Last night Battleaxe, accompanied by Philosopher, went down to the Town Hall to the Presentation Evening resulting from the 2018 Hastings Week Festival. Part of the celebrations involve a poetry competition, organised by our Deputy Mayor and local councillor, James Bacon. This time, Battleaxe had won the Adult (or as they referred to it ‘Over 17’) category with a poem about Hastings Castle.
Aaargh…. it was such a wet night. It was absolutely bucketing down and we got soaked just walking from the car park…
It was a nice do, led by our Mayor, Nigel Sinden, who is a sweetie. The poetry prizes were presented by Jenny Hanley. She is a former ITV star who used to present ‘Magpie’. Interestingly, she is the daughter of Jimmy Hanley and Dinah Sheridan – here is her Wikipedia entry. Anyway, she seemed a very nice woman. I don’t quite know how she came to be there – she is clearly a friend of Judy Rogers, former Mayor and another of the competition judges. I promised to give her a WI badge to add to the collection she had on her coat….
Us winners were presented with a certificate and a Waterstones voucher (nice) and then we had to read out our poems. The little girl who won the youngest category read so well it felt indecent to feel nervous!
Between ourselves, I was not overwhelmingly happy with the effort I produced – but it is the sort of poem that sounds much better read aloud, so it felt OK.
Then other prizes were presented – things like the best shop window display, and the Bowskill Trophy for the person who had made the most overall contribution to the success of Hastings Week. We all posed for group photos for the local press etc.
The Mayor let us visit his parlour. His original parlour has been ritzed up unrecognisably to be part of the revenue-raising wedding/celebration suite at the other end of the building (see this previous post about the Town Hall), and his current quarters are distinctly more cramped. His mayoral robes have to live on a clothes rail in the corner.
The available space was much reduced by the necessity of accommodating a big mayoral desk and a somewhat dusty-looking suite of furniture that once belonged, would you believe, to JMW Turner, which was left to the town by one of his relatives. There is a huge sideboard, a couple of unlovely wine coolers with enormous urns on top and a selection of chairs. We forgot to take any photos.
Then, back out into the even-more bucketing rain and home. We were thankful all that rain was not snow – but it turned to snow before bed time.
I am pleased and grateful to have won. The poem will appear in my forthcoming anthology.
Today we met friends at Fairlight Hall for a Hastings Piano Competition do – was talking to Jenny Wiles, who is directing a play (See How They Run) that is currently on at the Stables Theatre. Talking about how stressful it is doing these things when you are a bit older, then we both contemplated the Artistic Director of the Competition, Frank Wibaut, who is in his mid-70s, travels all over the world for the competition, has masses of responsibility and was playing a little piano recital for us…. Mind you, while he was playing I was counting up the numbers of power points in the Recital Room – in July the WI Federation are having our Centnenary Garden Party and Fair for up to 400 women at FH, and I am one of the chief organisers… ah well….