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Showing posts from November, 2015

Chatham Historic Dockyard, and Rochester revisited.

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Just back from a couple of days extending our exploration of Kent. Back in the summer we went on a trip to Canterbury, Whitstable and Rochester. We meant to visit Chatham that time, but it was too much.
     I'm glad we left the Historic Dockyard until later in the season. On a dull, blustery, damp November day, just before it closed for the winter, the place was practically empty. I've often moaned on here about the crowds at various visitor attractions, but this was the complete opposite.
     We started off with the Rowland Hilder exhibition. Since we moved down here, we have often been struck by the Kent 'Hilderscapes', oast houses, vast skies, rolling hills and bare trees, still much as he painted them. He is often dismissed as a chocolate box Christmas card painter, but his work is beautiful. Here are two examples:
 Next, the historic warships.  
    HMS Gannet is the oldest, a hybrid sailing/steam ship dating from 1878. The ship was empty except for the custodia…

Two bright days - vintage fair at the De La Warr, dazzling sun at Winchelsea Beach

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After an exhausting day on Saturday at the WI Bazaar, Battleaxe enjoyed some chill-out time in two brief bursts of good weather. The Bazaar went well - it is a wonderful thing to see so many women pulling together for a common cause. When I was at work we'd have paid millions to anyone who could have told us how to get similar levels of motivation and energy. Have written about such things before...
     The weather was terrible - sleety snow and a howling gale when people should have been flocking into the hall,  but total takings were only about £300 down on last year.
      On Sunday, it was a dazzlingly bright sunny day. Philosopher and I went to Bexhill, for a bit of sun and sea on the sea-front, and then the Vintage Fair at the De La Warr Pavilion.  The fair, run by local Red Rose Vintage Fairs, was part of the Front Row Fashion event, which takes place annually.  They have a big fashion show on the Saturday night, showcasing young designers and upcycled clothes. I did think…

Hipster cool in Hastings, Rules Restaurant and almost a media luvvie...

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What a week. Riotously wet and stormy weather and old friends Pete and Jacky from Birmingham sampling Hastings at its wettest. Our neighbour Angela celebrated a very big birthday, we went to London to meet old friend Alan for lunch at Rules Restaurant and took part in a TV project at the Jerwood, all while preparing for the annual WI Bazaar on Saturday.
      The TV thing is probably the most exciting, but I have promised not to write about it just yet, so sorry readers, you'll have to wait....
      We took Pete and Jacky to look at the Saturday flea market at the old Observer Building. Very cutting-edge website, I see. Philosopher and I had never been before and we were surprised at the level of hipster cool, all derelict industrial style with a bar, food, performance space and lots of stalls. They have events and meaningful learning opportunities as well. The building has been empty for twenty-five years, and this is just a temporary occupation.
       We had a coffee and a loo…

Tenterden - nice shops on a damp day

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Tenterden is excellent for a Saturday morning browse, with a good selection of shops and eateries, and of course, not forgetting Waitrose.  The High Street is just the right length for a leisurely up-and-back, with a few short diversions...
     Last Saturday was nasty, varying from torrential rain to dank drizzle to just bleakly damp. Just the day for a little retail therapy.
    As usual, we started with a coffee in Caffe Nero. Oh no - it was infested with a Yummy Mummy Nest. You often see these in Tenterden. A group of middle-class mothers gathered round several tables pushed together, with oversized 4x4 baby buggies parked around them like pioneer wagons in a Western. Toys everywhere, and small children making mayhem while their mothers sip their chai lattes, soy macchiatos or whatever, apparently oblivious to the racket.
    There was a large no-go zone of empty tables round this nest, and if we hadn't luckily bagged the best people-watching table right at the front of the s…

Hastings - Cliff Lifts and Miniature Railways

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I just read on Facebook that Hastings Miniature Railway is taking over the Alexandra Park Miniature Railway. Battleaxe loves things like that. It sounds the most horrendously nerdy confession, but part of the attraction of Hastings was that it had two funicular railways and two miniature railways......
Time for a nerdy post now, I think - the weather is horrible outside...

Very few seaside resorts have one remaining Victorian funicular, let alone two. Hastings should be proud. I think, as residents, we tend to take these things for granted, and forget the pleasure they give to newcomers.
      When we first came here, on holiday in 2008, we rode up in the West Hill funicular and had a coffee in the cafe at the top. Sitting in the sun on the cafe terrace, admiring the view, is still one of Battleaxe's favourite occupations. I won't go on about how they need to improve that cafe - have done it to death in previous posts.  At least they have some new, less rickety tables now.....



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