Friday, 31 August 2012

King Canute at Rye Harbour

Or is it Cnut these days, or even Knut?  Who knows.... No, sillies I said CNUT.
     We went for a breezy walk to Rye Harbour, and found a leather armchair washed up on the beach.  Hence Philosopher as Canute picture below....

We were reflecting on the history we were taught at school.  He did History up to O Level, I did both O and A, but for both of us the things that stick most in our mind are images of 'Romantic' history we must have encountered when very young.  The picture of King Canute in his robes on his throne, while his courtiers fawned in the background.  Boadicia in her chariot with knives on the wheels, King Alfred and the Cakes, Hereward  the Wake hiding in the reeds (why?), Harold at Hastings, 'Angles not Angels' (What was that about?  Picture of slaves in a market place?), the Black Prince, Richard the Lionheart with his long blond hair, listening from his dungeon while Blondin plays the lute outside, Princes in the Tower.... butts of malmsey, surfeits of lampreys... on and on the images go, all in glorious technicolour, lots of goblets, wall-hangings, hounds, swords, robes, wimples.....probably not a word of truth in any of it ....
     After our walk we called in for coffee at the lovely Avocet Gallery.  What an excellent place that is - nice people, great coffee and cakes and always a great range of pretty things to look at and sometimes buy.
     It is a Blue Moon tonight.  I gather all it means is that every few years there are two full moons in one month, and nothing particularly mystic, or blue, for that matter.  For all that, we noticed the moon through the window last night, and it was very large, and very clear.  The sky looks quite blue....
Philosopher keeps on telling me why it is so hard to photograph the moon and make it appear the same size as we see it. On this photograph you can see I have tried to blow the image up and it has gone all pixellated.  Our eyes are amazing things....

Monday, 27 August 2012

Getting Stade Colour photography competition wrong?

Sunday was a truly glorious day. Saturday had been soaking wet, but we drew the curtains back yesterday to one of those newly washed seaside mornings where the sea sparkles, the sky is brilliant blue with little fluffy clouds, the air is fresh, and everything is crystal clear.

We went for our first longish walk since injuring my foot - it is now 90% better, thank goodness - have grown fatter with inactivity over the last few weeks.  One of our favourite routes  - up the steep path to the West Hill from the Old London Road just past the convent.  These days it is slightly longer because we have to walk down Ashburnham Road, but the view of the Old Town and the sea from there is fabulous - it looks like Italy.  Along Collier Road, over the West Hill green, stopping for a coffee at the cafe. I know I have said this before, but the view from that cafe must be one of the best in the south of England.

Yesterday we didn't carry on our usual route down the other side of the hill and through Alexandra Park etc. - too long for me, but we dropped down into the Old Town so the Philosopher could take some photos to enter into the Stade Colour competition.  On the way, we joined the Jerwood as members - at least we can go in there and have coffee now without having to pay!  We inspected the Gary Hume exhibition (I keep on wanting to call him Gary Barlow) - and being us, weren't that keen.  It was better than the Rose Wylie but didn't have much about it, in our view.  Vast acres of empty space with a few enormous canvases hanging about with huge blobs of colour on, and funny sculptures that looked like oversized pepper mills. Philosopher knows a guy who said that these days Gary H just draws an outline and gets his assistants to colour it in - like Damien Hurst, I believe.

On the Stade, there was a slight falling out because being me, I kept on trying to tell him what photos to take, so we parted company for a short while.  He took some lovely pictures of coloured things - he is good at it.  Of course, when we got home later we re-read the entry criteria and discovered that 'colour' is not supposed to be literal, i.e shades and hues, but metaphorical, as in 'local colour' - I quote ' the essence of the Stade in terms of its cultural and environmental heritage', and that 'experimental work is welcome'. That means, I guess, that you could enter pretty much anything....

I took one arty photo with my iphone from inside the Jerwood, the net huts through that orange cage thing that hangs in the inner courtyard.
Arty Jerwood photo
Experimental or what.

After, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Two Bulls in the Old Town. It's just fine in there, and they are obviously doing well, which is good to see.

Nice day......



Thursday, 23 August 2012

Battleaxe and Philosopher get tangoed Skoda Yeti style

At the moment, the Battleaxe household supports two cars - my faithful Citroen Berlingo, and his Fiesta.  We thought we would need two, as originally I was going to go back to Birmingham frequently to do my duties as a housing association board member.  That ended abruptly - (full horror story available but not on here) - and we soon realised that one car stood idle most of the time, and we needed to downsize.

So we drew up a shortlist, and started our search with a Skoda Yeti - chunky, not too big, good load carrying capacity etc.  They only had one in stock in Eastbourne - and it was orange....  to cut long car nerdy story short (how bland cars are these days) - we are buying it.  The salesman said that no-one wanted it because of its colour, they prefer sliver etc.

How strange - well, to me, anyway, - people are.  When I go to the hairdressers it is usually a struggle to make the stylist understand that I want my hair Bright - they want me to have nice subtle lady-like tints and streaks.  Fortunately, now I go to Ronnie at the George Street Salon in the Old Town - he lies in wait with the colour bottle wanting me to go yet more outrageous...

Anyway - back to the car. We like the colour. I don't think there are many about, so Hastings will see us coming.

Our new Skoda Yeti - a bit orange

I hope it has a bit of personality - the Berlingo did, but only because it was such a dogged little workhorse.  But bits are starting to go wrong badly - it is only a 56 reg, and has only done 40k miles, but the air-con has totally packed up, the cooling system has gone dodgy, the exhaust is about to drop off etc etc.  This does not say too much for Citroen robustness.  The Fiesta has been totally fine, but is not at all distinctive.

Oddly enough close friends of ours in Birmingham have also bought a Yeti in the last couple of days - it is obviously the model du jour....


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Now it gets Hot...Hastings Battleaxe Mermaid takes to sea

Hastings Battleaxe Mermaid

The last few days have been incredibly hot...hot...hot.  So much so that the Philosopher and myself had to take to the sea this morning - it was Ancient Mariner calm... a few painted fishing boats on the painted sea.

I stuck it longer than him - have more blubber - and churned up and down busily and healthily for a bit.  I intend to go swimming quite often.  I want to be one of those old ladies you see on the TV news swimming on Christmas morning, in a reinforced, probably floral but maybe navy, swimming costume with a bosom like a shelf, and a white rubber swimming hat with lots of flowers on.  When I said this to the Philosopher, he said something along the lines of that being typical - I always had the look worked out, but actually doing the thing was a different matter....maybe he is right....

It was so hot in the house we had to let new cat Digby go outside, just to let a bit of air in.  He was good for a bit and stayed in view but then legged it into the next door garden.  He came back OK. So far, we  think he will be a nice cat to have around.  He is very gentle - we have seen no sign of claws yet, and likes to hang round and see what we are doing most of the time.

It is a mystery to us how people manage with cats that live indoors all the time - how do they cope with keeping the windows and doors shut on days like this?  Answers on a postcard, please.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Battleaxe finds evidence of Other Worlds in Battle...

In earlier blogs, I have commented on the eclectic collection of clothes shops in Battle, with particular reference to Tweedy Walker, Mad Cat Lady, Alternative Therapist and Pagan Priestess.  However, today I found something else again - Dynasty Revival with Added Bling and Extra Gold.  I won't give the name of the shop because it is unfair, but we came across it while going to the pet shop for additions to Digby's already extensive toy range - he is getting bored with being shut indoors already.
     The RSPCA said we had to keep him shut in for 3 weeks, but as he doesn't like to wander more than 2 yards from his food plate, I think we will open the door, bag of cat treats in hand, before that. It is very hot - and smelly - in here with doors and windows shut....we were due to have friends with delicate sensibilities to stay this weekend but they have postponed - just as well for them, one whiff of the litter tray and they would have legged it to the nearest boutique hotel.

Anyway, this shop stocks brands like Joseph Ribkoff, examples below.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do like a bit of bling, and I thought I would buy something ironically for trip we have booked to Sorrento next month, but the shop had nothing under £300.00. That is a bit much for an impulse, ironic purchase, me thinks.

What I want to know is, who wears clothes like this, at those prices, and for what type of occasion?  All information would be welcome, as it is a strata of society that has entirely bypassed the Battleaxe.  Is it for cruises? Mother of the Bride? Hot-tub parties in out-of-town hacienda-style homes?






Monday, 13 August 2012

Bluebell Ridge cat Digby joins Battleaxe household

OK, so Battleaxe always said she wanted a dog when we moved to Hastings.  I have been putting finding a dog off and off.  I couldn't decide what sort to get.  The Philosopher wanted a little Westie, and I wanted something like a Cockerpoo. The time never felt right - we were either going somewhere, or someone was coming, or something else was happening - or whatever.  Finally, it became clear that at the moment, a dog just does not suit our lifestyle - we go out for days to London, we go away for weekends, and we don't as yet have the support network here to care for a dog.

The other day I was looking at the local RSPCA website, as usual, for dogs, when my eye was caught by a great big tabby cat - Digby. He looked confident and cheerful, and a potential dog-like companion cat.  I can't be doing with cats that are savage bundles of claws, or neurotics hiding under the furniture, and I didn't want one that gave me supercilious dirty looks all the time, like Frankie in Birmingham.

We went and visited him, and indeed, he was very friendly.  The cattery up there is very palatial - the cats have lots of space and lots of love, judging by the numbers of cat-loving young girls around - volunteers presumably.  Trouble is, once you go and see them, you want to adopt them all (the cats I mean silly) - there is one lovely three-legged guy up there - I hope he finds a home soon......

We had our home visit, and collected Digby yesterday.  At first, he just ate compulsively - they said he had been a little undernourished and was on 3 meals a day, but on arrival  at our house he ate 4 meals straight off before collapsing, belching gently, to watch the Olympics closing ceremony with us.
 

Bluebell Ridge is clearly a good thing for anyone who is into cats. Here is a link: http://www.bluebellridge.org.uk/about.php

Friday, 10 August 2012

Olympic birthday for Hastings Battleaxe - with Usain

It was Battleaxe's birthday this week - she is ageless, so there is no point even speculating about how old she might be.

Have been sitting square-eyeballed in front of the Olympics on telly for unsuitable amounts of time - at least I have the excuse of resting my bad foot (see last blog).  In common with the rest of the nation, I have become avid GB medal-counter, but have also watched really obscure things..... Have enjoyed the coverage, but I don't like the painfully drawn-out interviews with the winners and losers - a few words and one comment, gasp, grunt or sob, fine, but I don't really want to know the details of how they feel.... why is so hard just to leave us to guess the obvious - happy if they win and gutted if they lose. 

Some of the stuff is downright incomprehensible - who understands the rules of the cycling Omnium, for example - but it all drifts past the eyes in a parade of rock-hard thighs, washboard stomachs, rippling biceps....

One present I received for my birthday was a nice knitted Usain Bolt.  Here he is below.
Earlier in the year I gave my friend Sue in Brum the Knit the Olympics book for her birthday, hence Usain.  He actually is wearing 3 gold medals - presumably the real Usain will compete in a relay before the end of the Games, so that will be fine.  We called in at the Post Office Tearooms in St Leonards a few days ago - they have a knitted Olympics window display, made by their knitting circle, using the same book.

On my birthday the Philosopher and I went to see an amazing film 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' in the Electric Palace in the Old Town.  It is Turkish, and remarkably intense.  One reviewer said that watching it was like reading an incredibly good book while sitting in an uncomfortable chair - you were aware of discomfort but were still totally gripped.  In our case, the uncomfortable chair bit was literally true - the film lasts over 2.5 hours, and the seats in that cinema are hard - but we were still totally gripped.








Thursday, 2 August 2012

Summer break in Hastings finishes in Conquest Hospital...

Phew - we have just returned from Birmingham having returned Grand-daughter.  Had a good few days with her here in Hastings.  We went to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Rodrick at the Odeon - wow, kids morning special - two of us plus child for £5.00!  The film was really funny - I think the Philosopher and I laughed more than anyone in the cinema - GD enjoyed it too fortunately.

Had an excellent day at Camber Sands - hazy sunny.  I attempted to go for a swim but foolishly chose time when tide was at its furthest out - walked and walked to the sea and then walked and walked and walked until was nearly in France, and it was still scarcely knee deep, so gave up in the end.  I am determined to swim in the sea more this year, but on rare occasions  it has been sunny and tide is in right place we have been busy....

We made our usual visit to the sea-front amusement park - I think GD enjoys their grotty predicatability - a lurch round on the dilapidated old ghost train, a climb round the wobbly house thing, and then a trip with Grandpa in the swan pedalos - here they are pedaling away..... However, GD was not pleased to find that the caterpillar roller coaster had gone - even though last time she said she was too old for it.  The swoopy spinny roundabout that has replaced it did not appeal to any of us.



Then a trip on the miniature railway, followed by pizza at Si! Italian.  All good.  We then watched one of our neighbours belly dancing on Winkle Island, as you do.

On her last day we went to Beachy Head - routine is that we ride up on the open-top bus and then walk back to Eastbourne.  It was a lovely fresh day and the wild flowers were stunning.  As usual, we bounced down the very very steep path into fabulous flower meadow.  I forged into the flowers, iphone held to eye, to take photo - and fell down a rabbit hole.  As we walked further on my foot started to hurt quite badly and I knew it was not good. I tottered back to the road and we got a bus back into Eastbourne instead of planned Dotto train from Holywell.

Back in Hastings, Philosopher and GD dropped me off at Conquest A&E - our first visit to our local medical facilities.  Was impressed - staff were very professional, and I was tri-aged, X rayed, diagnosed and fitted with nasty ski-boot thing in 1.5 hours. The place seemed far more friendly and manageable than huge Queen Elizabeth in Brum.  Have broken the end of a metatarsal in my right foot.  Back to the Fracture clinic tomorrow.