A random walk with Hastings Battleaxe

Was January the longest month ever? It certainly seemed like it. Battleaxe waited for February in anticipation, but it feels like it is just more of the same… Battleaxe has been out and about, and describes a nice walk with views of reed beds and the beach. Weather has been variable, political situation risible, state of the nation appalling, local situation worrying, urge to do spring clear-out at home stirring, but all pales into triviality compared with the impact of the dreadful earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

This is a screen-shot from my phone…


The earthquake hit in the middle of the night so most people were in bed. Many, many thousands of potential survivors will die under the rubble of their homes, or die of cold in the open, before rescuers can reach them. It is all very well the world sending teams of rescuers, medics, sniffer dogs etc but access to the affected areas is incredibly difficult. The photo above shows intrepid BBC reporter Anna Foster who has apparently trekked ‘alone’ to the ‘epicentre’ of the disaster, to bring us this ‘exclusive’ report… well, alone apart from her cameraperson and about a zillion other media people from every news outlet on the planet, cluttering up damaged access roads and getting in the way of rescuers.  It’s hard to know what is right. I suppose we need to know how bad it is, so at the very least we are more likely to donate some cash to the nearest disaster fund, but really the media is playing to the voyeuristic appetites of the masses.  For Battleaxe, it is just yet another of the many, many areas of life where I look on powerlessly and can do absolutely nothing, except give a bit of money, which we have done. Readers will know that Battleaxe and Philosopher have a long-standing bond with Turkey. Cirali, where we go now, is far from the current earthquake zone, but even so…

Ah well, it was a very sunny morning today, so let’s cheer ourselves up with a walk.

We set out to go to Bexhill but forgot about huge roadworks on the way, so diverted to Blackbrooks garden Centre in Bulverhythe. The notice said the cafe was open again, and indeed it was. Now, get this… once upon a time I started another blog – ‘Bombastic Battleaxe’. It is so long ago that I now forget what I was going to put in it, and it soon died, but in 2012, when I was a newbie at the Hastings Writers Group, I won a competition for the ‘Good Scone Guide to Hastings’. Here is the link to it. Anyway, the winner for the best scone was the Bexhill Road Garden Centre cafe. It is a bit sad reading the post – so many of the cafes mentioned have either changed hands, or disappeared.

Back to the walk. You can park at the Garden Centre, and have a cuppa before or after the walk, which is only about 2.6 miles. Strike out straight ahead along the path across the Pebsham Reed beds – see the photo above. A very attractive path, but can be boggy and muddy after heavy rain. After a while you come to the Ravenside Shopping Centre – ideal for a bit of retail therapy, and Marks has got a nice sea-view cafe. But we walked left onto the main road, and across the crossing to the tunnel under the railway, and the beach. Philosopher seems to be walking ahead of me in all these photos so far… If you are still in need of a cuppa, just through the tunnel on the right is the cafe on the beach… but we turned left, up the hill and over, with great views across to St Leonard’s.

A walk along the beachside cycle path takes us to the Amsterdam Bridge across the railway. Here is the plaque on the platform by the beach.

Has Battleaxe ever seen the wreck of the Amsterdam? Yes, she has, very soon after arriving in Hastings, back in 2011. You can only get to it when the tide is exceptionally low.  The sunset was beautiful, I remember, and we walked for what felt like miles across the wet sand. It was practically dark when we got to the wreck, and to be honest there is not a lot to see. Here is one of the photos we took. Not very good quality. Yikes, Battleaxe looks fatter than she is now…

Anyway, cross the bridge, pass the industrial estate and the old railway sheds, and onto the main road again. Head back left towards the Garden Centre. To make the walk a little longer and cut out the boring main road, you can walk down a snicket on the the right between the houses and onto the Bulverhythe playing fields, then carry on across the grass. We didn’t today because the fields would have been very muddy – they often flood, so naturally they are planning to build houses on there…

Talking of floods, nearby in Bulverhythe there has just been another disgusting Southern Water Sewage Flood. Here is a link. It must be just revoltingly dreadful having sewage flood your home. Don’t get me started on Southern Water. They are the pits.

The political situation, and the state of the nation is just ridiculous. Look, I’ve got no time for Rishi Sunak – I think he is a feeble, dissembling little creature, but imagine trying to do your job when you have two grotesquely lunatic and insanely publicity-hungry previous PM’s festering around the place and sucking all the wind out of your sails.  People (not least the Tory MPs) seem to happily forget that both Johnson and Truss were removed from office for gross incompetence. Ah well, if they carry on with their absurd antics until the next election at least it will further reduce the chances of the Tories winning again.

We have heard that Sally-Ann Hart, our local Tory soi-disant MP has been deselected by the local Tory party Committee. (Sorry  Sally-Ann, I know you read this…) God knows what she has done to deserve that – sadly, as far as I can see, she doesn’t do anything at all. Hart’s re-election would look unlikely, but it may mean the Tories might parachute in someone who they think might do better.  Battleaxe half thinks she should go and canvass for our bright and shiny Labour candidate, Helena Dollimore, but the trouble is that if someone came to their door and said they were voting Tory, I might scream abuse and kick them.

It seems to me now that only a few categories of people vote Tory: people who are rich and just want to get their hands on more money at any cost, thuggy people who are fascist/racist and just want the most right-wing government available (but then would they prefer the latest neo-Farage garbage?), older people who have always voted Tory and don’t get that their party has been hijacked by corrupt oligarchs, and a mass of people who vaguely see (I can’t say think, they don’t think) the Tories as being for the aspirational, and the natural party of government – it sort of goes with the royal family and things. So, faced with either the rich and uncaring, thugs, the uninformed or the plain ignorant, Battleaxe would struggle to keep her temper.

Strikes? Well, of course. Battleaxe lurched across the pot-holes to the Conquest Hospital the other day and shouted her support for the striking nurses. Of course.





  1. Jill Fricker
    February 9, 2023 / 8:22 am

    Great blog as ever, Steph! I see pollsters are predicting a huge swing to Labour in Hastings&Rye. Wonder who the Tories will replace the Hart-less one with?

    • February 17, 2023 / 4:52 pm

      Let’s just hope they don’t replace her with someone more likely to win.

  2. Valerie Poore
    February 13, 2023 / 9:15 pm

    Excellent stuff, Stephanie, and the walk looks lovely too. Poor Turkey. I feel very much as you do!

    • February 17, 2023 / 4:52 pm

      Yes, it is unimaginably dreadful for Turkey and Syria

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