Out and about, shopping in St. Leonard’s, Arts Forum, sea puts on a show

Well, half-term passed – weather was not great, took granddaughter back to Birmingham on Wednesday.  Returned a day early because we were supposed to be staying in Much Wenlock with friends John and Jan, but John was ill.  We went to see friends Shaun and Jenny in Stratford on Avon, and returned to damp Hastings on Friday.  House was freezing. Philosopher had stomach upset and slight cold, and now I have the same.

On Saturday some sun appeared, so we walked up to St Leonard’s.  Had coffee in Smiths – good ginger cake. Shopping is really looking up in that area – several new retro/antiques shops have opened in London Road/Kings Road and Norman Road, and a really nice clothes shop, Who’s Wearing What.  Have been in before and liked it, but when I went in today, I felt the women were too busy yakking to their cronies and not desperately interested in any other customers. However, it is worth persisting with, because clothes are lovely.

As so often, had lunch in the Post Office Tea Room – tragic news from Philip and David – their solitary chicken, mentioned in previous blog post, had died unexpectedly….cause unknown.  Sounded like SUCKS (sudden unexplained chicken killing syndrome) to me…..

After lunch, we called into the Arts Forum to see a photography exhibition including work by John Cole, one of my Hastings Writers’ Group colleagues.  The exhibition was called ‘Hard Graft – Ships, the Land, the Ring’, and consisted of gritty black and white photographs from the 70s and 80s, showing people, mostly men, at work.  It also included photographs by Bruce Rae – husband of Annie.  All powerful stuff and worth seeing.  John’s were of boxers, photographed in America (he is American)  Next door was more gritty stuff – pictures of a derelict Italian hospital – reminded us of an exhibition we saw of derelict Soviet buildings – at the Royal Academy I think.

Last night, there was the most tremendous rain, hail, thunder and lightning – we did not sleep well, and the weather was still terrible this morning.  We drove down to Rock-a-Nore.  The wind was incredibly strong and the sea was just mountainous, seething, boiling and brown – have never seen it so violent. Walked to the breakwater on the beach at the end of the car park – I felt really scared – the wind was so strong I could barely stand up, and could only cling onto the cold wet railing, watching the huge waves roar and crash just a couple of feet away.  Some utterly mad bloke in a wet suit and with a little surf board suddenly climbed over the railing beside me and jumped in – he vanished totally and reappeared some time later closer to the beach.

Frozen cold and blown to bits, we went to the Jerwood for lunch – never mind the art, the views of the waves from the cafe were just tremendous. Grub in there is fine, and quite reasonably priced.  I must say – as long as you can catch it open – the gallery makes an excellent Members’ Club. It is good to be able to call into the cafe and use the nice classy loos!

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