Redoubt Fortress, Martello Towers, Writers’ Group, Women’s Institute

We went to Eastbourne and visited the Redoubt Fortress on our way to Waitrose.
     Philosopher has bought a book on Martello Towers and it mentioned the fortress, which apparently oversaw all the 74 towers from Seaford to Folkestone. We didn’t even know it existed.

Redoubt fortress – Eastbourne

     It is an interesting circular structure, with a series of barrack rooms opening onto a central courtyard. It is now a military museum for the former Royal Sussex Regiment and Irish Hussars. The museum was wonderfully crowded, with cabinets full of every imaginable category of uniform and accoutrement. A nineteenth century officer could expect to have a minimum of ten different uniforms.  Shakos, pelises, glengarrys, bandoliers….   How about

Officers’ sports uniform

sabrage, the art of opening a champagne bottle with a sabre….or nose clips for horses to wear in battle…. And as for the medals and decorations…. cabinet after cabinet. Some big-wigs had so many medals and fancy decorations hanging off coloured ribbons that it must have been a struggle to know what to wear.
     It was actually quite moving. All gone for ever.
     The Martello towers are interesting – there were 8 on Pett Level alone. What a massive business, building, fitting out, supplying and staffing all those towers, the fortress- and there was another at Dymchurch, the Royal Military Canal, the Royal Military road, all in preparation for a French invasion that never came. The guns in the Redoubt fortress were only ever fired once, at a passing French ship, and did not hit it.
     On Monday last week our old friend Shaun McKenna came down to stay and to judge the Writing Group play-writing competition. Jenny was unwell and couldn’t come with him, which was a shame. Shaun was fantastic with the group – dished out really quite hard-hitting feedback in a way that had them begging for more. I think too he really got the message across about how the actual writing is only a tiny part of being successful – you have to hustle and get the contacts, and then sell your work to them – often much tiring and abortive effort for no result. I was very pleased how well he was received, and also that he seemed to enjoy it  – it is always a bit risky subjecting friends to things like that. My play got nowhere – at least the others couldn’t think it was a fix!
     Tuesday was the AGM of the Women’s Institute, and Battleaxe is now a member of the Committee…. I warned them I was bossy…. I don’t know what I’ll have to do yet.
     It was coincidental that Shaun came earlier in the week, because we have just said goodbye to another old friend Karol Kulik, who we also met in Turkey many years ago.

Annie Soudain, Set Aside – we have this in the kitchen

Karol, Shaun, Jenny and us were a gang in Gumusluk, and we have stayed friends. Karol now lives in Lyme Regis – she used to live in Goudhurst, and lived in Rye for a time. We took her over to Rye yesterday afternoon. They had a nice Annie Soudain exhibition at the Rye Art Gallery – we have got a couple of her prints. Karol used to paint quite a bit herself, but is now one of the leading lights behind the annual Lyme Arts Festival.
     We went down to the Old Town today for Karol to see the Jerwood – she was as unimpressed with the temporary exhibitions as we were….
     Weather has been sunny for the last few days, but now wet again….fortunately it seems to have largely cleared out my virus.

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