Showing posts from April, 2012

The Hastings Scone Survey continues

Wet days, wet days.... Sunday was nice though.  Made a Scone Investigation Visit to the West Hill Cafe.  If ever we had doubts about moving to Hastings - which, at the moment, we don't - a walk on the West Hill would blow those doubts away.  When we first brought our grand-daughter to Hastings we were renting a little house in Plynlimmon Road on the West Hill - she, a city child, took one look at the space and rushed across the grass towards the sea beyond, arms outstretched, shrieking.  We puffed after her, trusting that she wouldn't throw herself over the cliff in her excitement.

Sunday was a fabulously fresh, clear morning - you could almost believe you could see France. I felt like running around, shrieking, myself.

The West Hill Cafe is wonderfully ramshackle, given its stunning location, views etc.  Every time we go we fear that it might have been taken over by Jamie Oliver to become a high-class gastro-restaurant.  The outside tables are cracked and wobbly, and they ar…

Scrabbleman - a Hastings puzzle?

So, I've seen the BBC News, I've read about it in the Hastings and St Leonard's Observer.... the Philosopher said to me last night, "Do you fancy a game of Scrabble?"  He gets the board out, and would you believe it, there are no tiles left apart from 'Z' and 'X'.

"What's happened here?" he says.

"Make up your own mind, Monkey-face" I replied, quick as a flash.

No really, Scrabbleman isn't me.  Battleaxes don't do anonymous subversive artistic statements.  But two questions occur to me:

- Why are the people responsible for stuff like this always men? 
- At what point do the things cross the line from being messy graffiti to being intriguingly amusing art?

I don't know the answer to either of these questions, and am too busy with our new house and the Great Scone Survey (see previous blog posts) to think about it very much.  Just been down to the Land of Green Ginger in the Old Town High Street with some friend…

The Good Scone Guide to Hastings

Up-date! The complete Good Scone Guide has now been published on my sister blog.  See the complete piece now on Bombastic Battleaxe

For one of the regular competitive writing exercises at the Hastings Writers' Group, we have to produce a travel piece.  I thought the Good Scone Guide might just be a little different.  However, it requires the sampling of many scones in many different cafes - not much hardship there.  Forget your cupcakes, for me there is nothing to beat a fresh, warm, fragrant, fruity scone with butter and jam.

I have made my test area very wide - reaching from the Hastings Garden Centre, almost in Bexhill (yummy scones mentioned in a previous blog post), up to Sainsburys in Sedlescombe Road, and all the way across to the Coastguards Tearooms in Fairlight.

We went up to the Country Park for a walk this morning. The bluebells were out on Brakey Bank, looking lovely in the sun, and the shaggy Highland cattle lying in their field looked just like a Victorian watercolo…

Battleaxe finds home with Pre-Raphaelites

We will be on the move soon from our present interim house in Harold Road to our forever home further up the valley where we can look straight down to the sunlight on the sparkly sea.... one of the reasons we moved to Hastings from Birmingham.

While idly trawling Google about our new locality we discovered that our new house is one of a small cluster built on the site of Clive Vale House, formerly Clive Vale Farm.  In 1852 Edward Lear lodged at Clive Vale Farm, and Holman Hunt came to join him.  At the house, Holman Hunt painted one of his best known works, 'Our English Coasts or Strayed Sheep' (see below), along with 'Fairlight Downs, Sunlight on the Sea', and the flowers round the bottom of the 'Light of the World'.  Holman Hunt and Lear were visited at Clive Vale by Millais and other Pre-Raphaelite frequenters of Hastings.

What would we do without Google?  More house-work and gardening, for sure.  Another riveting thing it threw out was the Harold Hotel and …

Good Friday in Hastings Old Town

One of my fellow members of the Hastings Writers Group told me about the annual Stations of the Cross Procession or Passion Play in the Old Town.
     She was playing Mary, Mother of Jesus, so the Philosopher and I walked down to have a look.  Both of us were astonished by the scale of the event - I have never seen such a thing before, except perhaps in Italy.  Several hundred people, many of them singing, followed as Jesus was scourged through the streets from St Clements via St Mary Star of the Sea to All Saints, where He was finally crucified. Although neither of us follow any religious faith, we were moved by what we saw, and followed the procession ourselves.  It was a particularly beautiful crystal clear sunny spring day, and even a non-believer could feel a connection between the symbolism of the Easter story and the annual cycle of the death of winter in preparation for the new growth and renewal of spring.

Turner Margate vs Hastings Jerwood - Jerwood wins!!

OK, I take back my gripes (only small ones, remember) about the Jerwood. 

Yesterday we went to Margate for the first time to visit the Turner Contemporary.  The first, and main, thing that struck us was the nauseating smell... a terrible rotting, sewage-like stench coming from the beach.  It wafted into the ground floor of the gallery and all around the gift shop, and made sitting outside on the cafe terrace really unpleasant.  We felt too embarrassed to ask a local if their town always smelt so bad, so I looked it up on Google.  Yes, indeed, Margate is well known for its smell of rotting seaweed. It is worse in hot weather, and worst of all in the corner of the harbour where the gallery is sited.   Apparently they dredged the seaweed away before the Queen visited the Turner.... why don't they do that all the time?

Next, the building.  It reminded me of  a ferry embarkation terminal - they have one a bit like it in Dieppe, I think.  I expected to go inside and see rows of green pl…

Hastings - Dog Poo capital of England?

The Philosopher is surprised it has taken me so long to get round to this. It is no use, I have to succumb to a rant about the horrendous volume of dog poo on the streets of Hastings and St Leonard's.

It seems specially bad at the moment - possibly because we have had so much fine weather.  It seems particularly noticeable on the roads round the West Hill - I guess a lot of people take their dogs for walks up there. 

It is a mystery to me - we have moved here from Birmingham, which has a much higher population density, but far less of a poo problem.  Why are so many Hastings dog-owners so lazy and inconsiderate?

It is hard to know what to do about it if the dog owners are not prepared to take responsibility.  We lived up on the West Hill for a while when we first arrived here, and I remember our neighbour tackling one offender.  His response was to tell her to 'F... off' and that 'he knew where she lived.'

Indeed, when we were out walking last weekend, we passed a…

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