Out with Hastings Battleaxe… getting angrier…

Well, out and about…ish…. Last weekend we went down to the Hastings Contemporary for the first time., and out to one of our favourite spots, the Avocet Gallery at Rye Harbour. We’ve enjoyed a few Rishi special meals in various hostelries, been to a pub quiz, visited friends Bob and Alison in Horsham. But Battleaxe is beset with irritations – think buses, doctors…

View from Hastings Contemporary on a windy morning – I like all the gulls sitting on the roofs of the sheds

First, then,  the Hastings Contemporary. Of course, you have to book a time-slot in advance, and they have one of those silly booking systems where tickets are released on a Thursday for the following week.  Why is it so difficult? Why can’t you book further ahead than that?  It is particularly irritating for us because we have old friends who particularly want to see the Victor Passmore exhibition – and they live in York.  Obviously before they commit themselves to coming to Hastings they need to know if we can get them tickets. Anyway, we went down there partly to check out the Passmore to see if it would be worth their while.

Downstairs, there is a Quentin Blake exhibition called ‘We live in Worrying Times’. Now, Blake has had a long association with Hascon, and in the past Battleaxe has not particularly liked his stuff – a bit twee.  However, this feels very different in style – obviously motivated by the plight of refugees, and maybe Covid as well. Some of the work was very powerful…

Turns out there would be plenty in the Passmore exhibition to engage our friends. Interesting stuff.

It was nice to be in the gallery again, and to enjoy the views out of the windows… see the top of this post. Sadly, the days of dropping into the cafe for a quiet coffee and a bit of cake or a homemade biscuit are gone – even before this Covid malarky, the cafe had ponced itself up into the Boatyard – see this post from back in January – blimey, looking at that, it all feels like another world.  I’m sure the place has settled down from that bad early visit, but it does not give off casual and drop-inable vibes.  I’ve just looked at the current lunch menu… What? Cockle popcorn, roasted red pepper muhammara (what on earth is that), bone marrow and soldiers, biodymanic duck egg. I kid you not. All we’d want is a cuppa…

Rye Harbour was busy when we went, even though it was bleak and blustery.  – all our seaside is currently busy busy busy. Still, the kids go back to school soon. I was asking in the hairdressers this morning whether there were any mothers who were reluctant to subject their little darlings to the Covidy horrors of school (Johnson has said it is our ‘moral duty’ to send kids to school. That man has more neck than a giraffe – the absolute state of him – lecturing the rest of us on moral duty. What would he know of such things?) Anyway, in the hairdressers nobody knew of anyone who was not just desperate to see the back of their kids for a few blessed hours. They’d rather risk death than have them at home any longer.

Rye Harbour

So irritations. Buses. Our 20 service has been reduced from every fifteen minutes to one an hour – and most fun of all, they don’t actually publish a timetable any more, so you don’t know when the bloody things are coming. The other day Philosoher and I ended up getting a taxi back from town, and this morning I ended up walking all the way down to the Old Town and then all the way back up again. What is so difficult about increasing the frequency of the service to at least something approaching its previous state, or, letting you know roughly when you might expect a bus….???

Doctors. I tell you, getting to see a doctor is more difficult than getting an audience with the Pope. You see them on telly banging on about how GP practice is changed for ever and they won’t be doing those boring old-fashioned face-to-face consultations any more and isn’t it all wonderful but have they actually asked the patients? Sure, telephone/video may be possible in some cases, but by and large, people prefer to see a live person. Our surgery has gone from being this super-efficient service where you could book an appointment on-line and frequently get to see a doctor the same day to this shambolic set-up where you have to phone, hang on for ages listening to tinkly tunes, then the receptionist grudgingly triages you into some sort of telephone appointment… assuming there is one available! Actually see a doctor? I don’t think so.  People are going to be dying like flies with undiagnosed everythings… Those doctors are ‘avin a laugh, particularly here in Hastings where we have hardly any Covid cases.

Hah, Battleaxe seems to be getting angrier by the second… I’d better stop this.




  1. Valerie Poore
    August 26, 2020 / 9:29 pm

    Oh Stephanie, I feel your frustrations. It’s as if they’re using Covid as an excuse to downgrade services when they should be increasing them. I’m so sorry. I’d be angry too!

    • September 4, 2020 / 7:34 am

      Hi Val – sorry I missed this comment! The bus services are actually back to normal now – they must have heard me!

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