Winchelsea walk, wet in Rye and the Jerwood’s latest exhibitions

Let’s start with a nice autumn outing – the weather has been all over the place. Friday was fabulous, and we went for a lovely walk round Winchelsea.  Started off with coffee and homemade Battenberg cake at the Farm Kitchen, sitting outside in the sun.
     A couple of weeks ago I went on a walk with the WI, so I revisited some of it again, just for a short

Winchelsea sheep

     We went down the little lane through the Land Gate, past a field of very Pre-Raphaelite looking sheep. Found loads of beautiful big shiny conkers which Philosopher picked up. It is a pity there is no way of keeping them at their fresh and shiny best – they soon go dull and shrivelled. That goes for all of us, I guess.


     Then down to the Royal Military Canal. With the WI, we struck across the level to the sea wall, but Philosopher and I strolled round to Winchelsea along the canal. There were fantastic cloudscapes, loads of swans, huge dragonflies, sighing reeds, and millions of blackberries if I had brought anything to put them in…. On the way back up to Winchelsea we found something very strange. On the sunny stones of the Strand Gate thousands of ladybirds had congregated – all different colours and different numbers of spots. They were not actually very nice – they flew into our hair and clothes.
     Saturday was terrible – wet and windy. We went to Rye because Philosopher wanted to get some mosaic
bits from a craft shop there.
     Had coffee in the lovely Edith’s House – I had cinnamon scone with apple and fig jam. They have a little French bulldog. She is terribly well-behaved and stands with her head resting hopefully on one’s knee, but it is no good, I don’t like those pop-eyed breeds.
     Anyway, great joy, in our usual round of the junk shops I found an unusual old lucite Egyptian ashtray with scorpions embedded in it, for our downstairs toilet collection, and two spaghetti poodles – a bit damaged, but quite sweet.  Saturday night was the Hastings bonfire. Have never been, which is a disgraceful admission for Battleaxe. The rain stopped during the afternoon, but it all looked too difficult, so settled down and watched Strictly instead.
     On Sunday, we went to view the Jerwood’s latest exhibitions. There were three artists. In the big room,

Basil Beattie – what is that about….?

huge abstract canvasses of staircases by someone called Basil Beattie. Here’s what Mel Gooding, the guest curator has to say:

These new paintings are exhilarating: terrifically
energetic, urgent and mysterious. I first saw a handful of these
powerful new works in the studio a few months ago, and felt immediately
that something very exciting was happening. Beattie is in full flight.

     I don’t think so….
     Next, there were some black and white things by Philip Guston, which apparently ‘beautifully contextualise’ Basil Brush’s work. Eh?
     Lastly, there was a roomful of work by Marlow Moss, who was a cross-dressing lady, looking very like Radclyffe Hall, who produced Mondrian-oid constructivist stuff. We were intrigued by a show-case full of her letters – she lived at Lamorna Cove in the 40s and 50s. The letters seemed to be principally about the difficulties of getting a bus from Penzance to Lamorna – very relevant for us last week!
     So, as so often, we emerged from the gallery unmoved, vaguely confused and faintly irritated.  I can’t     summon the energy to get as worked up as I used to – my post on the Knock Knock exhibition is still one of the the most-viewed pieces on Hastings Battleaxe. These days I roll my eyes and say let ’em get on with it, but it is a bit of a pity they are poncing about largely at the expense of Hastings Council.

New spaghetti poodles – perhaps they could exhibit these in the Jerwood?

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