January 2 already. Looking out of my study window this morning, Battleaxe can see a faint flicker of sunlight above the trees on the East Hill. The sea looks – not quite blue – but at least a paler grey. I wish I could see a similar flicker of brightness around our national future, but sadly, I can’t. Boxing Day was wonderfully sunny and bright, but then we had some totally evil wet, windy days to end December. On New Year’s Eve we decided to brave the rain and went down to the Old Town for lunch at the Hastings Contemporary followed by a visit to the Explore the Arch Hastings/Kiev ‘High Rise Connecting Conversations’ project at the Stade Hall. Here is one of the young Ukrainian harpists to start us off.
I say ‘project’ but typical of Explore the Arch, it was a rich mixture of interactive exhibition, ‘experiential installation’ and music performance with added catering, linking the experience of life in our Hollington high-rise blocks with people living in similar circumstances in Kiev. (Thinks, in Hollington at least you don’t have to worry about visits from Russian missiles). You may remember that we have known Gail Borrow, the leader of Explore the Arch, for some time, and have been to weird but totally wonderful performances at her house in St Leonards. See this post for example. Gail is a real ‘force of nature.’ Someone recently described Battleaxe as a force of nature, but honestly, I am but a feeble trickle in comparison, Gail is the real thing. Just thinking about getting the funding for the project makes me feel faint. Look at this, off a flyer we were given… can’t you just imagine the grief?
Then, of course you have to assemble a team, do the work to make it all happen, and then oversee the actual happenings. Gail was telling the assembled throng – a very large throng incidentally – about the difficulties of getting just one harp to the right place at the right time. Anyway, we were impressed with the whole business – and the sandwiches were very good as well!
Listening to the two gifted young harpists (sisters Catherine and Elizabeth Rajhans), I was struck, as so often, by how people in the most grim and war-torn circumstances still seem to be able to make the most of their talents. Life in Ukraine sounds very hard indeed, yet those girls can not only practise and develop their musical skills, but manage with probably the most heavy, unwieldy and temperamental instrument of all – the harp. It sounds totally irrelevant, but I was watching ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ on telly. One of the most successful heavyweight competitors was Ukrainian. Not a guy at an American University on a sports scholarship, this man was a serving soldier in the Ukrainian army. How on earth did he access the necessary specialist diet and do the intensive training necessary to compete at world-class level?
The situation in Ukraine sounds impossible. That maniac Putin is unlikely to back down, and how long can the people of Ukraine hold out? No way can Putin be allowed to win… just one of the many nightmare situations facing our ‘rulers’ just now. If I was Mr Sunak I’d just give up. I think we need a General Strike – that would really stick it to those Tories. Ah well, let’s just hope neither me nor my nearest and dearest gets ill in the next few months. Our chances of survival would be low. For God’s sake, government, see sense and pay those poor sods more money. Everyone knows they deserve it.
I am not wildly keen on Keir Starmer but the man is currently in a dreadful position. If he speaks the obvious truth and says that Brexit is totally failing and we should work to mitigate the situation, he won’t get the votes of the fools who voted for Brexit and still think it is a good thing – and he needs those votes to win the next election. Meanwhile, he gets slagged off to kingdom come by those who can see the truth about Brexit but can’t see far enough to understand what he is doing. So, 2023 promises to be really fun-filled. If any Tories are reading this – which I doubt – they’ll have flounced off in outrage months ago – can you name a single public service that is working better than when your lot came into power far too long ago? No, of course you can’t.
Here’s a suitably wintry rough sea from our New Year’s Eve outing… was reading how a group of women went into that sea at Rock-an-Ore to rescue a dolphin that had become stuck in a cleft of rock… yikes.
Ah well. What else? Had our friend Alison to stay – went for a very good lunch at Kassa in St Leonard’s – excellent veggie stuff and very cheap. Philosopher and I went for a (somewhat wet and squishy) walk round Winchelsea yesterday – and saw a few daffodils in bloom. Here is the first one we saw. A beacon of hope, perhaps?
I liked this photo of tree reflections in a puddle,
and finally, a view down our favourite lane.