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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…

The Walled Nursery near Hawkhurst - rather a special place

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Just returned from a WI Garden visit to the Walled Nursery out near Hawkhurst. We've had some excellent outings so far this year. What an attractive, interesting place.  Battleaxe totally recommends....



According to the very comprehensive website - here is the link - the nursery and the adjoining St Ronan's School were originally one large estate, called Tongswood. Most of the glass houses, for which the nursery is best-known, were built between the 1880s and the early 1900s. At its height there were 13 glasshouses, including a vinery, peach house, melon house, fruit house and carnation house.  However, after WW2 the estate, now split up, went into decline, and the glass houses fell into dilapidation.  The gardens have been in private ownership since 1995.
      Over time, the glass houses are gradually being restored. Anyone can contribute to the project by sponsoring a pane of glass or a glazing bar - here is the link to the conservation page on the website.
Here is what they…

Eye-popping colour chez Battleaxe....

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Yep, it is certainly eye-popping. The combination of those pink azaleas plus the blue cladding on the front of our house makes one feel positively faint....
    A quick post.  The wooden cladding on the front of the house was looking very scabby, so Philosopher's first thought was to paint it with same substance as the shed in the back garden. We chose a tasteful blue but turns out that particular stuff is only suitable for bare wood. We chose another blue from the Dulux Weathershield range which went on a treat, but was perhaps a little more vivid than we anticipated....
    Next thing, along comes our annual eye-busting azalea display. These Barbie pink horrors were planted by the people who lived in our house before us - clearly pink was their thing.  The azaleas are so faithful and so prolific that I don't have the heart to grub them up - many people like them, they are a local landmark..... However, the combination of the blue cladding and the pink azaleas is truly alarm…

Hastings Battleaxe visits Paul Feiler at the Jerwood - and pops into the Arts Forum....

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The Paul Feiler exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery has been running for a while, but Battleaxe has been a little busy... Then yesterday on my way back from London I met up with Philosopher at the Arts Forum, where he was attending the Private View of an exhibition by one of his Jerwood friends, artist Jennifer Baird.     So, first, to the Paul Feiler: 100 Years exhibition.  There is at least one of Feiler's paintings in the Jerwood permanent collection. The one pictured above is frequently on show, and in fact can be seen in the upstairs gallery space now. As ever with abstract art I can't say why I like it but I do. Is it the colours? Given that, I was interested to see more of his work. Also, even though he was born in Germany, Feiler is known as one of the St Ives school of painters - plenty of Cornish interest for us. He had a long and prolific painting life until his death in 2013, aged 95 - here is his obituary from the Guardian.
   During his long life, he developed his…

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