Our last days in the EU – some good, some less so…

We are now in our last week before we leave the EU… I won’t go on about it, but it hovers at the edge of my consciousness like a nasty floater in the eye. Life goes rolling on, bringing the dreaded Brexit day nearer and nearer, and with some nice happenings, some much less nice. A lovely sunny walk in St Leonard’s, winning second prize in the Hastings Week poetry competition and a new Louis Turpin painting. Less good things – more clearing up, grey, dank days, and worst of all, a visit to the latest offerings at the Hastings Contemporary….

This is St Leonard’s Gardens last Sunday. It was a fabulous sunny day and warm enough to sit outside having coffee at The Edge. We have had a week with no rain…

Then, the poetry competition.

Philosopher and I went down to the Presentation Evening in the Council Chamber at Muriel Matters House on Friday. Readers may remember that last year, ahem… I won. The theme this year was the Bayeux Tapestry and I got a bit carried away from the topic playing with the characters in my narrative. Jenny Hanley, one of the judges, said I should get into writing plays.

I don’t think the poem was very good and it’ll never be published.  If you want to have a look you can see it here: Bayeux Tapestry

On that theme, people might wonder why I don’t put more poems on here – well, if I do, that counts as publication, and it means they can never be entered in a competition, or sent for publication anywhere else. Anyway, a nice woman I have never met won first prize, and one of my Stanza colleagues, Brian, was third. Here we are at the presentation evening. It is always nice to hear the children read out the winning entries in their category.

So, what of Louis Turpin?

Haven’t you got enough paintings, they cried… Clearly not. Back in 2018, we had asked Louis, one of our favourite artists, for one of his smaller paintings of sheep. We already have one of his, and wanted another, but every time we tried to buy one of his sheep paintings they were always sold… As we had heard nothing since we assumed he had forgotten. Well, last week I had an email from him saying he had just done a sheep painting and would we like it. Turns out the poor man has been very ill for the past fifteen months and this is his first painting since his recovery.  Here it is:


So, today we went over to his house in Rye to look at the painting. Had a good chat and a cuppa with him and his wife (Davida Smith – she is a notable artist herself). Turns out she and Philosopher have a shared childhood background in Walton-on-Thames, their son lives in Peckham…  and of course they know our old friend Karol, who has three Turpin paintings at her home in Lyme Regis,including this early self-portrait:

I think Louis would be a bit surprised to see this now…. Well, as I have started posting paintings, I may as well continue.  This is our first Louis Turpin, of the West Hill allotments, off Collier Road, and interestingly, a photo Philosopher took of the same view… We love the bright, positivity of Turpin’s work – the new painting has joined the existing one hanging on the wall opposite where we usually sit, to cheer us up every time we look at them.



Battleaxe is not happy with the Hastings Contemporary…

Last week we thought we’d have a nice visit followed by lunch in the re-launched cafe. Well, downstairs is taken up by cardboard cutouts ‘Earthly Delites’ by someone called Anne Ryan – they were vaguely interesting but don’t ask me…

Then across the passage they had a few nice rooms of Edward Burra, Graham Sutherland and one Stanley Spencer. But upstairs…. Anne Ryan had curated an exhibition by some of her ‘up and coming’ chums. I am saying nothing….

We were discussing this with Louis Turpin and Davida. Is it because we are old that we can see absolutely nothing in this stuff? Or is it just not any good? Being an artist, Louis thought that older people have always had trouble understanding new stuff, but at the same time, it might also be plain bad…!

So, somewhat discomobulated, we headed to the cafe. It is now called ‘The Boatyard’ and is no longer a cafe, more like an aspirational East London restaurant.  I cannot begin to describe the experience we were subjected to. We were totally traumatised. The prices…. the pretentiousness… the weird selection on offer… I’ll give ’em poached biodynamic egg, manzanilla sherry carrots, bone marrow and oysters…

We waited nearly 45 minutes to get our food, and when it came it was cold and not very nice. The only decent thing was the chips… The waitress kept on saying they had only been open a few days and were not sorted etc etc but then they shouldn’t be open at all…. We used to go to the old cafe a lot – just for coffee and cake, or for lunch with friends. No more.






1 Comment

  1. Valerie Poore
    January 29, 2020 / 6:39 pm

    I’m glad you’re managing to roll on with life, Stephanie, and well done for being in the Poetry competition. It looks as if you have a certificate even if not in the top three. Good for you! The paintings are lovely. I don’t know the artist, but I love sheep, so that will always score a hit with me!

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