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Hastings Battleaxe visits Hastings Pier - what has changed?

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On Saturday morning, another beautiful sunny day, Battleaxe and Philosopher went down to Hastngs Pier. We wanted to see what, if anything, had changed since Sheik Abid Gulzar acquired the Pier a month ago. The verdict? Not a lot happening - a bit worrying.     After the sale of the Pier in June, I wrote a long blog post about the situation. It was widely read - here is the link. .
    I'd like to reiterate my view that the transfer of the Pier into private ownership was wrong and very sad, and I do believe the sale was handled badly by the administrators. I also understand the raw feelings of the pier staff, the volunteers and all those involved with the unsuccessful bids to secure the Pier for the community. 
    However, what is done is done, and it is not going to be undone.  We are where we are. People may mutter about conspiracy and corruption but as far as I can see this is just another lazy, botched, rushed sale/transfer of an organisation in trouble... so wrong, but so c…

Voice and Vote Exhibition - Battleaxe visits in a mad, mad week....

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The first week back from holiday is always strange, but right now, the world is completely mad..... The Government seems to be in a state of collapse, Brexit hangs on a knife-edge. Trump, World Cup, Wimbledon.....and the scorching hot weather continues. In the middle of all this, I visited the Voice and Vote exhibition in Westminster Hall, with WI friends. The exhibition commemorates 100 years of (some) women getting the vote and their subsequent involvement in Parliament.       It was a WI Book Club trip. Mostly, our outings are linked to our reading, although some links are more than a little tenuous - how about IKEA after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ for example. Our overall verdict on the exhibition? Good, but not that good.  As you can see above, when you first enter Westminster Hall, which of course is vast, the exhibition looks small.
      I think for us band of relatively well-read battle-scarred warriors, it seemed a bit slight. We felt it didn't tell us much…

From Cirali,Turkey, to sizzling Hastings

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Don't think I've ever experienced this. Get on the plane in Antalya,  temperature in the high 30s, get out at Gatwick at 5.40pm - felt almost as hot.  I know it isn't in the high 30s here, but the heat has a clammier, claggier quality that is just as enervating. As ever, we had a lovely time in Turkey. Cirali feels like our second home.
      I have written so many blog posts about Cirali - this is our fifth visit, and our third year in the Yavuz Bungalows, kept by the lovely Derya and his folks. It suits us just fine. Right on the beach, an informal restaurant with good, home-cooked fresh food, handy for the village, quiet, comfortable, clean little houses, privacy, nature, trees..... who could want for more?  Well, fortunately, plenty of people would miss night-life, ritzy shops, swimming pools etc etc so they wouldn't come to Cirali in the first place.  Many would not want to the be the only English people in the place, either. Derya told us we were the first Europ…

Hastings Battleaxe and Sky Arts - not a telly star this time

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Now for something completely different: Some people may remember us saying that we had another telly appearance coming up? Holman Hunt the painter? Sky Arts?  I wasn't supposed to write about it until the programme was scheduled and have been meaning to write this for ages, but other things got in the way.... Here's the story.....     It started when Philosopher was in hospital having his hip replaced last October. He was literally under the knife in theatre while I was collapsed at home, traumatised, after wrestling Digby the cat. eyes sealed shut with feline conjunctivitis, to the vet. Was just waiting for news from the hospital when the doorbell rang. It was a bloke called Mike Reilly, who said he was the producer of a series called 'Tate Britain's Great Art Walks'. He  had read Hastings Battleaxe on Clive Vale Farm and Holman Hunt. The programmes look at the stories behind famous paintings in Tate Britain. One of the episodes in the next series was to focus on…

Hastings Battleaxe takes a look.... at the Hastings Pier saga

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Now don't get too excited. Battleaxe is not going to write anything that could lead to her being plastered across the tabloids again - have had enough trouble with that already this year. I'll stick to the facts. Whatever you may think of the situation, seeing the sale of the poor Pier to Sheik Abid Gulzar, owner of Eastbourne Pier, is a real blow to efforts to foster community involvement in Hastings by keeping the Pier as a community asset.
     Battleaxe and Philosopher were both shareholders in the original Hastings Pier Charity, and contributed to the Friends of Hastings Pier (FOHP) Crowdfunder campaign to purchase the Pier, so in that sense I am biased, but it is a fact that £14 million of lottery money, investment by the community and by the local authority, has been virtually given away - lost to private hands.
     The administrators allowed Gulzar to buy the Pier for £50,000, despite the fact that there was another community-led bid on the table which could have bee…

Battleaxe in Bristol - enjoyed the SS Great Britain

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A couple of days in Bristol, visiting Anna and Gareth - a general catch-up plus a visit to the new house they are buying.  The highlight for me was visiting the SS Great Britain - I hadn't expected it to be much, but it was fabulous. Battleaxe recommends.
     Currently, A & G are living in a rented house on the side of a hill in Clifton. A beautiful area - see previous post - but totally unaffordable. House prices in Bristol are rocketing, and they were lucky to secure a pretty little house on the other side of the river - an area called Windmill Hill. They have not moved in yet, but we had a good poke round.
     On Monday, with Anna, we paid a brief visit to Clevedon - after a previous trip a few years ago - see previous post - Philosopher had commissioned a memorial plaque on the pier for his parents, so we went to have a look at it.
     Then down to the Harbour and along to the Great Britain, sited in the dry dock where it was built in the 1840s.  Battleaxe has actually…

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