Yes, this week has shown the Great British Public at its worst, and most sordid. The heatwave led to literally millions of people cramming onto beaches around the UK, having public brawls, illegal raves, drunken mass parties, stabbing each other – you name it. Sure, people are bored, frustrated, angry and probably anxious about the future, but we also have a total lack of credible leadership. However, on the home front, we have been out and about, met friends for garden drinks, bought stuff, got a lovely Lockdown photo book, and I am enjoying my virtual walk to Santiago de Compostela.
At least in Hastings we did not suffer as badly as places like Bournemouth, but Camber Sands was very bad, leading to gridlock all round Rye, with overflow at Winchelsea Beach and along Pett Level. It is bad enough people cramming their potentially virus-infested bodies into these places, getting drunk, brawling etc, but they then leave revolting piles of litter, and, one is told, even shit in burger boxes. Then, you hear our ‘Government’ going on about ‘British Common Sense’. What planet are they on? We hear that some countries are going to open up to British tourists shortly. I bet the citizens of Aiya Nappa, Magaluf etc are really thrilled about that. Brits have an international reputation for being drunken and badly-behaved, but now they can’t go abroad it is Bournemouth not Benidorm.
Eh? What’s this? Surely not… When googling up those pictures I came across this report about how a family took a little kitten with them on a 100 mile drive that day to Bournemouth beach because ‘the kids didn’t want to leave it at home’… Common sense? Oh, for sure…
Leadership? Don’t make Battleaxe laugh. In addition to his many other faults, our so-called Leader clearly fears that people might dislike him. He wants to be Mr Fun, Mr Popular. That never works even for a middle manager, never mind the Prime Minister. If you are a leader you can’t expect to be friends with your followers. What is needed now is firmness, clarity, inspiration and leading by personal example. Johnson cannot demonstrate any of those things, and neither can his second-rate Cabinet ministers.
Battleaxe has to say that she can no longer put up with anyone who supports the current corrupt, incompetent self-serving Tory party. Our local MP Sally-Ann Hart is no better – an empty Tory-clone cipher with the most appalling, out-dated views. Did you hear her contribution to the debate about free school meals over the summer? When Hastings has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country? Disgraceful. Any more moderate, thoughtful Tories were purged over Brexit, leaving this dross. If Battleaxe loses friends and readers because of these views, so be it. The current situation is indefensible, and makes Philosopher and myself very angry and unhappy.
There, enough of that. Let’s try and forget all this horror, and be positive.
I mentioned that I was preparing a Lockdown Walk Photo book? Well, today it came in the post. It is really lovely, very high-quality, and we are both delighted. After much deliberation I used a company called CEWE Photoworld. I chose them because they had recommendations and excellent reviews on the internet, and they enable you to download their software package, which means you can work on the book at home at your leisure – it is also very user-friendly, with lots and lots of options to choose from. Many of the photos in the book have appeared in posts in recent weeks.
Bought stuff? Oh yes. Have been to the Hastings Debenhams, to the shops in St Leonard’s. to the big Blackbrooks Garden Centre, and, this morning, to TK Maxx. All very civilised and well-organised. We thought we’d better do some local spending to boost the economy a bit.
Virtual walk? I wrote about it in this post, a couple of weeks ago. It is still going well, and I have now covered over 25% of the distance – well over 100 miles. I find it really quite motivating. At the moment I am ‘walking’ through the Rioja region, past many vineyards and wineries. It is a bit flat, but interesting. I am looking forward to reaching Burgos, when I will start retracing my steps over last year’s return car journey, from Santiago to Santander via Lugo, Leon and Burgos. For anyone who wants to increase their activity, I would recommend signing up for one of these Missions. Here is the link to the website, and you need a smart phone for the App, and preferably something like a Fitbit.
Hastings Battleaxe is getting a bit more famous. The other day I was contacted by the Imperial War Museum about a post from February 2019 on the abandoned All Souls Church in Clive Vale – they wanted to include my photographs in their records of WW1 War Memorials. Goodness knows how they found it, but they did… Here is the link to their website with the Battleaxe photos on!
Then, last week’s post about the Covid test created quite a Twitter storm, and Battleaxe has also been writing newsletters about walks for the Friends of Hastings Country Park.
Have finally managed to start a new poem – and plan to join the Hastings Stanza Zoom meeting this week… The poem is about a plant given to us all by the WI, and its associations with Turkey – where, of course, curse it, we should be right now. I should be lying in the shade on the hammock in the orchard, surrounded by orange trees, dozing and reading, throwing bread to the peacocks and chickens.
The WI is a bit of a worry at the moment. As an East Sussex Trustee I am doing my bit by producing the Lockdown East Sussex News magazine. I have edited, and to a large extent written, three editions now, and two of those were produced by me also. However, it is hard to know when WI groups will be able to meet in person. Many women, and particularly the older ones, are now very anxious and timid about going out, and are losing confidence and skills. I fear some will not ever re-emerge. At the beginning of this pandemic Battleaxe wrote about becoming very conscious of her age, and I am a fit 70 year old. Imagine how vulnerable you must feel if you are in your 80’s…. At local level we have had a few Zoom meet-ups, but it is surprising how many women don’t/won’t use it. Batleaxe is grateful for technology. I know I drive Philosopher mad with my phone habit, but imagine life without internet communications!