Gray's Emporium Tearoom, St Leonard's, and some pre-Christmas browsing.

Well, am out and about again, browsing round St Leonard's, the town centre, and the Old Town. Pity I missed both the St Leonard's FrostFair and the Old Town Christmas shopping day.
     It was an absolutely beautiful day on Saturday, and we went for a snoop round St Leonard's. The clouds rolled back to reveal crisp blue sky and a clear, hard winter light. Philosopher and I never tire of looking at the sea - it is never the same twice. Here is the view from the seafront car-park just as the clouds began to clear.
St Leonard's seascape
     Our first stop was at Gray's Emporium, a new cafe that has opened in the refurbished art nouveau shop in Kings Road. It is lovely to see this beautiful shop so sympathetically restored. Tea and coffee were both very good, and we even had a timer on our table to time the brew of the tea! Oh, and home-made soft amaretti cakes - delicious. Pleasant staff and good loo. Battleaxe would recommend this place, and I hope it does well. They also do nice looking lunches.



Gray's Emporium - what a beautiful old shop
     Battleaxe was slightly put off writing about St Leonard's after the post on Best coffee and cafes.  The piece was taken up and published by Hastings Online Times, which is always nice, but for some totally unknown reason it then attracted an absolute firestorm of vitriolic criticism from outraged St Leonard's types who thought I had left out/misrepresented their precious caffs. Read and marvel here!  It was all so patently ridiculous and over-the-top that I couldn't even feel angry or injured, just curious to know what on earth was going on. Have these people nothing better to do?
     Just for the record, a few weeks ago we did try the cafe in SHOP in Norman Road, the omission of which seemed to be particularly inflammatory, and it was OK.... nice cake, good coffee and I'd probably go again, but I wouldn't walk across hot coals for it. Sure, St Leonard's is on the up, but it has a bit to go yet!  
     Back to Saturday, we went to visit the paintings in the Baker Mamonova Gallery - they had a little exhibition of Russian industrial art, mostly from their own selling collection.
    I liked this huge one. It was painted in the 1970's, artist unknown. Classic Soviet propaganda picture.
Cutting edge 1970s Soviet technology
    Going back to Kings Road for a moment, it must have been a very high-class shopping street in the past. The Gray's teashop is an old dairy, and further up, the shop which is now Jempson's must also have been lovely.
    Here's an old, rather poignant photo of Christmas lights in around 1910, plus a photo I took on Saturday.
Kings Road past.....

.....and present
    I like to spot quirky and creative decorations around Hastings and St Leonard's. Here's my favourite shop window: Heaven on Sea, at the bottom of Marine Court. Just lovin' that glittery Croc in the glittery pirate's chest. Ugh, I could never like Crocs.... Philosopher has a pair which he swears are incredibly comfortable, but between you, me and the entire internet, they are a total turn-off!
Glittering croc....
    Not spotted much else of note this year, apart from this wreath on a door in the Old Town. A very creative person must live in that house! I loved last year's as well.
2014 wreath

Last year's - love the birds


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