Happy New Year from Hastings Battleaxe – and 6th Blogoversary

Christmas is over, and New Year beckons. Tomorrow is Battleaxe’s sixth blog birthday. Here are a few thoughts about the year just gone, and the year to come. All the pictures on this post, celebrating Hastings,  have been taken this month – what a variety of weather….  

Did you realise that as from 1 January, every person alive will have been born in the twentieth century?

Sea and sky. One reason to love Hastings…


Sea and sky….

       I am not going to bother writing about the state of the world (grim) or the state of the country (grimmer). There is absolutely nothing I can do about any of it. Even if Battleaxe had a significant voice, those in power are totally unmoved by protests, ranting and raving or even presentation of facts or reasoned arguments. They call any whisper of dissent Fake News or, in this country, unpatriotic behaviour or downright treason. 
       What of Hastings?  Well, the grim national situation means that as usual, it is one of the UK’s most deprived seaside towns, with above average unemployment, reduced opportunities for young people, poor standards of educational attainment etc., but for all that it is a grand place to live.  We have no regrets about our move here – now six years ago.

The Country Park – another reason to love Hastings.


Hastings madness….
and worthiness…..
and mild climate…… Here is a camellia out on 29 December in Harold Road

       Hastings Pier is a worry. Despite winning the Stirling Prize for architecture and the Pier of the Year award, it has gone into administration. As shareholders, Philosopher and I are anxious about its future. Despite its loveliness, it is painfully apparent that the current facilities on the Pier cannot sustain enough trade to enable it to pay its way – that has always been the case, but unfortunately the management were unable to devise a workable business plan.  Basically, the Pier needs more all-weather shelter and structures, and a major investor needs to be found to fund the necessary development. We think a permanent building opposite the exisitng pavilion, which probably needs to be a Wetherspoons or likwise to drag in the masses. What about a vintage-style amusement arcade? Then, more shelter is needed down the far end – it would be a shame to spoil the wonderful open space, but surely some architectural whizz could come up with some sheltered seating, or a little cafe to generate more footfall and encourage people to stay – at the moment, you can only walk up and down, and not even that if the weather is bad. More, better shops, too.

Wonderful Pier space – that’s Philosopher and Shaun – but it makes no money…
View from the Pier….

       Improvement is also needed to the seafront on the way to the Pier.  It is a long walk from the amusements of the Old Town, or the Pelham Place car park. We need a tram, or a little train or something….
       In the meantime, the Council seems to enjoy playing around with ridiculous schemes like Hastings Harbour involving wholesale redevelopment of the Stade, or most recently, some vast development of the White Rock area. Get real, you people – just present us with smaller-scale, more realistic things that could actually happen.
       Of course, the Council is totally strapped for cash. The government is starving local authorities out of existence. One of our WI’s biggest achievements in 2017 was saving the public toilets in Ore Village, but I would not be surprised if they were back on the agenda for closure again this year.

Fairy-lit Ore toilets

       Then we have the Ore Library closure business – of course that is East Sussex County Council, who are not only equally skint but seem to know nothing whatsoever about Hastings. They say us knuckle-dragging Ore morons can access library facilities at some Children’s Centre on the other side of the Ore Valley – they don’t seem to realise that the valley is a chasm with a muddy wood at the bottom and steep roads up and down it – try pushing a pushchair over there, Councillors…. Sadly, I would be surprised if the library can be saved. I helped with a few protest events and most members of the public say things like:  ‘I used the library when the children were young, but haven’t been for years. Of course, I am totally against the closure…’  The actual usage figures for the library are pitiful, and the local case is not helped by the on-going – and very expensive – refurbishment of the Central Library in Hastings town centre.  But then, consider Universal Credit. I gather that all benefits business is now on-line only. Many poorer people don’t have computers/printers/constant internet access. What are they to do?  Many use Ore Library computers…… but as I said above, those in power (including the Tory East Sussex Councillors) don’t care about the concerns of such people. If they can’t access their benefits and starve, that’s less money they have to spend.
      What about next year?
      Battleaxe will have the same level of WI commitments – local WI President, Board Member of East Sussex WI Federation, Editor of East Sussex WI News. Locally, I’d like us try to make WI activities more accessible for our older, frailer and less able members. I also have to pinpoint someone who will be President after me. I have told them I will only do an absolute maximum of another two years, and that is longer than I shoud do….
      At County level, I will be working to get the News on-line instead of just print. I also have to help make the WI Women Go wild camping weekend happen – I am not actually going to it – going to Turkey instead! Besides WI I have poetry…..  Exercise-wise, pilates…. and I am going to start ballet… Ballet? Yes, you read it right. More news later. Also, back to going out and about and walking with Philosopher now he is over his operation. All that is quite enough, methinks.
     What of Hastings Battleaxe? Six years is old age for a blog. Here’s a link to the very first post. I’ve wondered about giving it up – but it is now an ingrained habit. I have actually stopped bothering if anyone reads it or not. I sense that is a good thing. I think one should only do these things out of enjoyment – it is a bonus if anyone else enjoys it.
      Happy New Year one and all!

Christmas present light box


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