Hastings Battleaxe wonders where the summer has gone…

Indeed, where has the summer gone? It’s the end of August, and today I’m wearing jeans, socks and a fleece.  The weather is dull and grey.  It is hard not to think about the grim situation in Afghanistan, the steady increase in Covid cases and the post-Brexit collapse of the economy. But we’ve had some sunny days, and some nice outings, like this one to Beachy Head… and, don’t forget the poodle…

For the past few days we’ve had Philosopher’s son Tom, staying with us. Battleaxe readers will know he works in Santiago de Compostela in Spain – we went out to visit him in 2019. Here is the post. Fortunately, back here the weather behaved so we could go out and about. Beachy Head is always a calming place, but this year has seen some alarming cliff falls. If you look up towards the old Belle Tout lighthouse in this picture, you can see the big nibbles where the path near the cliff edge has fallen away. It is only a few years ago that we walked up that path…

We managed to get some lunch at the Beachy Head Inn. I say ‘managed’ advisedly.  Some of the catering outlets we have visited recently have either been suffering from extreme staff shortages, a lack of supplies, or both. It is a combination of Covid and Brexit. Battleaxe gathers that the worst problem is a shortage of HGV drivers. The Government have said that firms should train up and employ British drivers. Yes well. There are three issues here. Firstly, it takes ages to train a lorry driver from scratch, and apparently ages more to get a test and get a license. Secondly, however much we pay and improve conditions, only a minority will ever have the skills to do the job, or want to do it. Battleaxe could’nt reverse a big lorry round a corner to save her life, and certainly wouldn’t want spend nights sleeping in her cab in a lay-by in Albania… Thirdly, if employers pay drivers more and improve their conditions, guess what, food prices will rise and be even more out of reach of people living in poverty.

We also had a good walk from here up to and around the Country Park with coffee and cake at the Bale House – see this recent post about it. It is an excellent add-on to our walks. The ‘set aside’ meadows had some fine flowers. How did those sunflowers get there?

Afghanistan – don’t get me started. What chiefly puzzles me is that those G7 leaders only met in Cornwall in July – did they not discuss a withdrawal plan then? No, obviously not. The whole thing has been a shambles. Johnson and Raab are a shameful disgrace,  but that is not new. Then of course, there is the nonsensical dogs and cats rescue issue.  People don’t seem to understand that it doesn’t matter what sort of plane it was, whether or not the creatures travelled in the hold, whether they are pets, feral strays, rescue animals, service animals (but whoever heard of service cats?!) or what, how rude the bloke was or wasn’t, what happened about his staff etc etc. All that counts is people’s perception, and people will perceive that us wicked Brits saved dogs and cats while humans were left behind.

Well, as well as the Afghan business providing undeniable evidence of the final Eclipse of the West, Battleaxe is currently witnessing a global pandemic which is far from over, and will likely see irreversible climate collapse in her lifetime. I think this is quite enough, thanks.

Let’s end on a positive note. I got a new poodle from Ebay. Vintage (probably 50s) Murano. It is partly made of uranium glass  (maybe faintly radio-active) that glows impressively under UV light. Philosopher kindly bought me a UV torch to test it out. Here is is by day, and in the dark… It’s like being in the loos in an 80s nightclub.



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