WI Centenary antics, National Theatre ‘Everyman’ at the Hastings Odeon, Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain.

I’ve already written about the right royal fuss at WI Centenary AGM – not surprisingly, I suppose, that piece is on course to be one of the most popular Hastings Battleaxe blog posts ever.
     On Tuesday we had our own Hastings Ore Centenary meeting. We decided to do a traditional WI meeting, with the Committee wearing big hats sitting along the top table. We even sang Jerusalem. I won’t embarrass my colleagues by posting the pictures of us all. My hat, purchased at vast cost from a charity shop, was too big, and kept slipping down over my eyes. It wasn’t my best look ever. 
      Instead, as we all wore our WI badges, here are my three – a 2015 Centenary souvenir badge, a vintage – probably 1950’s – East Sussex Federation of WIs badge given to me by friend Jan Kelly, and a very old, probably 1930’s, ‘For home and country’ badge.  The oldest badge is one of two I got off Ebay a few months ago, one to give as a part of a present to Sarah Kowitz for hosting our brilliant Centenary tea-party at Fairlight Hall. It is nice to see that the oldest and the newest badges were made by well-known  jewelers and enamelers from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Both W O Lewis, established in 1827, and Thomas Fattorini, established in 1832, are still thriving today.

Three WI badges….

      Anyway, our meeting was lots of fun – probably helped by a few bottles of fizzy wine, and everyone was very cheerful. I did wonder if singing Jerusalem actually lifted people’s moods? As a ‘reformed’ WI we don’t usually do it, but perhaps this has long been part of the mysterious WI winning formula.
      We also displayed our prize-winning exhibits, with our great big ribbon rosettes, from the recent South Of England Show at Ardingly. We won one first prize (that wretched Battleaxe again), for an only slightly risque creative writing piece about the invention of the Barbie doll, one second prize, for a pen and ink drawing, and three third prizes, for a knitted mermaid’s pool scene, a ‘Women of influence’ exhibit and a wartime recipe cake. Barbie and the mermaid pool will be exhibited again at the East Sussex AGM at Eastbourne in March 2016, and the mermaid pool is also appearing in an exhibition at the National Needlework Archive later this summer.
       We came second overall from all the WIs from West and East Sussex who entered classes at the show. Most impressive.

      On Thursday night Philosopher and I went to see the National Theatre production of ‘Everyman’ beamed to the Hastings Odeon. A modern version of a medieval morality play about death might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. It was directed by new NT artistic director Rufus Norris, had words by Carol Ann Duffy, and starred Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role. Some of the staging was fantastic.


      We preceded our theatrical experience with supper at Pizza Express – wow!
      The next day we went to London to see the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Tate Britain. It has been much grumbled about by reviewers but  we thought it was excellent – well worth seeing. It’s all very well the critics moaning on about how the sculptures should be in the open air and not in glass cases, but how else are you supposed to organise an exhibition like that? I won’t go into too much detail because I might write more about it later, but here are two examples, ‘Infant’ 1929, and ‘Pelagos’ 1946. Never mind glass cases, it is hard to convey any feeling of sculptures in photographs.
     All the times we have been to St Ives, we have never been to the Barbara Hepworth place. Will go next year.

Barbara Hepworth ‘Infant’
Barbara Hepworth ‘Pelagos’

 It’s school holidays now, and I am on Granny Battleaxe duty this coming week…….


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