Hastings Half Marathon, Jerwood

Just back from week in sunny Cornwall to even sunnier Hastings.  Half Marathon this morning – they ran down the hill past our house in Harold Road.  Real festival atmosphere, all the neighbours out on their front steps, clapping the runners as they trotted past on mile 10 out of the 13 – or tore past, in the case of the three highly superior looking guys in the lead, who zipped past around 10 minutes before anyone else.  Here they are, zooming past the surgery.

Hastings Half Marathon

I don’t know who won, but all respect.  All respect also to all the people who settled down on the edge of the pavements to clap every runner that passed – and there were thousands of them.

Then down to town for our first look at the Jerwood.  Paid our £2 for locals, and in we went.  As I said last week, the Rose Wylie paintings leave me colder than cold.  Literally – despite it being like summer outside, the exhibition room was cold and stark, and I don’t like to say it but the paintings look like the graffiti on a windy Birmingham bus shelter….  The rest of the gallery was warmer, and felt more accessible, but we felt it could have had more paintings on show.  The guy at the front desk said there were about 260 works in total in the Jerwood collection, of which 60 were hung.  However, it was quite nice to come from our week in Sennen Cove (Near Newlyn/St Ives), and see the work of the relevant artists – Christopher Wood, Nicholsons etc. Nice too to see a John Bratby – I don’t think Hastings makes enough of the fact that he lived in the Cupola house (or House of the Four Winds as it was known in his day) in Harold Road.

We ate on the terrace of the Jerwood Cafe.  Very sunny and pleasant, but not for every day, I fear…. The Philosopher had gravadlax, and I had a burger served on a natty little wooden plank with a wire basket of chips.  Very tasty but not easy to cut the burger on the plank – I ended up eating it with my fingers, gherkins shooting everywhere, which did nothing for one’s cool arty cred…..  The view of the fishing beach is amazing – just how many rusty metal bits, old plastic bags, broken crates and old barrels do those guys need?  Still, it is just so authentic dears…. It was also good to hear the miniature railway chugging and hooting along out of sight below the balcony rail, the shrieks of kids in the amusement park, the roar of motorbikes, the thrubbing of the drummers playing for the Marathon runners on Winkle Island…. (lovely new shiny Winkle by the way!), and the squawking of about half a million sea gulls wheeling and diving for some obscure treat by the fishing boats – ah Hastings we love it – what must the London arty types make of us?

Walked back up Harold Road past a few brave limping stragglers still hoping to finish their race –  4 hours after they started.

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