Battleaxe’s summer comes – and goes

Yes, I know I have not written this for a fortnight – longest gap ever. Oddly enough, Battleaxe has been very busy – going out and about, including open gardens and a visit to the Hastings Contemporary, people coming round here, WI business… Ah, for those lazy lockdown days, when we’d go for a sunny walk, then I’d settle down to a jigsaw followed by a large gin and an evening of Netflix. The weather has been very odd. One day it is hot sun and we are enjoying our new front-garden platform, the next day it is pouring with rain and very cold – our central heating kicked itself into life on June 21, Midsummer Day!

So, here’s our platform, finished.  My friend Sue M in Birmingham said it looked like the south of France.  We are very pleased with it. The railings were specially made in a style called ‘Spanish Bow’, matching the 70s railings installed when our houses were built.  You can see we have had the hedge cut down to give us a good sea view. Only trouble is it gets boiling hot with the sun, hence the brolly, and many days it is too windy to sit out. Still, it is a good addition to our back garden seating areas.

Open gardens? We went to Pett on a beautiful sunny day – Philosopher’s birthday, in fact. Coffee and cake sitting outside admiring the view – check. Wonderful roses – check. In the biggest garden, Fairlight End, which we have visited many times before, their wildflower meadows are coming into full maturity. A passing lady from the Hastings Botanical Society told us that it had taken five years to achieve the effect. The orchids were amazing. Apparently the seeds are like powder and just blow where they will, taking root when and where they fancy – and the seed can lie dormant for years.

The same lady also educated us about this plant, Hemlock Water Dropwort, one of the most poisonous plants in Britain, which is running a bit rampant in the damper areas of Fairlight End. She mentioned this case where a group of young people ate a curry made from the roots…  but it is very beautiful, and the bees love it. Would honey made from hemlock also be toxic?

Hastings Contemporary? For once, an unqualified ‘Yes, go down there!’. Their current exhibition, ‘Seaside Modern: Art and Life on the Beach’ is excellent, and Battleaxe would recommend.  No photography allowed, but here is one from their website, ‘England at Play’ by William Roberts.  I love the human details in this.

Seaside Modern: Art and Life on the Beach - Hastings Contemporary : Hastings Contemporary

Better still, the place now has a proper gallery tea-room, run by local charity the Education Futures Trust. Gone is the poncey over-priced fishy restaurant thing, and there is now a much simpler venture where you can get drinks, home-made cakes, probably sandwiches and things…. just what you need for a gallery visit, and supporting a good cause at the same time.

We have been for some nice walks as ever, including to Pett Level on a very dark day. However, the rain had brought out a mass of wildflowers – never seen so many. I love these horned poppies.

Memories of Lockdown? I don’t think I mentioned that I now have three photo books – the latest one covered the period up to the end of April this year. Given that Covid restrictions are dragging on longet than expected, I’m wondering what I could call yet another book? The last one was called ‘The End Times?’ and we are now past that… ‘The Back of Beyond’? ‘Beyond a Joke’?  Who knows….

In addition to the photo stuff, I have also struggled to make a cushion adorned with a poodle for a WI competition. Hells bells, that craft stuff is not Battleaxe’s thing, and I had procrastinated about it for months. My friend Jan had no sympathy: ‘you have had since last June to do it’ she snorted. True. I can’t show a photo of it in case one of the judges sees it and thinks OMG how fabulous is that….

Much of the nation is currently gripped by the Euro footie championships. There appears to be a national need to believe that the English team actually has some hope in the competition, and a failure to face up to the obvious – they are just not good enough.  Nastily, Battleaxe is quite looking forward to watching those overpaid, heavy-legged lummoxes beaten into oblivion by the Germans, or the French – or even the Portugese! Ah well. To finish with, here is a  photograph of three concrete badgers with a cat. Perhaps I ought to register it as an NFT (a non-fungible token). Whoa, who would even guess Battleaxe would know about those….



  1. Frances
    June 23, 2021 / 3:31 pm

    The exhibition sounds great! I do have a question about the new tearoom – do you still have to pay to going into the museum, in order to visit the tearoom?? That always seemed wrong-headed in the old days, especially when I was with several family members, who might not want to actually visit every gallery

    • June 25, 2021 / 2:43 pm

      I think you still have to be a member or a gallery visitor to use the tearoom – but it would be worth checking.

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