Wi Zooming with Hastings Battleaxe

Zooming with Hastings Battleaxe or what. Yesterday I was part of our first ever Zoom Webinar Annual Meeting for the East Sussex WI Federation, with the Rev Richard Coles. Very stressful but it ended up a success, with loads of positive comments from viewers.  Meanwhile we have been in Pandemic Mode for a year now. Hard to believe. We are supposedly heading for the first significant point on that wretched Roadmap – 29 March. Garden is improving – now like semi-cleared bomb site. We have been emerging from our Lockdown burrow, blinking in the sunlight. Plenty of walks, but the weather is not as clement as this time last year…. look at this very strange light yesterday as we walked past the Pier…

So, yesterday I joined with with some of my fellow Trustees to deliver a  Zoom Webinar, the first time any of us had aver done such a thing. I tell you, I’d rather address a live audience of 1000 people than a few hundred via Zoom. You know the audience can see you – and indeed, see you in distressing, close-up detail – but you can’t see them. There is no way you can judge their reaction or energise yourself by tapping into their mood. Then, you have to deal with the technology. In Hastings, our broadband is not great to start off with, and everything vaguely feels out of control.  Aside from that, you have to manage the handovers with other speakers, and worst of all, make a professional-looking fist of dealing with Powerpoint slides.

I’d agreed to do a ‘light-hearted’ presentation about the WI, pre-pandemic, to whet appetites for the future.  Light-hearted? No way, very heavy hearted at rehearsals  as I wrestled with the screen-sharing.  But on the day, it was fine, and people even said we all looked pretty polished and expert! In addition to the presentation, I also had to introduce Richard Coles, and had chosen to do it in verse, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago… That went OK too, and I hope Richard/the audience enjoyed it. Then I did a question and answer session with him at the end of his talk.

Given I am the dreaded Battleaxe, I had promised my colleagues that I would not swear, or get into sex, religion or politics.  However, Richard’s (very interesting) talk ranged freely and openly around all those topics, and he is very easy to talk to… I was enjoying myself and getting dangerously relaxed but managed to put an end to the conversation before it Went Too Far. Not a single lady could have rattled their pearls…  Turns out Richard is retiring from his Vicar business at the end of this year, and is moving to East Sussex – to East  Dean. I did say he could pop on a frock and join the WI…

Phew, am glad that is over. Can now relax and get a bit more into gardening etc. Have just been planting seeds. Referring to last week’s post, the progress on our new front garden sitting-out platform has ground to a halt because our next-door neighbour who is building it wanted to get their new kitchen finished first… and of course, as ever with things like new kitchens, it hasn’t proved to be as simple as planned. It has got very behind, which means our work is also behind… ah well, it will happen at some point.

As I said above, it is now a year since the first lockdown begain on 23 March 2020.  See this post written exactly a year ago.  Reading it, it looks as if I was actually quite enjoying the novelty of the whole thing –  even included the ‘Covid Alphabet’.  But a whole year later, I think everyone is totally fed up, and the unrelenting stress has got to us all.   During the past 12 months, over 126,00 have died and the economy is on its knees.  Hastings town centre looks thoroughly deserted and run-down, with so many empty shops. Infuriatingly, that wretched  Johnson’s popularity ratings are now sky-high because of the success of the vaccination programme – people seem to conveniently forget everything else.

We have been out and about – met friends Jenny and Peter down at the seafront yesterday for a hot chocolate and a stroll. Our walks are not the same as last year – it is colder, wetter and much of the ground in the Country Park etc is still very muddy. We still take Bear, the neighbour’s dog, out a couple of times a week – he is a positive little soul, always up for enjoying himself.

More strange light down at the sea-front


Something a bit different – the Pebsham reed beds


Reed beds? More like the Everglades… expect alligators to pop out.

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