Five years ago today Hastings Battleaxe was born. Let's start with some thoughts about the blog, look back on the global horrors of 2016, and finally, wonder about making things a bit better for 2017
I've read that the average lifespan of a blog is 33 months. Well, we've well exceeded that. Battleaxe started slow - it took over a year to reach over 1000 page views a month. Oddly, this month is the busiest ever, with over 10,000 page views.
This blog is never going to be a viral sensation, or make me money. Why? If I just stuck to the original brief I set out in my first post - Hastings and the surrounding area from the perspective of a newcomer - I might do better, but it wanders round over the place.
Successful blogs have a niche, but as well as Hastings, Battleaxe rattles through UK travel, overseas holidays, art and exhibitions, home and garden, concerts and theatre, (including, this year, a first commissioned review post), clothes, politics, poetry. The most popular posts ever are about the Chelsea Flower Show, and a stay in the Conquest Hospital Hastings.
Do I care about this mish-mash? Not really. The blog has a life of its own and I still enjoy writing it. Many people clearly enjoy reading it - strangers stop me in the street and tell me they are Battleaxe fans - and in 2016 I had my first ever visit from an American reader, who came to check out Hastings and the Battleaxe - +Tina Batori
So, what of 2016? What a grim year.
In this country, the Conservative Government was consumed with out-of-touch hubris, totally underestimating the 'up-yours' mood of the voters, and the self-serving, wicked yet highly effective propaganda from trolls like Johnson and Farage. We are now stuck with the disaster of Brexit, with nobody apparently having the least idea how to take it forward. The only certainties are that it will cost us millions, trash the economy and deprive us all of our European Citizenship.
In the meantime, all our public services are unravelling before our eyes. Councils are starved of cash, the NHS is on its knees etc. etc.
Effective opposition to the government is desperately needed, but the Labour Party is dominated by a cult obsessed with Jeremy Corbyn as their (and the country's) saviour. It's so embarrassing. I tell you, I can't even have a political argument with my Tory relatives any more. 'What about Your Labour Party...' they hoot derisively, 'Honestly, imagine that ghastly man as Prime Minister! An utter farce!' Trouble is, they're right.....
The Middle East and the world migration/refugee situation? Putin? Just horrendous. Where to start.....
Then, to crown it all, across the Atlantic, the Trump card was played. It's bad enough being ashamed to be British, but I'm so glad I'm not American.....
|Farewell to decency, grace and dignity......|
In the words of Churchill, one could 'draw the sword of freedom and cast away the scabbard'. Unfortunately, as a Battleaxe in Hastings, brandishing even a plastic sword of freedom round the town centre would only get me arrested......and no way am I ever going to attend Labour Party meetings - one whiff of Momentum and I'd have a stroke. So what will I do?
I won't buy any nasty fear-mongering tabloid newspapers - but I don't buy them anyway, so that's not hard.
I'll challenge any incidents of racist or suchlike behaviour I witness - but I do that now, too. Sometimes it can be risky. A while ago I tackled a horrible man who was shouting racist abuse at some poor cashier in a motorway service station and nearly got myself beaten up.
Of course I'll carry on with the WI stuff and such-like - I enjoy it.
Oh, rats to anything else worthy and meaningful. I know....
I'll resolve to wear all my clothes, shoes and boots, and use every one of my handbags. Sounds easy, but no. Battleaxe has a clothes excess. I have eleven winter coats - one of which I only acquired yesterday. I have twenty pairs of boots. Shoes and handbags? Am ashamed to tell you....
If I get something out and decide I really won't ever wear it/use it again, I promise I'll get rid of it.
So, the world as we know it may be collapsing, but at least I'll be well dressed.
Here's me in the latest winter coat - a vintage faux fur, bought in Rye with Philosopher and our old friend Shaun, who has been staying for a few days. Am looking a bit pale and wan because it was my first real day out after being laid low with evil virus all over Christmas. Am still not right.
|New coat, with Shaun (in new hat) and Philosopher....|
I'll finish with a lovely photo taken a few days ago - sunny Hastings Pier. Whatever else, we are lucky to live here.