Hastings Battleaxe Explored the Arch… and is 10 years old today!

Last night we had yet another fun outing – to the latest Explore the Arch production ‘Quickening of the Heart’, followed by supper with friends Jenny and Peter.  Oh for goodness sake Battleaxe, say the readers, can’t you stay quietly at home? What are you doing spreading yourself all about like this? Well, honest, it was very different to our Eastbourne panto effort (see post from a couple of days ago!), the performance was outdoors, with a select audience of only 8 people!  But, readers, I’m also writing to thank you – the Hastings Battleaxe blog is 10 years old today!

Back in the summer, Battleaxe and Philosopher were bowled over by ‘Spirited’ the previous experiential theatre production from Explore the Arch – here is the post about it.  This new one sounded excellent – we are very fond of trains. It is based on the film ‘Night Mail’, which includes the poem by W H Auden. In the poem, Auden describes hearing the postman’s knock as a ‘Quickening of the Heart’… hence the title.  The programme notes describe the production as a celebration of the workers who ‘enabled a complex web of national connection’ – with a focus on the lack of diversity in the workforce shown in the film. It is about making and keeping networks – as Gail said to me, so important in this current Covid world – and also a seasonal celebration of play – building model railway tracks, and posting letters to Santa. Needless to say, we loved it!

The weather was pretty dire, drizzly wet and windy, and props fell down and blew around a fair bit – but the young performers (Etienne Cutmore-Kourourma and Juliet Grace) and of course the irrepressible Gail Borrow, were so cheerful and enthusiastic that it was impossible to tell which happenings were accidents and which were intentional.  As I said above, the audience was tiny, only room for 8 – including us two, Jenny and Peter, plus Gail’s Dad!  We all sat in individual covered mini-tents with cups of hot tea, our own hot water bottles and mulled wine to follow. Vanity went well out of the window as we hunkered down with hotties stuffed down our fronts… oh, and ‘telephones’ – plastic cups on strings. We all also joined in with making music and writing letters, which were read out by the performers…

This one is off the website

It was another little moment of totally off-the-wall magic and madness. I didn’t even notice the weather.  The Explore the Arch company… collective… group… are so astonishingly creative that their productions are a glimpse into another world. Once again, Battleaxe would totally recommend, and once again, she has to say sorry, it is sold out! After the play, we went back to Jenny and Peter’s house in All Saints Street, and had supper – thanks to them!

So, 10 years? 

540 posts… That’s many months out of my life I’ll never get back!

As I do every year on this day, I’ll post a link to the first ever Battleaxe post, on 31 December 2011.  Here it is. We’d moved full-time down to Hastings from Birmingham in November, having finally handed over our house in Moseley. I’d been doing email updates for our friends back in Birmingham, and thought a blog would be a bit more fun…  Hah, I see that first post is called ‘Hello Hastings’. These days, any event that starts off with someone screaming ‘Aaallllo ‘Astins’ at the audience is bound to be rubbish.

At the top of this post I said thank you to readers, and I do really appreciate your feedback and comments, but to be honest, I am sure that me, Stephanie, gets the most pleasure out of this blog. Battleaxe wouldn’t be Battleaxe if she didn’t enjoy it.  It is a diary, a writing discipline. I’ve learned so much about all sorts of things. Being Battleaxe has got me into awful trouble a few times, but also given me access to people and places I wouldn’t otherwise have had.  Thanks to the long-suffering Philosopher as well!

I should use this space to mention my most popular posts, but would you believe that the link from WordPress to the tool that counts up page views seems to be broken, and I have not got round to asking my techie consultant, David, to fix it… typical.

In the early days, when this was still a Google Blogger blog, I used to belong to various forums where I made contact with other bloggers – like Carol Hedges, Val Poore, Annemarie Sissons Moore – they are still FB friends…  In those days, everyone seemed to be blogging. Now, I see articles like ‘Is Blogging finally dead‘ but it is obviously just a ploy to get us writers to pay for spurious advice and ‘monetise’ our posts. I am useless at monetising anything…. Apparently 77% of internet users still read blog articles, but that includes things like the Huffington Post.  Ah well, come what may, I’m carrying on!




  1. Valerie Poore
    January 3, 2022 / 9:04 pm

    Ah Stephanie, I hope we’re still blogging friends too although I remain on Blogger and not WordPress, which mystifies me completely, but you’re right, blogging is far from dead! Wishing you another great ten years and hoping I’m still around to read it. You’ve just had me counting…mine is nearly 17 years old. I started blogging in 2006. I love the look of that play. What fun. I’d have loved to see such a creative performance.

    • Stephanie G
      January 5, 2022 / 7:25 pm

      Hello Val – just checking to see if this posts ok…

      • Steph
        January 5, 2022 / 7:28 pm

        Yes – it still posts! Gosh – 17 years old… you are a far more dedicated writer than I am…

  2. January 3, 2022 / 9:06 pm

    Talking of WordPress, why is it that every time I post a comment here it tells me there’s a critical error? I always think I’ve made a mistake, but my comments still post. Very strange!

  3. January 5, 2022 / 4:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the mention. I turned to youtube after a few years and am enjoying that media. It’s a different challenge. Learning editing and cinematography but keeps the mind active.

    • January 9, 2022 / 4:30 pm

      I’ll be interested to see some of your YouTube material!

  4. January 5, 2022 / 4:26 pm

    Thank you for the memories and congratulations again. Loved that you remember me from those days and my Anna mutton years stories.
    I’m busy on youtube now. Enjoying the challenge of video editing

  5. Frances
    January 6, 2022 / 5:16 pm

    Congrats on 10 years both in Hastings and on the blog! I always enjoy reading your posts and it’s also lovely to keep up with what’s happening around there as I live in the US now (having grown up inland in Sussex). we actually returned to visit my dad over xmas and brought the kids down to Hastings for a blustery morning in the Old Town which was fun for everyone after being kept inside by the pouring rain for days!

    • January 9, 2022 / 4:28 pm

      Thanks do much Frances, glad you enjoy the blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.