Battleaxe at Conquest Friends Garden Fete at Fairlight Hall

Do you know something? Am realising that maybe I’m not as young as I was. Spent the whole day on Sunday rushing round the gardens at Fairlight Hall as Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Friends Garden fete, and got myself so exhausted that I could scarcely move the next day, and have still got a bad back. We had so many visitors, around 2000, we didn’t know what to do with them – at least 1000 more than we expected – or had catered for!  But it was an amazingly successful day, and will have raised absolutely pots of money for the project to restore the courtyard gardens at the hospital.

Battleaxe with fellow Friends Trustees Debra Frazer and Sarah Coop.

Me? Not so young? I hope I still scrub up well enough – see above.  Look though, back in the day I could spend the whole day rushing round Harrogate at the Institute of Housing Conference, including managing a conference stand, and then spend the evening at some over-lavish corporate hospitality do, dancing on the table, drinking ’til dawn…. and do the same thing the next day, and the next…

Philosopher was there as well, running a ‘Lego firewalk’ stall. Had seen it on a WI FB page – you know how people walk on hot coals for charity, well, this was walking on trays of Lego.  I thought it would go down a storm, but surprisingly, not so much. Philosopher thought it was too easy, but I couldn’t have done it.  Here he is below with Yvonne Everitt, Sarah Kowitz’s mother – I know Yvonne well from WI and book group etc. Philosopher was amazed to see her do the walk without a twinge, in bare feet!  Anyway, the masses of Hastingas obviously preferred the violence of the coconut shy and the crockery smash.

We had a Prosecco and Pimms Bar, catering from the Recital Room, garden tours – not unlike the WI Garden Party and Fair I helped organise back in 2019. On Sunday we had a brass band and more traditional stuff. There was also a garden fair, laid on by Fairlight Hall.  But talk about loads of people – it got a bit much at some points with folk queuing for the loos and for their tea and cakes.

We’d managed to recruit 35 volunteers – quite a little army, and they all worked incredibly hard. I’d recruited 10 women from our WI – I have to say, they were some of the best…

The Fete was officially opened by Sara Stonor, who I think is the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex. Vice? Deputy? No, it must be Vice. Sarah K who owns Fairlight Hall is a Deputy.  Ha – would you believe the only pair of scissors we could find for the Vice wotsit to cut the ribbon were our oldest kitchen scissors, all plasticky and stained… I’d put them in the bag so as not to worry if we lost them.

Fete opening – you can’t actually see our kitchen scissors!

Unfortunately Sarah K was away in US and missed all the excitement, but it was very good of her to let us have the Hall gardens for the do.  Anyway, we had a ‘VIP Reception’ for high-rolling guests,  including our MP, Sally-Ann Hart. She said she remembered me from the White Rock Theatre, and also said she read Hastings Battleaxe! Well, given the ranty nature of some of the posts on here, I could hardly expect her to be very well-disposed towards me, and indeed she wasn’t.  Now, this is a nice polite post, but I will say, Sally-Ann, if you are reading this, do you err… ever worry that the Conservative Party that you see holding power today hasn’t got quite the same values and ethos as the party you probably joined when you were younger? You apparently support Rishi Sunak for PM. I’d agree with you that he would be marginally better than La Truss, but he has hopelessly blotted his copybook, so you – and all of us, will be stuck with Truss. Worse still, you are supporting the Government line on Sewage. Not a vote-winner there I fear, particularly as I have just been reading in the media that we are soon going to be expected to drink recycled lavatory water…

Anyway, less of that. It was a lovely day, the sun shone and we all worked incredibly hard and raised loads of money for a very good cause. What’s not to like? Here are a few more pictures.

I’m going to finish now – I keep getting phone calls from enthusiastic men wanting to install solar panels on our roof. I’d contacted loads because I thought there were six-month waiting lists… Yes, I know they’ll never pay for themselves in our lifetime, but it is better to put some of our savings towards them, and save a little, rather than leaving the money sitting about earning scarcely any interest.  This energy crisis is a bit of a facer..


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