Hastings Battleaxe clocks up another year

Yes, it was my birthday on Tuesday! On Monday, hurrah, our garden was finally finished. Wednesday, went up to London with some WI chums to see the Andy Warhol textiles exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Friday, to Heathfield to meet old friend Alison for lunch… and so it rolls on. Busy, busy novel writing too. Am determined to get it done by the autumn.

Our new side garden area

Doesn’t the new garden look good? We are very pleased – and relieved. The side of the house mess has been going on for 3 months… Feels like a lifetime. I’ll put a photo at the end of this post showing planting progres so far…

Birthday? Does Battleaxe like this getting older malarky? No, not much. Had planned to go to a WI picnic and take a few bottles of prosecco but it was cancelled due to the weather. So had a goodly few women round here in the afternoon. In the evening Philosopher and I went for a meal at the Red Lion in Brede. Very good. My big present this year is a steam engine driving experience, down in Swanage in the autumn. Watch this space!

Of course, it is my daughter Clara’s birthday on the same day as mine – she was born at 12.10am on 8 August! I sent her a photo of her as a ballerina, aged 7. 40 years ago! It’s an old photo – resolution not so good.

So, London. For a change, it was a sunny day. 9 of us went – on the train. Ooh what larks! Have been to the Fashion and Textile Museum many times before, and really like it. See this post. I never really knew Warhol was such a prolific textile designer in his early years as a commercial artist – from the early 50s through to the mid-sixties. Of course, many of the textiles were shown made up into beautiful 50s and 60s clothes. Here are a few pictures.

Later, all the women except me went to a Royal College of Needlework embroidery workshop. Now, ask yourselves, would Battleaxe do embroidery? Eeer, no. Am happy to join in with them doing other crafty things but that is a bridge too far. Brings back such horrid memories of needlework lessons at boarding school – clutching a grubby sweaty bit of sample stitchery, with wodges of blotting paper in my shoes in the hope that it would make me faint. It never did.

So I bunked off from the museum into the sunny afternoon. Visited one of those Mary Portas tarted up charity shops – all too expensive and size 10, then wandered into a glass workshop and exhibition.  Peter Layton. The exhibition was ‘Making Waves.’ His glass pieces are incredibly expensive, like many thousands, and some are lovely. I particularly liked these vases with waves coming out of the top.


The glass-blowing workshop was just so astonishingly hot. I don’t know how they work in there. Peter himself was not around, but I chatted to another glass-blower, Louis Thompson, who I had never heard of but is also a distinguiished glass-blower and designer. Told him about the work I am doing with Andy McConnell etc.

Went back to the museum and found them all still earnestly bent over their embriodery rings! One trouble I have with making things is what do you do with them then… give them to people? They’d have to be good. Sell them? They’d have to be even better.

So, here is the latest progress in the garden. Many plants/shrubs are in huge pots and tubs where the men left them in April after starting the first bit of work. It takes a lot of logistic planning to move them without knackering ourselves. Some are irrecoverable.


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