Cold week - Writers's Group. Women's Institute, Winchelsea - and Waitrose.

This post is a bit of a mixture - a busy week in totally depressing weather. Have also developed an unhealthy interest in food. Hard to believe this time last year we were basking in sun on the beach....ah well, as yet no tons of snow here like Birmingham, or floods like in Cornwall....
     Had a committee meeting of the Hastings Writers' Group, held at the home of Jill, our Chair, in St Leonard's. There were only three of us this time, all full of excellent creative ideas but without anyone to say 'hang on a moment - will that work?' Anyway, we had great fun.
      I have a lot to do at the moment, including working on the new website for the Group (oh, what a rumpus that has caused...) with some other members and local website designer Nick Weekes. He seems a pleasant, and patient bloke, but I think HWG will stretch his powers to the limit. Also, am working on the production of the 2013 charity anthology - it is going to have an animal theme. Plus, have got to finish my Crime story for group competition on Monday night.
      Went to the Women's Institute Book Group. That was also at the home of one of the members, Yvonne, at Mallydams Farm, which is part of the Fairlight Hall estate - her family live in the Hall. We had read The L Shaped Room, by Lynne Reid Banks. I first read the book back in the 60s, and loved it - still had my old Penguin copy. When I re-read it, it felt not only dated but startlingly racist and sexist. The group has a great mix of women from a wide range of backgrounds and all ages - very interesting to hear different perspectives.
       I will offer to host a meeting chez Battleaxe in the next few months - I did fear the compulsory WI tea and cakes might be a bit challenging because my baking skills are not well developed. However, was reassured to see M and S packets on the worktop when I took the cups out to the kitchen at Mallydams Farm. Yum, hot cross buns.
Grey Pett level
       I said to Philosopher that the Writing Group feels a bit like a bracing walk along a Cornish coast path- puffing up challenging inclines, scrambling over rocks, but with great views and uplifitng interludes, while the WI is like relaxing on a sunny seaside bench - well, so far. It feels like quite a good mix.
       A leisure outing - went to Winchelsea on Monday planning to have coffee in theWinchelsea Farm Kitchen - one of the snuggest places we know on a cold bleak morning, and I am very fond of their homemade Battenburg cake. It was shut, so went down to the Ship at Winchelsea Beach instead. We ate in the garden in the summer, but remembered they had a cafe in front of the bar bit. Decor-wise, it is all a bit overdone and slightly naff, but the coffee was excellent. It has a shop kept by celebrity butcher Jamie Wickens, who once ran the shop at the Farm Kitchen. We bought a selection of his prize-winning sausages. Can't say I was that struck with the four varieties we tried - the wild boar was best. Anyway, then we went for chilly walk at Pett Level. Grey and more grey, and wind to cut a body in half.


Cliche bossy mannish vicaress
      On Thursday evening we went to see the National Theatre film of Alan Bennett's People at the Hastings Odeon. We left at the interval - it was just terrible. Leaden, predictable, boring and infested with done-to-death cliches. We had 'em all trotted out - bossy mannish lesbian woman vicar, dotty companion, dodgy auctioneer, sleazy film producer - puleeze.
      Friday, Eastbourne. Another freezing day - too cold for walking, so went to our usual pub, The Counting House, which is handily just next to Waitrose. Consumed vast meals and beer, and then could scarcely totter round the supermarket aisles without falling asleep on the floor. Urgent and vital things to get like marzipan miini-eggs and Heston's earl grey tea and mandarin hot cross buns....
 I do so want to get out in the garden - have all sorts of things to plant but it is hopeless...
Anyway, to cheer us up, here are some flowers from some gardens we visited last summer.


























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