interesting collection of twentieth-century art - bigger and more varied than the Jerwood collection.There were many lovely things on show, and full marks to the Jerwood, the walls of all the rooms were full, and there was plenty to look at. It is so much better than having expanses of bare space. People who have to pay to get in really need to feel that they are getting value for money. We do have to pay as well of course, but we are members, which means we don't cough up every time - it feels like it is free....
     Anyway, it is a very good exhibition and well worth a visit. Battleaxe recommends.  For any Hastingas who still have not ventured through the gallery door, this would be a good starting point.
     Some of the Jerwood works on display we have seen over and over again - in fact, they are pretty much always out.... Christopher Wood woman in a bathing costume. View from window at Ditchling by Frank Brangwyn... Why not get out some different ones from the store?
     There were some things I particularly liked. All the pictures below are from the Ingram Collection, and all photos raided from the internet. I don't mind raiding the photos, because Ingram is clearly very generous about sharing his pictures - he takes them to schools and community groups as well as lending them to galleries. In the introduction to the collection catalogue, he says:
       'I want the pictures and sculptures in my collection to be seen. I want other people to enjoy them too. I think it is scandalous that some of our national collections contain works by outstanding artists that have not been on show for thirty to forty years.'
      I do so agree, Chris!
      Talking of catalogues, Ingram has a truly excellent, complete, illustrated catalogue of all their items, now running into two volumes - for sale in the Jerwood for a fiver each volume.
      Jerwood! Get yourself a proper catalogue of your collection!
      This Edward Burra, 'Near Whitby', invokes Yorkshire on a wet day, and I always like receding road pictures, travelling to....where?
Edward Burra - Near Whitby
 The Ruskin Spear cat picture is just so typically catty - look at the wicked glint in his eye. That vase is going to be knocked over any moment....

Ruskin Spear - Curious Cat
     The Laura Knight is not of Sennen Cove in Cornwall, but could well be - those rollers sweeping in across the bay...
Laura Knight - Sea and Rocks
Saturday night at the Local, William Roberts