Showing posts from January, 2016

On telly with Tuffers...the John Bratby thing.

A while I ago I mentioned that Philosopher and I had been down at the Jerwood Gallery doing a telly slot for the BBC One Show? I said I wouldn't say more about it until later. Well, the One Show went last Thursday, and the exhibition opens at the end of this week, so Battleaxe now needs to write about it.       I'm sure people know this, but the Jerwood are putting on a major exhibition - 'Everything But the Kitchen Sink Including the Kitchen Sink' -  of the work of John Bratby, who lived in Hastings during the latter part of his life. His home was the Cupola house in Harold Road.
     People were invited to lend their Bratbys for the exhibition. We have two relatively undistinguished examples, a drawing of a dog, and a drawing/watercolour of Patti, Bratby's wife. Back in October we took our pictures down to the Gallery to be assessed, and I wrote a blog post about the selection day.
      In  November the gallery contacted us to say that the One Show wanted to do …

Getting out of Hastings - A tale of two trains

Whichever way you try, getting in and out of Hastings is difficult. In some ways, it's part of the charm of this place, giving it a cut-off, otherworldy quirkiness, but in terms of convenience and economic viability, not so good.
    A few days ago we travelled up to London to meet my sister and brother-in-law. I don't mention my sister much on here - she is twelve years older than me. We get on well even though she is totally different to me. Her exasperated cries:  'Oh, honestly, Stepho, don't be so wet....' echoed through my childhood.
    Anyway, their trains arrive at St Pancras, so we decided to meet them there, travelling on the Marshlink Line from Hastings to Ashford, then changing to the HS1 high-speed service which hurtles up to London along the Eurostar line.
    All railway links to Hastings are slow, but the Marshlink Line is like going back to the 1950s. It's one of only two non-electrified stretches of line in the South East. After the long Ore…

Sun at last - albino squirrel and kingfisher in Alexandra Park

The weather has finally changed. It is much colder now, but blessedly clear and sunny.  On the first bright day this week, we walked in Alexandra Park.  
   Battleaxe sometimes wonders if she needs one of those SAD-thing daylight lamps - the seemingly endless dark, dank days did get me down....

   We are so lucky to have this wonderful open space in Hastings. In Birmingham, we were used to some large and impressive Victorian parks - like Cannon Hill, but Alexandra Park is better than any I've seen, and for a small town like Hastings, it is colossal. You can walk for miles through the park and its associated woods without ever covering the same route twice. As well as the formal planting areas and wonderful trees, all the reservoirs and associated feeder ponds provide so much watery interest, and a haven for wild life. Battleaxe readers will know of our annual Garlic Walks, to one of the more secret areas of the park. The whole thing must be a massive up-keep job for the council, an…

Books and bindings in Hastings Old Town, and fishing boats beat the weather,

Battleaxe and Philosopher discovered Hare and Hawthorn in West Street by chance, while cutting across to George Street. It is a great little place, but quite tucked away, so I thought I'd give it a bit of publicity.
     It advertises itself as a bookshop and bespoke bindery - they have an attractive stock of wrapping paper, cards, pretty notebooks and fancy stationery as well as a small but highly select stock of books. Presumably, this is also the place to have an oh so exclusive little book of my verses beautifully bound.  I didn't catch the name of the bloke who runs it, but he seemed very pleasant.

     Anyway, it is well worth a visit, just for a browse, or for quirky treats or gifts. Little businesses like that deserve to thrive.
     I find myself walking along West Street quite often because my hairdresser, the excellent Mitchell and Millyard, is just up the road.
     Did I ever tell you about the dying seagull? Well, I won't go into grisly detail, but an adolesc…

Hastings....Where to go on rainy days

Like many seaside resorts, Hastings is a little short on undercover wet weather entertainment.  Goodness me, it has been unbelievably, unrelentingly wet, with howling gales thrown in. Worse, I have a miserable cold which makes me want to face the elements even less.
    I'm thinking places you can go and wander round where it is warm and dry, look at things, get a cuppa, maybe buy things..... 
    Battleaxe is not bothering with stuff to do with kids. Have suffered too much nerve damage from Chambers of Horrors/aka indoor play centres, being ripped off by sea-life places etc. If you have kids, there are lots of websites to help you, like this one. Anyway, the little horrors should have gone back to school by now.
    Yesterday morning we went to Dunelm Mill - now that's good for a browse, and they have parking outside, a perfectly OK coffee shop, and nice clean loos. We set out with nothing much in mind, but found they had a massive sale, so emerged with a bottle holder rack …

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